There are a lot of risks for companies that have to operate fleets as part of their operations — from insurance issues to potential damage to brand reputation.

Fleet vehicles branded with a company’s logo are driving billboards. As long as the driver is driving safely and cautiously, everyone is happy.

However, a single instance of a speeding, aggressive driving or idling for an extended period of time can damage the image and brand that the company has carefully crafted.

Tracking Fleet Cars

Many companies use a fleet management system to help route their vehicles and perhaps monitor other metrics such as fuel usage, location and drive time. And those are all great features because they generate useful insights.

But adding a strong telematics back-end to a fleet management system has the potential to take those benefits to the next level. UK-based Telematics.com defines telematics as a general term that refers to any device, which merges telecommunications and infomatics — from GPS systems to navigation systems. 

Because telematics offers important benefits for fleet managers, end users and insurers worldwide are increasingly adopting the technology.

It can drive down operations costs while at helping to protect brand and reputation.

And more advanced telematics systems can help fleet managers dive into the analytics behind driver behavior.

Last year Juniper Research forecast that the telematics sector would continue to outperform all other machine-to-machine (M2M) markets through 2019, in revenue terms, with one in five passenger vehicles connected globally within the next few years.

Always Watching

With a strong analytical telematics platform in place, a fleet manager can monitor driver behavior in the same way they monitor vehicle performance.

These metrics are generally used to help further reduce operations costs by improving fuel economy and reducing the risks vehicle breakdowns. They actually curb driving practices that could shorten the life of the vehicle.

Most systems allow the fleet manager to set up alerts to flag any type of driving that exposes the brand to negative perception, especially speeding.

Drivers aren't necessarily thrilled at being watched.

But monitoring driver behavior takes a company half way to protecting its brand. The second half of the equation is to use this information to educate drivers and help them to change the negative behaviors.

Changing Behavior

A training or education program can be implemented based off of the data that is captured from the vehicles and processed in the telematics platform. Then, using historical data, the effectiveness of the program can be measured.

As the ecosystem we are coming to know as the Internet of Things (IoT) continues to expand its reach and allows us to derive more context from the data it collects connecting vehicles becomes much more than just improving efficiency to reduce operating costs.

Telematics platforms are becoming ever more sophisticated, allowing deeper insights into not just the vehicles but also the men and women driving those cars and trucks.

They can effectively help companies protect not just their physical assets but intangibles that support the company's mission and vision.

Title image "Transics TX-SMART" (CC BY 2.0) by MBWA_PR