Telematics now is much more than just GPS tracking

Vehicles from South Africa’s Vryheid Petroleum, who avoided the risks of losing up to $40 000 and 50 000 liters of petroleum with a loss of just one truck, all thanks to telematics

Mahlubi Transport and Plant Hire, South Africa, improved a range of fleet operations and saves 4 500 liters of fuel monthly after adopting a telematics solution

29th August 2022


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For business owners who don’t dig much into digitisation and automation, GPS tracking and telematics may sound like synonyms. Yet, telematics is more than vehicle tracking, and the era of a moving dot on the map is long gone.

The global vehicle telematics market continues to successively grow. Meanwhile, the challenges are there: truck hijacking rate has increased by 31.4% during the first three months of 2022 in South Africa. Add this to the recent fuel pricing changes, and it becomes clear that the need for technologies is significant enough.

Why are telematics and GPS tracking not exactly the same? What does this difference bring to companies that are looking to improve their fleet’s operations in this business climate?

Beyond just installing a GPS tracker

Telematics solutions can turn your fleet from a range of separate vehicles into an organised system working toward common goals. How does it compare with GPS vehicle monitoring?

  • GPS tracking determines the location of a vehicle using satellite-based navigation. Its functionality is limited to location and speed tracking only.

Example: you can see where your company’s trucks are located on the map.

  • Telematics incorporates GPS tracking, but is a wider term. This technology means gathering, storing, and presenting various data from vehicles with the help of telecommunication devices. This data can be analysed and worked with which becomes a key point for a business – to rely on real numbers representing the company’s work.

Example: each month, you generate a report showing the fuel consumption of the whole fleet and compare it with the fuel dispensing data. If you see any differences, you turn to data on each truck and identify the one from which the fuel was stolen, and take measures.

Being a part of the Internet of Things (IoT), telematics gathers data on every aspect of the fleet, for owners to analyse and use it for informed decisions and better management.

Now, what are the advantages of telematics over a dot-on-the-map tracking in practice?

Improved fleet operations

GPS vehicle monitoring provides the location and movement of a vehicle on the map, while telematics allows for tracking over fifty parameters for each vehicle in your fleet.

With these values both historic and real-time, owners react immediately if needed or utilise the accumulated data and statistics to make operational decisions.

For instance, telematics solutions provide great opportunities for timely fleet maintenance. Effective vehicle maintenance leads to preventing roadside violations, minimising vehicle downtime, and increasing driver awareness.

The list of improving similar fleet operations thanks to telematics is limited only by a business owner’s understanding of pain points that need to be fixed. Eco-driving control, schedule compliance by drivers, effective route building, ensuring cold chain and carrying dangerous goods under the correct conditions, government and corporate compliance are just to name a few.

Enhanced security

By using GPS vehicle monitoring, you can see if your asset is in the right place. But is it enough to ensure it won’t land in the wrong hands? It’s easy to remove and destroy a GPS tracker or just block the signal, and a stolen vehicle will never appear on your radar again.

Telematics systems prevent theft on different levels: for fuel, goods, and vehicles; across the various tech frameworks; both for vehicle tracking and recovery.

  • In South Africa, companies suffer from vehicle theft and hijacking. Preventing truck theft with telematics offers an ecosystem with driver IDs, alarm buzzers, tracking of route deviations and unauthorised stops, with all the data from these points being recorded in one place.

Typically, a platform can be configured to send notifications if some parameters are changing in a harmful way – for example, when a vehicle is leaving a certain zone without permission, or if a smart lock protecting the goods suffered an attempt of opening by an unauthorised person.

  • Drivers are often attacked, too. If this happens, a telematics solution lets fleet owners know about it and react immediately – by sending notifications with the driver’s location and other information straight away when a panic button is pressed .
  • If the crime has already happened, telematics providers offer vehicle tracking and recovery systems. You can detect jamming, block the engine remotely and immediately receive information necessary for recovery or to stop the breach mid-way.
  • Safe driving control reduces the number of road accidents. If they happen and they are not caused by your driver, you get reliable evidence for police and insurance – with exact data on driving parameters, video and pictures.

Advanced cost management and increased revenue

No need to explain to business owners that the expenses, revenue and profits depend on factors much more complicated than competitors’ prices, market situation and the service quality you provide to your customers. Here, telematics will serve well unveiling the weak spots, and giving the data needed to tackle these spots even if they are hidden under processes, human factors and lack of evidence.

GPS tracking alone won’t do much here. However, if we extend our view to the wider world of telematics, you can reduce costs in multiple unapparent ways:

  • Eliminating idling which literally drains your fuel and efficiency
  • Paying fewer fines by reducing speeding
  • Controlling transportation conditions of goods and avoiding fines from customers
  • Reducing pen and paperwork, automating processes and having more time for employee’s to focus on more complex or growth tasks
  • Eliminating mistakes and the losses associated with them

Detailed reports and analytics help owners find and correct the weak points in tens of internal verticals and avoid unnecessary expenses now and in the future.

Telematics as the gateway for more data

The power of a telematics solution depends on GPS tracking equipment, connectivity, service provider skills, and other factors. One of these key aspects is software.

Here is why service provider skills are mentioned: their job is to choose the right solution for your business requirements, from a track-and-trace system to a multifunctional one.

This is where Wialon is one of the leaders in the market. This ultimate platform for GPS tracking and IoT can be employed no matter the size and the type of assets a business needs to control.

“At Wialon, we adapt to the current environment. Our product has long become something more than just GPS tracking. We link our product development strategy with the idea that each business area has its own specifics. In some areas, Wialon just out of the box would be enough, and somewhere there may be a room for integration with apps or third-party solutions. A whopping 3.2-million connected vehicles proves we’re offering versatility,” says Aliaksandr Kuushynau, Head of Wialon at Gurtam.

Is telematics bringing real profit to businesses?

Before investing into a fleet management platform and incorporating it into one’s company environment, a business owner will naturally ask if it would be effective and cover not only the implementation costs but also bring additional profit. The industry’s participants give certain clues.

  • The market of telematics-based fleet management in South Africa is in a growth period. The installed FM systems there will reach 3.6-million units by 2026.
  • Telematics and IoT solutions help leading organisations form every industry to keep their fleet under control and offset local market traits.
  • As security issues are relevant for the South African market, professional telematics systems can serve as a lifeline for businesses of all sizes in the region.

For market players of virtually any industry with assets that need to be controlled it's not just recommended, but crucial to measure vehicle performance, track driver behavior, get actionable insights to improve driving safety, reduce insurance costs for your clients, and much more. All this can be implemented thanks to telematics and its steady march into the remaining months of 2022.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter




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