Telematics - The Lowdown
We’re hearing the term more and more often these days – telematics – but how many people know what it actually is? The word is derived from the Greek “tele” (meaning far away, especially in the context of producing or recording) and “matos” (from the Greek “machinari” which means contrivance and in this context of automation it means “of its own accord”). The word basically describes the3 process of long distance transmission of computer based information. It’s actually an interdisciplinary field that covers several areas:
- Vehicular technologies
- Road transportation
- Road safety
- Electrical engineering (sensors, instrumentation, wireless communications, etc.)
- Computer science (multimedia, internet, etc.)
The practical applications help to keep modern life moving smoothly. We live in a complex world where produce and materials need to be transported on a daily basis. Telematics is what enables us to keep up to speed with the complicated world we live in. Some of the applications of telematics involve:
- The integrated use of telecommunications and informatics for use in vehicles and the control of vehicles on the move.
- The technology of sending, receiving and storing information using telecommunication devices in conjunction with the control of remote objects.
Telematics includes (but is not limited to) GPS technology integrated with mobile communications technology and computers in automotive navigation systems. The term has recently evolved to refer to the use of systems within road vehicles in which case, the term “vehicle telematics” is often preferred.
The vehicle telematics industry has undergone some dramatic changes in recent years as a result of rapid advances in mobile phones, the internet and GPS receivers. This has resulted in fleet telematics (which was popular with large corporations and organisations) becoming a viable option for smaller fleet operators. Vehicle telematics can help improve the efficiency of an organisation with a range of practical applications:
- Vehicle Tracking – monitoring the location, movements, behaviour and status of a vehicle or fleet of vehicles using a GPS recorder and an electronic device installed in each vehicle.
- Trailer Tracking – tracking the movements and position of an articulated vehicle’s trailer unit with a location unite fitted to the trailer. This type of technology has become increasingly popular in the delivery of frozen foods in order to monitor temperature inside the cargo container in order to trigger alarms or as a recorded audit trail for business purposes,
- Container Tracking – a battery powered GPS device transmits its position via mobile phone or satellite communications in order to track freight containers to increase security. This technology also allows the container transport movements to be rescheduled if necessary following updated information on its location, which can result in an increase in cost effectiveness and productivity.
- Fleet Management – Whether its cars, vans, lorries, buses, trucks or boats and ships, modern technology is essential for effective fleet management. Successful fleet management leads to improved efficiency and productivity and reduces overall transportation costs. It is also necessary to provide 100% compliancy with government legislation regarding Duty of Care obligations.