What is Telematics?

What is Telematics?

Telematics means different things to different fleet managers, depending on their fleet's needs and the technology their company adopts. To some, telematics means a simple system that allows fleet managers to pinpoint the locations of their trucks and have access to basic operational data. But many systems are now far more sophisticated and include advanced technology such as video. These systems capture a range of data that can be used to improve safety, enhance productivity and cut costs. The combination of video and data helps put fleet managers in control of their company's reputation and profitability while protecting their most valuable assets — their drivers.

Components of Video Telematics

A quality video telematics system incorporates vehicle information from an onboard computer known as an engine control module (ECM). These systems report speed, G-force and vehicle operation information that includes video data from both inside and outside the truck. With this technology, fleet managers can keep track of their trucks, and they can analyze and learn from any safety incidents that occur on the road.

Basic telematics is useful for some scenarios, but adding video to the mix creates significantly more value. Unlike other telematics systems, video telematics systems show not only what happened, but also why it happened. Was a driver cut off? Did a deer run into the road? Did the driver reach for something? Video helps answer all of these questions, allowing management and drivers to better understand and rectify potential operational and safety problems before they happen.

Telematics and Fleet Planning

By showing fleet managers what really happened and why it happened, video telematics empowers them to use that knowledge to improve future fleet performance and prevent a particular incident from occurring again. With the help of video telematics, fleet managers can analyze performance data, view actual video footage and use it to defend against false claims, improve safety performance or reward a driver's job well done. Not to mention that by helping to improve driving habits, video telematics programs ensure that your employees, and your cargo, arrive safely.

Driver Retention

Although some drivers initially are wary of video telematics, those who have used a video telematics system often realize that video can be a valuable advocate for them. Video has been used to exonerate drivers from wrongful blame in a collision. When fleets and drivers have video evidence to protect them in a false claim, they can prove they weren't at fault and help protect their reputation, their livelihood and their bottom line. And it boosts morale for wrongly accused drivers.

Video telematics programs also lead to driver retention in another way: They can allow drivers to retain their jobs while working to continuously improve. Video telematics solutions with a driver coaching component allow drivers to sharpen their skills through constructive coaching sessions with a safety manager. When drivers are respectfully approached about driving behaviors, they're often eager to develop safer habits. The video is used as a learning tool and not as a way of punishing employees. As a result, drivers become more skilled, more vigilant and stay with the company while enhancing their talent.

Fleet managers recognize that by implementing the latest technology their organizations can stay competitive in the transportation industry. A video telematics solution is a powerful tool that can give fleet managers added protection and control over their operations. 

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