While businesses in the United States started embracing telematics more than 20 years ago, and the technology became fairly mainstream five or 10 years after that, the tech is gaining traction and increasing in relevance, meaning that now is the best time to embrace telematics.
In the early days, as transportation companies began to embrace telematics, there were some bumps in the road, so to speak. At first, companies merely received information from systems, and that information was mostly unqualified, telling, for example, where someone stopped but not why. The key, according to Nick Mitchell, vice president of global sales at Trimble, is to apply logic rules to highlight both poor and positive performance and to report data in a way that executives can understand in order to implement best practices.
Other early concerns involved whether or not companies were going to act as Big Brother, micromonitoring what their employees were doing. Mitchell stated that most companies chose to adopt a more holistic approach, determining whether employees were abusing policies. Other problems for early adopters included poor network coverage and poor data quality.
Now that companies have moved beyond those early issues, now is the best time to implement telematics. First of all, since fuel is more expensive than ever and prices can fluctuate greatly, companies have trouble budgeting for fuel costs, so the savings offered by telematics can help a great deal. In tough economic times businesses are forced to look at efficiencies across the board, and telematics solutions offer a quick and measureable ROI. Finally, businesses are more concerned than ever with customer service, and telematics can help in this area as well. The technology can help ensure that items are delivered on time, can help schedule technicians in smaller windows of time, telling you where people are, what they are doing and what comes next.
As for the future of telematics, Mitchells sees a time when the technology is already built into vehicles but also appliances and printers. It will allow for better tracking of perishable goods as well. The technology will mature, becoming cheaper and proliferating into many different areas. So, while now might be the best time for telematics, the future looks bright as well.
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Edited by Rachel Ramsey