What’s the Difference Between Telematics and Vehicle Tracking? 

Ever wondered what the difference is between telematics and vehicle tracking? You may think that they’re the same … but are they?   

Telematics comes from the French word télématique. First used in 1978, it’s the amalgam of two French words for telecommunications and computer science. It’s definition is; “convergence of telecommunications and information processing.”   

Telematics combines vehicle technology, road transportation, road safety, telecoms, wireless communications and computing.  

On the other hand, vehicle tracking is one of several modern technologies that fall under the general definition of telematics. It’s a subset of telematics, as is GPS navigation, among others. 

Vehicle Tracking History

telematics | vehicle tracking | TT Matics

The technology that underpins vehicle tracking originated in the 1960s. Like many modern technologies it was first created by the US Defense Department. Civilian research into using telematics to improve road safety began in the late 80s.  

By the mid-90s the first vehicle tracking systems emerged. Then, by the early 2000s, web-based fleet management systems were launched to organizations. In 2010, smartphone apps linked real-time information with mobile phones and tablets, making it even easier to get information instantaneously.   

How is telematics used for vehicle tracking?

Telematics devices, including GPS tracking units, are made up of several essential parts: 

GPS receiver:  Receives location information from the GPS satellite 

Engine interface:  Transforms and routes messages from the GPS 

Sim card:  Broadcasts GPS data to the main server via the mobile network 

Accelerometer:  Senses and records driving style and crash impact data 

Battery voltage sensor:  Detects unit tampering 

Telematics | Vehicle Trackers | TT Matics

In itself, it’s not a complex system. However, getting telematics data does require a lot of technology to work simultaneously: 

  1. GPS satellites collect location data and transmit it to the vehicle’s tracking unit.
  2. The engine interface translates it and adds data from the accelerometer and the battery voltage sensor. 
  3. Information flows to the server via the unit’s SIM card.
  4. The server formats the data and makes it available through an online app. 

What are the benefits of vehicle tracking? 

The real-time tracking and telematics technology make managing a mobile workforce much more efficient. Usually, vehicle tracking features include, but aren’t limited to: 

  • Geo-fencing
  • Online time-sheets
  • Route reports                                                             

Businesses equipped with telematics technology save a lot of money by examining the data. They do this via daily vehicle routes, speeds traveled at and how much time was spent traveling. Consequently, they use this data to improve driver behavior and productivity. 

The benefits of vehicle tracking eventually trickle down to a business’s customers:  

  • More accurate arrival and cost estimates.
  • Faster emergency response by properly equipped trucks.
  • More precise billing.

What About Fleet Management? 

Telematics technology can do more than just provide real-time tracking; it manages a safe and efficient fleet. The same tracking unit that can provide live location data can also record and deliver the following:          

Driver behavior analysis: The unit’s accelerometer reports on the vehicle’s driving style, factoring in speed, acceleration and braking, which are a good indicator of how much risk employees are taking. 

Vehicle maintenance alerts: Using telematics and odometer readings, milestones such as inspections, insurance and registration renewals and service due dates can be scheduled. Alerts ensure you don’t miss vital deadlines. 

IFTA calculator: Telematics even make paying fuel taxes easier for a business owner operating multi-state in North America. A tax calculator is integral to the tracker’s GPS location data and mileage recordings,  

The Future for Telematics 

At TT Matics, we believe there’s no limit to what’ll be possible through telematics technology in the future. If the past ten years of growth in the industry are any indication, there’ll be even more mobile workers. it’s their companies that’ll realize the enormous benefits that can be reaped from vehicle tracking.  

The capabilities of vehicle tracking systems grow every year. Features that seemed far away only a few years ago are now right around the corner. So, there’s never been a better time to get on board with telematics.   

Choose TT Matics 

So, we’re experts in our field, telematics and vehicle tracking. We offer the best products, including Quartix, sensible, honest advice and great customer service. You can benefit from the latest GPS technology and mobile communication with a system that can compute real-time events in about 60 microseconds (or 0.00006 seconds) to make your telematics data both accurate and fast. Our customers can rely on user-friendly systems that are cost-effective and backed by many years of operating experience in the telematics and vehicle tracking industry. 

Finally, view the business benefits of vehicle tracking and also a guide to how much you can save by using it.

* Images used with permission of Quartix