What is telematics and what does it do?

Feb 21, 2022

Car GPS Satnav

To put it simply, telematics refers to technology that is used to monitor a wide range of information relating to either an individual vehicle or an entire fleet. Generally, telematics is used by fleet managers, giving them an accurate insight into how their vehicles are being used. 

How does a telematics system work?

A telematics system basically involves installing a device inside a vehicle. The device then gathers a range of data using Global Positional System (GPS), sensors, and vehicle engine data. The data is then temporarily stored inside the device that’s been installed in the vehicle before it’s sent using a cellular network to secure servers. The information can then be accessed from a device such as a smartphone, tablet, or laptop – anything with an internet connection. 

If you’re still confused, then here’s a simple model of how telematics works:

Data is collected – the data is sent to the in-vehicle device – cellular network used to send information – data received by a secure server – user can access data using software on a smart device.

Global Positioning System (GPS)

GPS is a navigation system that uses signals from satellites to determine the location of a receiver. GPS works in any weather conditions, anywhere across the world, and 24-hours a day. GPS allows for live visibility of a vehicle’s location, as well as its speed and movement within points of interest.


Sensors allow users to capture the data specific to driver activity, including the likes of aggressive acceleration and sudden braking. Sensors can be used to monitor any in-vehicle activity, even the opening of doors and tail lift raising.

Engine data

Engine data refers specifically to data that is directly pulled from the in-vehicle diagnostics system. This is primarily used to gather live information on fuel efficiency and vehicle odometer readings.

What data does telematics capture?

Amongst other things, telematics can help to capture the following data (depending on the software used)

  • Vehicle location
  • Access to live data feeds
  • Vehicle speed
  • Vehicle behavior, including harsh braking and sudden acceleration
  • Panic alerts
  • Vehicle status (whether it’s on or off)
  • Distance traveled
  • Harsh cornering 
  • Fuel usage 
  • Vehicle faults

Additionally, depending on the software, telematics systems can provide a comprehensive report, going above and beyond tracking, to support fleet managers with many of the common challenges they often face.

The growth of telematics

Telematics is in fact, the joining of two sciences: telecommunications and informatics. Since its launch, telematics has evolved, with the growth of the internet no doubt playing a huge part in how the technology has developed. Unsurprisingly, telematics boomed back in the 1990s, simultaneously alongside the rise in the internet. Since then, thanks to the more recent digital revolution, the modern telematics system has been developed and used across the world today. In fact, recent statistics value the global automotive telematics market at just more than $50 billion, and that figure is expected to reach $320 billion by 2026.

The evolution in technology also means that telematics can be integrated with other types of hardware – including dash cameras and weather alert phone applications for example – to give a more efficient report of data and a better insight into business operations. 

Who uses telematics?

Telematics can be used for a number of various purposes, but most commonly for fleet managers. Its technology allows fleet managers to efficiently oversee fleets of all sizes, whether that’s a handful of vehicles or hundreds. Telematics is more than simply a way to track a vehicle, it allows users to manage vehicle and driver performance, along with maintenance management.

How can telematics devices be installed?

Telematics devices can either be installed by the driver themselves, or by one of your technicians. Whichever way they are installed, they will be up and running quickly and easily. 

It’s worth noting that the power of each device varies, and while some might be battery operated, others are powered by the vehicle’s internal electrical system.

Benefits of telematics

There are main benefits that come with using telematics and in general, these are:

  • Efficient fuel management

Let’s be honest, one of the highest expenses of driving is fuel consumption. Thanks to telematics, you can reduce unnecessary fuel use, through the likes of direct route planning and cutting engine idling.

  • Cost-effective maintenance

Telematics warns managers of current up-and-coming mechanical issues with vehicles and equipment, allowing them to address these sooner rather than later. Similarly, for those who like forecasting, telematics makes scheduling preventative maintenance more possible, which again, saves money and helps prolong vehicle life.

  • Allows for efficient communication

With important data being automatically reported back to fleet managers,

there is less need for them to regularly check in on their drivers. Putting a more seamless communication process in place saves time for both drivers and managers.

  • Instant access to data

Not only does telematics allow for better communication between drivers and management, but it gives software users instant and fast access to data, which erases the time-consuming task of searching for information. 

  • Safety

Of course, safety is an absolute priority of any driver – and those who are managing drivers. Telematics technology helps to improve safety by monitoring driver behavior, along with vehicle performance. 

It’s also worth noting that if emergency assistance is required, telematics provides emergency handles with the exact whereabouts of the vehicle, thanks to its location tracking.

  • Improves sustainability

As well as efficient fuel management, telematics allows businesses to improve their carbon footprint while reducing the impact vehicles can have on the environment.

For fleet managers, or telematics users who are coordinating multiple vehicles, here are several more specific benefits that come with using the technology:

  • Improved service

By having an oversight of the exact location of each of their vehicles, fleet managers can easily respond to any changes in traffic, while taking driver availability and changes in the weather into consideration.

  • Reduces risk of service disruption

With better fuel management and efficient maintenance planning, fleet managers can reduce the risk of breakdowns and even better, service disruption.

  • Lower administrative costs for the business

As mentioned, telematics can have a positive impact on the communication process at a business. As we all know, simplifying and automating processes offers a cost-effective solution and seriously helps to reduce outgoing costs.

  • Better awareness of safety

While we’ve highlighted that telematics software can impact the overall safety of vehicle drivers, it can also help to improve driver behavior, including having an impact on their speed for example. Data can also be used to help implement training for drivers, specific to them, depending on the information received. 

  • Improves customer experience

Fleet managers are always looking for ways to improve customer experience. Telematics technology gives real-time vehicle status, which means delivery notifications can be sent to the customer while pushing alerts when the driver is delayed. After all, nobody likes waiting around for a delivery, do they?

  • Accurate billing

Having an accurate oversight of the miles each vehicle has traveled, allows for better billing – and better still, this information will all be generated automatically, rather than wasting the unnecessary time of a staff member. 

Can telematics devices be used in all types of vehicles?

The great thing about telematics devices is that they are suitable to use across a range of vehicles including:

  • Cars
  • Pick-up trucks
  • Tractors
  • Buses and coaches
  • Heavy equipment

Can telematics be used for assets, as well as vehicles?

It might surprise you to hear that telematics is for more than just vehicles. In fact, you can attach a telematics device to trailers, equipment, and any non-motorized assets – which also prevents these from being stolen, or helps find them in the scenario of theft. 

Improve your automotive business and become a SnapCell user

It’s clear that telematics technology has come a long way over the past three decades, with digitalization playing a huge role in its growth. What’s evident is technology, just like telematics help enhance efficiency and productivity within the automotive industry, while saving professionals both time and money. And it doesn’t stop there – telematics is just one example of how technology is having a huge impact on the automotive industry. 

Take SnapCell for example. SnapCell is a video-creation app, designed especially for those within the car industry, making it easier than ever for staff to seamlessly produce professional-looking clips, helping to boost sales and bring in income. From giving users the ability to hold two-way live video chat, to its messenger feature, SnapCell provides an ideal cost and time-effective solution for those wanting to improve engagement with their target audience, while successfully showcasing what their businesses have to offer. 

To ensure your business is in the driving seat as technology continues to develop, then take things up a gear and become a SnapCell user. Book your free demo.

Get An Example Snapcell Video Sent To You Now

Please fill in the form provided to receive your example SnapCell video.

SnapCell Demo - See us in action

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.