We cannot see the future. Yet we’re able to get close by using predictive analytics, a technique of analyzing data to help predict outcomes before they happen. Imagine the possibilities and opportunities. Predictive analytics has the potential to fundamentally change the way we do things, and it’s a practice that’s being used by some of the world’s top companies.
What Is Predictive Analytics?
“Predictive analytics is the use of leading indicators to understand what outcomes are likely to occur so that we can take action to improve those outcomes before they happen,” said Lytx Chief Client Officer Dave Riordan. “Everyone’s excited about it. Because, by understanding what is most likely to happen, companies and individuals can change the future for the better.”
The key, however, is data. While a wealth of data exists, without the right data and expert analysis, then predictive analytics falls short. Predictive analytics creates a world where our roads are a safer place to travel. It can help fleets reduce gasoline and diesel consumption, improve driver safety, reduce repairs and maintenance issues – and, most importantly, save lives. Essentially, this data helps companies understand what could potentially happen before it happens.
Using Predictive Analytics Tools for Safety
But how do fleet managers use predictive analytics tools for safety? “It’s helpful to have a managed service provider who either has a predictive score or can provide analytical insights,” Riordan said. Some fleets have a data warehousing group or data analytics team that provides performance scores for their employees based on a whole range of factors.
“Here, in our world of video telematics, for example, there are drivers who exhibit certain behaviors, such as following too closely or speeding, who are more likely to have a collision simply because they exhibit those behaviors,” Riordan said. “Or there are routes where our data tells us that vehicles are more likely to be involved in collisions than others. So, predictive analytics enables the fleet safety managers we serve to change the time of day that their drivers take those routes, helping them avoid a collision. It’s pretty powerful stuff.”
When using predictive modeling for safety, it’s crucial to have a purpose-driven strategy centered on analytics, Riordan said. In other words, don’t waste your time developing insights randomly. Rather, manage your time wisely by using data to narrow your focus.
“For example, if your data shows that a certain group of drivers is accounting for most of your collisions, you can focus your energies on coaching them and helping them improve,” Riordan said. “By using analytics in a more targeted way, fleet safety managers can zero in on their biggest challenges to achieve more immediate results.”
Predictive Data Analytics Using Video
When video is added to the mix, predictive analytics works the same way it always does, except that video adds more variables—and more context—Riordan said. Without video, you don’t know if a hard brake was due to a cell phone distraction or if the driver was cut off. With video, you do.
“Did your driver make an error that would benefit from coaching, or should he or she be rewarded for preventing a collision?” Riordan asked. “Video telematics adds the visual component and all the variables that come with it—light condition, speed of traffic, traffic congestion, and weather conditions, that can tell the true story of what happened.”
The more specific variables that are available to show the root cause of an incident, the easier it can be to understand (and change) your reality through predictive analytics, Riordan said. “You can only change what you know. Without video, you have so much less visibility into the true root causes of events.”
The Role of Predictive Analytics in 2018
In 2018, predictive analytics services are becoming more prevalent, thanks to the increasing power of available tools. Businesses and individuals are using predictive analytics in more situations, propelled by big data trends that have exploded in the last 10 years.
“The fact that the big data infrastructure has been built is making the power of predictive analytics available to the masses,” Riordan said. “Ten years ago, predictive analytics were in the realm of specialized data companies. In the last 10 years, the IT and analytical tool set has improved so much that virtually anybody can jump on board.”
The big data analytics movement started with Internet behemoths such as Google, Amazon and Netflix. Netflix suggested new movies to users based on their previous choices, while Amazon and Google served up related product and search suggestions to consumers in the very same way. These types of companies pushed the world forward, and other companies took note. Over time, big data has made consumer and business services more intelligent and easier to use.
“There’s an art to predictive analytics, and that is, you need to make it really simple for the end user,” Riordan said. “In the same way that Netflix wants you to see which films you’re most interested in, we at Lytx don’t want fleet safety managers to have to think about which driver they should focus on first if they only have five minutes to make a decision. We want that driver to bubble up to the top, so that it’s easy for busy people to make decisions they can take action on.”
For Lytx, predictive analytics creates a world where our roads are a safer place to travel.
“Early on, we believed wholeheartedly that by understanding root causes you could change the future, and that concept is catching on more and more,” Riordan said.
By understanding the root causes of collisions, you can coach and reward your drivers to safety success. The Beyond Telematics ebook has the complete story on how you can predict and manage your collision risk.