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#BizTrends2017: Smarter decision-making drives telematics development in 2017

While big data has been the buzzword for the past year within the telematics and fleet management space there is no doubt that, in the year to come, this will be ever more critical as businesses need to make smarter decisions in the aim of driving up productivity and driving down operational expenses. Big data will see an evolution over the next year – by creating easier to digest, bite-sized bits of data and streams of focused actionable intelligence that can be used to really drive immediate change within the fleet environment.
Grant Fraser
If we consider that the commercial vehicle telematics market in South Africa is estimated to reach around 840,000 by 2017, then this instant access to such quick, easy to use but comprehensive data sets – across different business aspects - will be key.

However, leading into 2017 we are bound to see a number of trends that will not only catapult the market in the year to come, but that will set the benchmark for the years that follow. Pushing the boundaries of innovation within the next year will be critical to continued business success. We have identified four key trends that we believe will demonstrate real returns for the telematics sector, and their fleet clients, into the year to come and beyond.

Integrated in-cab video goes mainstream

In-cab video that is fully integrated with fleet management telematics solutions provides valuable insight when it comes to driver performance and safety. As a result, more fleets will be seeking an integrated full-featured telematics solution that – at its core - supports video to not only assist with accident investigations and claims but, very importantly, to help with identifying driver issues in order to train drivers for improved driving behaviour. For this to work well, having the in-cab video integrated into the telematics system is key. In fact, as video becomes more of the norm for fleets, it will be a must-have tool to protect drivers and the fleets during accident investigations, as well as improve safety on the roads.

Analytics remains essential

2017 will be ever more about the data and how to understand it to make more informed, smarter decisions for the fleet. We believe that fleet managers will expect to find deeper, more actionable intelligence from all of the data created through their fleet management systems in order to improve efficiencies, lower costs and increase driver and vehicle safety. This means that companies and providers are going to get smarter at how they structure their data and how they use it to create profit benefits.

Pulling data from multiple sources, analysing the data for actionable outcomes, and being able to create customisable reports, graphs and dashboards – that can be shared - will become a much stronger consideration by fleet managers and demand is set to grow within the telematics market accordingly.

Non-motorised asset tracking becomes priority

Tracking valuable assets like generators, storage tanks, pumps and light towers will become more important to fleets in 2017. As fleets look to improve asset utilisation and reduce loss, they will turn to technology that can easily capture the whereabouts of these assets, including when they were last spotted. Plotting on maps and/or generating reports with the last-known location, date and time stamp of the tagged asset will help fleets improve their asset utilisation and save money.

Service becomes king

The fact is, as product features across equipment providers become commoditised, what is really going to make a difference is the level of service providers can offer to fleets. For instance, most fleets only utilise approximately 50% of their telematics system, when they can be getting so much more out of their investment. Telematics providers need to continue to show fleets how to get the most out of their systems – whether it’s for safety, efficiency, fuel economy or compliance – ideally all four. In fact, the days of just selling the system and walking away are really over – companies need resources, support, and commitment from their suppliers, real commitment that provides them with a long, profitable and detailed partnership.

About the author

Grant Fraser, Product and Marketing Director at MiX Telematics (Africa)