Overhead view of vehicles on a motorway with digital tracking overlay.

What’s the difference between telematics and vehicle tracking?

You’ll no doubt have heard a lot about technologies such as vehicle tracking and telematics in recent years. These tools are an increasingly important part of any business’ fleet operations. Without them, firms won’t have crucial insight into what their drivers are doing or how to improve efficiency.

But if you’re unfamiliar with these technologies, you may be asking ‘what’s the difference?’ Vehicle tracking solutions and telematics are sometimes used interchangeably. But in fact, there are a wide range of differences that separate the two. Therefore, if you’re looking to reduce fuel costs, boost safety or increase productivity, you’ll need to know exactly what they do.

Understanding vehicle tracking

Vehicle tracking, as the name suggests, lets you keep an eye on your fleet at all times. Using satellite-based GPS technology that feeds information back to base via mobile networks, you can see where all your vehicles are in real time. This includes who’s on the move, who’s at an appointment and who might be available.

This can assist you in making better decisions about how to run your fleet. As well as helping drivers find their destination, the data gleaned from this can be used to help fill in mileage reports and other records.

The key benefits of this technology

Vehicle tracking solutions help you build a picture of where your vehicles are and how to best optimise their routing. Real-time tracking can ensure drivers avoid any congestion points and provides accurate estimates for when they can expect to arrive at their destination. In turn, this helps with overall planning and can even boost customer satisfaction by giving them more info on when to expect your employees.

GPS tracking tools can also help you spot any vehicles that are being used where or when they shouldn’t. For example, you’ll be able to see if a car or van is being used out of hours. Geofencing solutions can also enable you to set up a designated area for your operations. If a vehicle strays outside of these restrictions, you’ll quickly be able to see this. This will also be hugely valuable if you fall victim to theft, as it can help the police home in on the vehicle.

What is telematics?

Speedometer with 'telematics' written on it

Vehicle tracking services alone, however, only offer a partial picture. This is where telematics comes in. A key factor that separates telematics from simpler vehicle tracking solutions is the amount of data and reporting tools you have available.

A good telematics solution will offer all the same benefits as a GPS tracking system, but will also build on this with much more detailed information about the vehicle and its driver. For instance, telematics tools offer more insight about how the vehicle is being driven. It can record not only speed, but also information about how frequently or harshly the accelerator and brakes are being used. It can also show you how long engines spend idling.

Elsewhere, integration with the vehicle’s diagnostic computer can give you early warning of any potential issues, letting you better plan for any repairs or maintenance.

Telematics software can also integrate directly with reporting tools. This helps you much more easily calculate fuel usage, driving hours and expenses claims, to name but a few. With information displayed in easy-to-use dashboards, this means you have a complete picture of everything your fleet is doing at your fingertips.

The benefits of going beyond vehicle tracking

One of the key benefits of a good telematics solution is the impact it can have on driver behaviour. With the system recording a wide variety of metrics, you can easily see who’s driving sensibly and who could be putting themselves and other road users at risk. This lets you step in with training programmes, a warning or even disciplinary action for those who are frequently speeding, tailgating or otherwise driving erratically.

As well as making your fleet safer, this also has a direct impact on your fuel consumption. Smoother driver inputs and less time spent idling means you use less petrol or diesel. As this is one of the biggest expenses for any fleet, this is a simple way of reducing your expenditure and saving the company money.

This is before you take into account the fuel savings that can be achieved through better monitoring and route planning. As well as ensuring your drivers are following routes that provide the best efficiency, fuel tracking systems offer a quick and easy way of reducing your consumption and protecting your business.

Cracking down on fuel fraud

Close up of hand holding a fuel pump at filling station

You can also see at a glance where and when fuel cards are being used by your drivers, and ensure the time and location match the vehicle. This is a vital tool in cracking down on fuel fraud issues such as people sharing cards and using them to fill up personal vehicles.

Fuel fraud is actually a significant problem for many firms, with research from Shell revealing that almost two-thirds of fleet managers in the UK (65 per cent) view this as a major issue. If left unchecked, it could easily end up costing you huge amounts of money, so it’s essential you’re able to spot this and take action.

Improving your day-to-day workload

A good telematics system also means much less time spent on paperwork. With detailed reporting on everything from fuel efficiency and mileage to emissions, it automates and streamlines what would otherwise be tedious manual tasks. This also ensures accuracy and leaves you free to spend your time on more worthwhile, value-adding activities.

A complete fleet management solution

A telematics solution therefore offers a full fleet management and vehicle tracking solution. Compare this to a more limited GPS-only monitored service and it’s easy to see where the extra value lies.

Research by Verizon suggests effective telematics software offers a wide range of benefits. Among the results businesses have seen include:

  • Fuel economy improved by 18 per cent
  • Economical driving increased by 15 per cent
  • Harsh braking incidents down by 77 per cent
  • Engine idle time reduced by 64 per cent
  • Driving hours decreased by 24 per cent

If you’d like to know more about what telematics can do for your business, get in touch with our experts today.

Speedometer with 'telematics' written on it

Is telematics right for your fleet?

Since vehicle telematics was introduced, there has been a debate as to whether or not the technology has any benefit to fleets and if they should use it.

There are common objections to vehicle telematics, however, there are many businesses who believe there is no question that this technology should be used. The benefits experienced in their operations, like increased productivity and efficiency, as well as an overall reduction in costs, make the choice to use vehicle telematics an obvious one.

Big brother is watching you

This theory tends to be one of the larger concerns for businesses when debating whether or not to implement vehicle telematics. You might also believe that drivers will think it will be an invasion of their privacy or a sign of distrust from management. Many fleet managers have a close relationship with their drivers (some may even be former drivers themselves) and may not feel it is necessary, doing more harm than good.

However, it’s important to understand what the going to vehicle telematics is. It’s not to get employees into trouble or invade on their privacy; the goal is to improve your business.

Measuring driver performance is simply another way to help your fleet become more productive, safer on the roads, and increase your company’s bottom line. If a business isn’t evaluating employee performance, then it’s likely that the fleet isn’t at its optimum performance.

Budget concerns

Some fleet professionals are of the view that vehicle telematics is much too expensive and they don’t have room in their budget to implement this technology. If finding a solution is not a priority for an organization, then it might not seem important to have to take the hit on this cost.

While there is an upfront cost to a quality telematics solution, it’s just as important to consider the long-term benefits that this might present. Quality vehicle telematics software has the capability to deliver at least 500% return on investment when it is used to its fullest.

Through an increase in efficiency, fuel savings, decreased labour costs and theft, businesses have been achieved a 100% ROI in just a few months of rolling out telematics technology to their fleet. Vehicle telematics help businesses save money in a multitude of ways and it should not be considered an expense, rather a tool to reduce cost and increase the overall revenue.

It’s too much hassle

You may feel that there simply isn’t enough time to devote to managing the software or even adding to your daily routine. It might also seem like a significant inconvenience for your vehicles to have downtime while the devices are installed. These are legitimate concerns to have about adding more responsibility to your workload.

It is however, one thing to know where your drivers are, but it’s a different matter altogether to know what they’re doing. Are they speeding? Are they arriving on time? These are key issues that cannot be addressed without the assistance of vehicle telematics. At the end of the day, any hassle you might experience by implementing the technology is vastly outweighed by the benefits to your company’s efficiency and bottom line.

A barrage of data

Big data tends to be an issue of conflict for fleet professionals. On the one hand, they know it encompasses valuable information about their fleet. On the other, they don’t know what to do with all that data they have access to. Nobody wants to spend hours looking at information that is irrelevant to their responsibilities.

However, the issue isn’t too much data, it’s the data isn’t being filtered or presented in a way that makes sense, or even more frustratingly, it isn’t being filtered at all. If you consider your accounting department; they don’t need to view the same data as dispatch or maintenance, so what would they need access to that information for? Filtering relevant data to whoever needs it will allow your business to best use the information gathered and turn it into actionable intelligence. Giving people the information they need, when they need to see it, will help your business become more efficient, cut unnecessary costs and generate the best return on your investment.

When considering the merits of telematics and if it is right for your business, think about the challenges you face at the moment and your long-term business goals. Telematics can give you the information you need to overcome todays challenges and get your ready to be more profitable in the future. Remember that your competition will, if they haven’t already, implement telematics to their fleet operations, so don’t fall behind!

Tele-gence telematics offers improved safety for your drivers, security for your vehicles and reduces costs across your entire fleet. It’s a flexible, fully customisable system that can be completely tailored to the needs of your fleet. It’s easy to use and fully supported by our dedicated UK-based team. Contact the Tele-gence team today to find out more.

Digital image of hand turning down a dial with CO2 label

How telematics can help cut emissions

Keeping carbon emissions low should be a major priority for any fleet manager today. Firms that don’t manage this will spend more money and contribute to climate change. That’s not good for either your balance sheet or your business’ reputation.

As such, it’s vital you have a plan for tackling your fleet’s emissions. This is especially important for larger businesses with many vehicles, but smaller firms can also benefit. And one way in which any company can reduce its carbon footprint is by having a quality telematics solution.

The importance of cutting emissions

The UK’s transport industry is still a major source of greenhouse gases. According to government figures, the sector was responsible for 34 per cent of the UK’s carbon emissions in 2019. It also noted the “large majority” of this comes from road transport.

Therefore, the government has pledged to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 68 per cent by the end of the decade and be net carbon zero by 2050. However, this won’t be possible without greatly reducing vehicle emissions.

For businesses, cutting carbon emissions is a vital part of any corporate social responsibility (CSR) plan. Customers expect firms to take a proactive attitude to this area and increasingly factor environmental performance into their buying decisions. For instance, research by the Carbon Trust suggests two-thirds of people (66 per cent) feel more positive about companies that can demonstrate they are making efforts to reduce emissions.

Aside from this, lower emissions go hand in hand with reduced petrol and diesel costs. Cutting down on carbon dioxide naturally means using fuel more efficiently, which is also good for your bottom line.

There are a number of methods firms can use to help reduce their fleet’s emissions, such as adopting more fuel-efficient vehicles, or even switching to hybrid or full-electric power. But these solutions often require major investments. However, there is a way any business can cut its emissions without large-scale changes to its fleet, and that’s by adopting telematics.

How telematics works

Motorway with overlay of digital data

Telematics tools are increasingly popular among business fleet managers for a number of reasons, and making operations greener and more efficient is a key consideration.

They work by monitoring the performance and status of your vehicles in real-time, using a variety of different technologies. For instance, GPS tracking provides an accurate picture of where your cars and vans are at all times, as well as useful information such as its speed.

Meanwhile, sensors in the vehicle that connect to the central computer can record a range of detailed data. This can include diagnostics to alert you to any potential maintenance issues, but it can also monitor control inputs to build a picture of how your employees are driving.

These are all sent back to the business wirelessly and in real-time. This means fleet managers always have complete insight into where their vehicles are and how they’re being used.

You may even be able to compile accurate reports on miles per gallon and exhaust emissions, which can let you see the impact any steps will have.

Three ways telematics reduces your fleet’s emissions

With this information in hand, you can take a number of steps to reduce your fleet’s emissions. Here are three benefits you should be able to quickly see as a result of car telematics.

1.  Better route planning

It goes without saying that the fewer miles you drive, the less emissions you’ll release into the atmosphere. In this regard, a good telematics system can be highly valuable. When coupled with a smart routing system, this can spot any inefficiencies and suggest improvements.

For example, vehicles that have to stop and start a lot will create large amounts of emissions. Therefore, tailoring routes to minimise this can have a significant impact. Similarly, reducing the amount of backtracking vehicles have to do between stops not only makes operations more efficient, but also reduces carbon output.

2.  Reduced idling

Another effect of this data will be to reduce the amount of time vehicles spend idling. This is one of the biggest contributors to carbon emissions and air pollution. Indeed, it’s actually already an offence to leave a vehicle idling unnecessarily, with drivers liable for a £20 fixed penalty notice if they keep their engines running while parked on public roads.

Traffic jam on motorway with stationary cars

Telematics can help with this by helping drivers avoid traffic jams, roadworks and other occasions where drivers may be sitting stationary for long periods. However, it can also help alert you to drivers who are displaying poor practices.

For example, if an employee turns on the engine and leaves their car to warm up for ten minutes on a cold morning, you can see this and step in. The same is true if drivers are leaving engines running while they make deliveries or any short stops.

This can make a real difference. For instance, one Tele-gence customer, JJ Food Service, reported it had been able to reduce idling time by 70 per cent since adopting the technology, with this helping cut its carbon emissions by two per cent.

3.  Better driver behaviour

Changing driver behaviour isn’t limited to reducing idling, however. Vehicle telematics systems can also measure inputs such as throttle and brakes, how much a driver revs the engine and their steering actions. Hard accelerating and braking uses more fuel, which in turn means more emissions.

By keeping a close eye on this, you can spot who the worst offenders are for these poor driving techniques, then arrange education and training. With easy-to-use reporting tools, you can even create league tables that rate your employees’ performance.

At the same time, this data can be used to crack down on problems like speeding. As well as being a safety issue, higher speeds mean greater emissions, so there are several benefits to tackling this. With systems that can give real-time alerts if a driver is breaking speed limits, you can act quickly and stop bad habits forming.

None of this is possible without detailed telematics tools and effective reporting software. But with these solutions, you can track emissions in real-time and gain insight into exactly what impact your efforts are having. This can also prove useful when compiling CSR reports or otherwise demonstrating your commitment to going green.

If you want to know more about how telematics tools like Tele-gence can help reduce your carbon footprint and save you money, get in touch today.

Big 18 wheeler semi truck on highway with motion blur

Telematics & Black Box FAQs

Telematics vehicle tracking allows fleet management professionals to make the best use of vehicles and equipment in their fleet to improve safety, reduce business costs, improve efficiency and increase productivity. Now essential for many industries, from corporate fleets to transport and logistics, telematics technology has become a vital part of creating a safer, efficient fleet.

I have less than 5 vehicles in my fleet, do I really need to track my fleet?

Regardless of the size of your fleet, the benefits of using telematics are far too many and carry a lot of benefits for your company. With up-to-the-minute and accurate data on how your assets are being used and where they are at all times helps you to get the most out of your fleet and achieve greater fuel efficiency, no matter how many vehicles you have.

city and telematics network concept

How else can I use telematics in my business?

Telematics systems can be used for a variety of purposes, including equipment monitoring. Tracking when your assets are idle can also help you maximise usage, reduce equipment hoarding and drive down the costs of unnecessary assets that could otherwise be rented.

For construction, mining, oil, gas and other off-road equipment applications, understanding asset utilisation is important in measuring production and improving your business’ overall efficiency. Tracking your equipment can also give you real-time alerts if a machine is used out of work hours, helping to prevent unauthorised use, or even theft.

How will telematics affect customer satisfaction and fulfilling customer requests?

Fleet management software and telematics systems can organise daily workflow to help managers effectively respond to customer requests. It also allows you to view your drivers and vehicles in real-time to pinpoint locations and help dispatch the most ideal routes. When a customer calls for a last-minute job update, the dispatcher can accurately answer inquiries based on location within seconds, whether it’s to find out its current location, to find out an ETA or a last-minute, ad-hoc job and finding the best driver.

This software provides the tools you need to arrive on schedule, no matter the specialisation. It allows for more efficient journey route planning and ensuring maximum productivity. With a comprehensive solution providing complete visibility across your entire fleet, companies can be prepared and stay organised to meet demands while keeping costs low and exceeding your customers’ expectations.

Can it help pinpoint inefficiencies that create customer dissatisfaction?

By ensuring proactive management and addressing potential issues as they arise, you can ensure total satisfaction and a streamlined service for your customers. GPS tracking improves efficiency and productivity by allowing you to make real-time decisions about transporting customer goods.

Delivery routes can be monitored and analysed through telematics tracking to identify the ideal way of delivering your products and services. These routes can be changed as needed to suit both the driver and job. This can streamline processes and pinpoint inefficiencies that can then be quickly addressed.

Delivery van in the city

Can telematics tracking improve the safety of my drivers?

Fleet management solutions can provide essential performance data that identifies both strengths and weaknesses of your driver’s behaviour. Using GPS tracking to highlight behavioural risks means you can develop tailored training designed to address the most pressing issues. This performance data can be used to encourage and train your drivers to reinforce safety standards.

Performance data can also track important and needed changes in driver behaviours by measuring them against set safety standards. Telematics tracking makes it easy to identify whether drivers are maintaining a safe speed, braking or cornering harshly, or not following safe driving policies, allowing tailored and targeted training to address any potential gaps in their knowledge and behaviours. Improving individual driver safety can impact the entire fleet, leading to fewer incidents and an overall safer workforce.

Does telematics tracking make compliance easier?

Telematics enables businesses to align their processes with new policies and simplifies the procedures needed to adhere to complex compliance regulations through real-time data and alerts.

Streamlining your operations with telematics allows for better decision-making and scheduling, reducing the risk of compliance violations. It also translates driver wellbeing into easily understood and tracked data, outlining how they can improve their behaviour, manage fatigue and mitigate risk to become more safety compliant.

This in turn generates cost-saving benefits for the business due to lowered insurance premiums and fewer fines for safety violations.

Tele-Gence smart telematics

We all know what a simple tracking system does, but when you investigate the market you will find that not all telematics systems are born equal. Tele-Gence offers improved driver safety, vehicle security and reduces fleet costs. A remarkably flexible, fully customisable system totally tailored to your fleets requirements. Contact our team today to find out more.

Lorry driving along European highway

Tele-gence telematics technology, what does it track?

Telematics is nothing new, most of us know what it does. But, when you really look into the telematics market, you’ll see that they’re not all the same.

What is telematics?

In basic terms, a telematics system is a vehicle tracking device that is stored in a vehicle that allows the sending, receiving and storing of telemetry data. This data can include location, speed, harsh acceleration or braking, fuel consumption, vehicle faults and more.

For fleet managers, telematics technology can help fleets achieve great operational improvements in key areas such as:

  • Decreased fuel costs: Telematics can help fleet managers identify areas of waste, like vehicle idling or fuel slippage. This means those issues can be addressed promptly and this positively impacts fuel efficiency.
  • Improved safety: Continuous feedback on driving style and behaviour will let fleet managers coach drivers and reduce unwanted driving habits, like speeding or harsh braking.
  • Elevated productivity: With near real-time GPS system data, drivers can help avoid delays in traffic and plan for inclement weather. Back office managers can then quickly attribute any additional site visits to the closest vehicle and instruct them on the best route to get them there.
  • Better payroll management: By tracking the precise time a vehicle starts to the moment it shuts down at the end of the day, fleet managers have an accurate, automated record of how long an employee worked. This can help business owners verify that employees are paid accurately for the hours the worked while eliminated time spend manually matching up timesheets to job tickets.

Powerful, intelligent tracking with tele-gence

Tele-gence telematics is an affordable, intelligent, user-friendly tracking system that can help reduce costs and add value to your fleet. Tele-gence telematics is suitable for all vehicle types and any size of fleet.

24/7 vehicle tracking

With satellite and hybrid mapping, using international roaming SIMs and the best networks, you can track your fleets position 24 hours a day, in real time. Tele-gence also comes with impact detection, alerting you to any vehicle or assets incidents and their location, ensuring the maximum coverage.

Fuel cost management

Thanks to direct integration with fuel card data, Tele-gence helps to monitor costs and reduce spend, as well as offering protection against any fraudulent transactions. Tele-gence can be easily integrated with your fuel cards, providing accurate and improved MPG by up to 20% by improving driving patterns and behaviour, reducing fuel consumption and vehicle wear and tear.

Driving behaviour

Truck driver driving in cab of semi-truck

Tele-gence allows you to tailor driver behaviour scores that help you determine your best and worst drivers. The system gives you a score for each driver against every journey taken. This then enables you to spot dangerous drivers quickly, helping to improve safety, fuel consumption, maintenance costs and helps you to comply with legislation.

The driver reports offer a clear and detailed view of drivers harsh braking, accelerating and cornering, so you can identify the drivers in your fleet that need to modify their behaviour.

Custom alerts

Tele-gence is fully customizable, providing you with a telematics solution tailored to your requirements, giving your greater knowledge and control over your fleet. You can set custom alerts to:

  • Provide vehicle speed vs speed limit violations
  • Identify moving outset set hours of work
  • Let you know when a vehicle enters or exits any of your zones
  • Remind you when a vehicle needs servicing, MOT is due for any repairs

You set the parameters and how you want to receive the information with a completely customisable reporting platform to give you valuable insight into your fleet.

Connected cameras

As well as tracking your fleets vehicles, cameras greatly enhance your visibility and the protection of your drivers. In an event of an incident, you can receive a customisable alert without ever having to physically access the SD card using our cameras.

The camera integrates directly into the software, making the footage visible and downloadable from the platform in high definition at the point the incident occurs. A blind spot and a 360 camera option is also available.

Personal tracking

Tele-gence can also provide personal trackers for staff on foot or bike. The trackers are easily concealed in clothing, bags or pockets making them very discreet. You can also choose how frequently you want the device to report its location.

Tele-gence personal trackers can also come with panic buttons which send alerts directly into the platform. In the software, you can choose to be informed by email or SMS (fees apply), giving peace of mind for lone workers and their managers.

Monitor your assets

As well as effective vehicle and personal tracking, our platform allows you to also track parked assets, plant equipment and expensive machinery. You can easily see where your assets are, allowing quick locations, assisting with stock taking, recovery of stolen assets and improving management efficiency. They’re easy to install and internal or weatherproof external solutions are available, making them ideal for securing valuable assets or backup devices.

Today, telematics are an essential part of any company’s fleet. If you want to find out more about how Tele-gence can transform your fleet management, reduce your fuel spend and improve driver behaviour, get in touch with one of our experts today.