As the tech that enables the exchange of information between fleet vehicles and a central manager, telematics has been billed as a game changer for any business that uses a fleet.
But while awareness of its benefits has increased significantly recently, telematics is not revolutionary: this data and the means to understand it has been available for over a decade. As more and more businesses wake up to the benefits of telematics there is a new kid on the block; Mobile Enterprise Management (MEM) threatens to blow traditional telematics out of the water.
Traditional telematics is archaic
Whether it’s on a truck driving through the remotest parts of Scotland or a delivery van in Cornwall, telematics data is typically created using GPS units with on-board computers. The hardware uses cellular networks to transfer real-time data to central offices which is interpreted for effective fleet management. The data covers everything from location, movement, status and behaviour of a vehicle or fleet of vehicles to how a driver is operating them.
This information allows managers to get a birds-eye view of an entire field operation, checking the overall health, profitability and productivity of the fleet, whilst ensuring the workforce is operating the vehicle as intended. The headline benefits include vast fuel savings through route optimisation and increased driver and vehicle safety.
This is of significant benefit to any fleet-based business, but there is so much more to a mobile workforce than simply understanding the location and speed of a van or truck and what the driver does inside it. This is because fleet managers, and those in the field now have the power to understand the mobility of an entire workforce.
Forget telematics. It’s about MEM.
Almost everyone now has a smartphone in their pocket. Deloitte puts the figure at 76% of Brits. This means that devices, workers and assets are now mobile and connected in an extremely powerful way – a far cry from the simple GPS link that old telematics hardware uses.
Added to this, more and more organisations are becoming experienced at using technologies such as cloud and big data to harness insights from this mobility. Research from Adapt claims that almost 90 percent of UK organisations now use cloud services, while the Government claims 12 per cent of companies are analysing their data. These two technologies, plus the power and mobility of the smartphone are giving unparalleled insight into operations.
This is where MEM comes in. MEM is the tech that allows all constituents of a fleet to communicate and interact with data and gain insight from it in real time. From sprawling international supply chains to small commercial fleets, by using mobile and the cloud to connect an organisation from the front line to the back end – and all the individuals involved between – businesses can totally optimise their operations.
This includes traditional telematics information, but also planning, navigation, routing and compliance data, and an unprecedented understanding about use of assets like cranes, plants or trailers.
And because this tech is smartphone based, iOS and Android capabilities open up possibilities for businesses even further. Think about the way consumers interact with their smartphones – an app can be created, simply, to solve almost any demand within a fleet operation. One example is gamification products are being developed to get drivers to compete on fuel efficient driving, encourage better driving safety and fuel efficiency.
MEM can help businesses become dramatically more efficient, smarter and safer in a way that simple telematics can’t achieve.
Organisations are under immense pressure to improve cost efficiency while also evolving the way they work to keep up with rapidly changing customer and employee demands.
Telematics can help bring down operating costs and is the first step in using tech to help transform a business. But to be able to stay at the cutting edge by totally optimising all parts of a mobile organisation, fleet-based businesses must forget telematics, think bigger and embrace full mobility with MEM.