Leopard Telematics is Leopard Systems’ telematics product powered by GEOTAB. In this article, we explain what telematics is exactly, how it works and how vehicle information is communicated to a web dashboard.
Telematics is a method of monitoring cars, trucks, equipment and other assets by using GPS technology and on-board diagnostics (OBD) to plot the asset’s movements on a computerised map. Also known as fleet tracking or GPS vehicle tracking, telematics is now an essential management tool for many commercial and government fleets.
The word “telematics” is a blend of two terms: “telecommunication” and “informatics.” Telecommunication is the exchange of information using technology. Informatics refers to the use of computers to gather and analyse data and manage real-world systems.
What are telematics systems?
Imagine a highly intelligent computer in your vehicle that is able to report on nearly every detail — from speed and idling, to fuel use, low tire pressure, and more. This information can mean saving on maintenance costs by better monitoring vehicles or improving fuel efficiency by learning more about driving habits. All of this describes the universe of telematics, also known as GPS fleet tracking.
To track assets, information from the vehicle is recorded via a small, telematics device — also called a black box — that plugs into the OBD II port. A SIM card and modem in the device enables communication on the cellular network.
How telematics works
The telematics device retrieves data generated by the vehicle, like GPS position, speed, engine light information, and faults. G-force is measured by a built-in accelerometer in the device. Then the telematics device sends the data up to the cloud.
A vast amount of data can be processed and analysed with a telematics device and other connected hardware or sensors, such as:
• Vehicle speed
• Trip distance/time
• Idling time
• Harsh braking and driving
• Seat belt use
• Fuel consumption
• Vehicle faults
• Battery voltage, and other engine data
How is vehicle information communicated?
Finally, the data is decoded and brought into the fleet management software app for reporting and analysis. With the software, users can view and export reports and gain business intelligence such as the top 10 drivers with the highest number of speeding incidents or vehicles that are due for scheduled maintenance.
Data analytics and machine learning offer a way to get further use from telematics data. For example, fleets can use benchmarking to see how their fleet performs on safety as compared to other similar fleets or understand if routes are structured in the best way.
Telematics data is sent from the vehicle to the fleet management software portal
Open platform telematics
As technology has evolved, telematics has moved from a closed system to an open platform. Through open platform telematics, companies can integrate other types of hardware accessories, software, and mobile apps for greater efficiency and insight into business operations.
Popular telematics integrations include dash cameras, electronic logging (ELDs), dispatching and route optimisation, mobile forms, remote diagnostics, or weather alerts.