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NEW MOBILITY WORLD @IAA 2019Frankfurt/Main, September 10–15, 2019

Telematics: An Introduction

By Editorial Team on April 7, 2018

Whether you’re aware of what they are or not, you’ve probably been increasingly using telematics in your daily life. The term originated in France and was first coined by Simon Nora and Alain Minc in a 1978 report to the French government, where they used it to describe the transfer of information over telecommunications. Although the term could be broadly used, if speaking about commerce, it now most often connotes vehicle telematics.

Vehicle Telematics

With regards to personal vehicles, telematics can do everything from remotely opening/locking your car doors, starting your engine, routing you around accidents, auto-dialing emergency services if you yourself are in an accident, or telling you the current football score. This means that for most drivers, telematics covers the areas of navigation, communications, safety, security, and increasingly also infotainment. This can come in the form of a crash-resistant black box that receives wireless information, which it then utilizes as it sees fit, depending on the situation, or some functions can also be handled by your connected smartphone

If your vehicle is equipped with telematics, the core common features often include automatic collision notifications (also emergency crash notification), where the call centre is notified in case of an accident, and they can then call for help; emergency assistance, where with the press of a button aid can be called for; good Samaritan assistance, for emergencies involving others; roadside assistance for mechanical problems; and vehicle diagnostics where drivers receive an email detailing the condition of their car (this can then also be sent to the car dealership, which helps avoid breakdowns.

Ties to IoT

As telematics has established itself in the automotive industry, most enabled vehicles have modems that support 2G and 3G. But as new LTE-M and NB-IoT networks are being rolled out and older technologies are being retired, the vehicle telematics market is showing a growing interest in adopting cellular IoT as the most viable solution. Several companies have started switching over to LTE Cat-M1 since it is considered an ideal, perhaps even long-term, solution. Naturally, the cost is also a factor: Cat-M1 is cheaper when connecting vehicles to a network and extracting data, and LTE is significantly cheaper than 3G.

Fleet Telematics

This refers to the use of telematics to manage and monitor commercial vehicle operations, locations, and status. Fleet telematics systems enable the exchange of information between a central location and individual vehicles in the fleet, which can include trucks, ambulances, municipal vehicles, school buses and others. Telematics is becoming more important for fleet operations as they provide significant savings for owners:  As per estimates, empty runs (without any goods) account for 25%-30% of the total runs made by the fleet globally.

Fleet telematics are a hot topic all over the world: The Australian Logistics Council (ALC) has reiterated its support for making telematics equipment compulsory on Australian heavy vehicles in a new position paper, and the fleet management provider Fleet Complete just announced two sizeable deals. The first is with General Motors to integrate its management and telematics systems with GM’s OnStar connectivity system, and the second is a partnership with Deutsche Telekom to provide fleet management offerings to German customers:

“We are thrilled about our partnership with Telekom, as it represents a significant milestone for Fleet Complete in its European market penetration,” says Tony Lourakis, founder and CEO of Fleet Complete. “The German market is brimming with opportunities in the commercial fleet sector and, by partnering with one of the best telecommunications networks in Europe, we will be able to address local market needs and bring the widest scope of solutions for connected commercial vehicles.”

According to the“Commercial Vehicle Telematics Market in Europe 2018-2022″ report, the commercial vehicle telematics market in Europe is expected to grow at a CAGR of 13.85% during the period 2018-2022.

Additionally, both hardware and services providers will come under increasing pressure from automakers in the near future to try to integrate the services they provide directly into the vehicles – so that a telematics system can be provided fresh from the factory.

Photo by John Schnobrich on Unsplash

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