Fleet operators have invested heavily in telematics over the last decade or more.
It has helped in many, many ways – route planning, logistics management, driver communications, reduced fuel usage, improved productivity, better maintenance, etc.
But with it has come the problem of too much telematics data. The “I can’t see the wood for the trees” situation, or “information overload” has happened in many situations.
This is compromising fleet risk management and driver safety.
Here’s how that problem can be sorted, by thinking differently.
The fleet industry has become abundant with telematics data and technology. Helping fleet managers with their tasks, and importantly, improving fleet risk management, over what went before.
From black box telematics, to forward facing dashcams, to complete video footage from around the vehicle, to online driver training, to license check systems and beyond.
Fleet operators can have it all.
Add into this mix, the fact that larger fleet operators often have a number of different telematics solutions, camera systems and fleet management information providers.
These provide the same, or similar, telematics data but in different formats and with differing interpretations.
Meaning that each telematics supplier used, adds to the fleet management task. As having to log into and use separate systems is time consuming and not very efficient.
Plus, one system only provides a singular view of the risks within the fleet operations, at any one time.
Meaning that there is then a task of aggregating telematics data into a reporting structure, commonly an Excel spreadsheet.
Given all this, you can see how companies and organisations operating fleets, now face the problem of “what to do with all this telematics data?”
That is, how can they best manage, interpret, and implement practises based around this ocean of data?
Plus, crucially, how can they see the true level of fleet risk in their operations?
While the current situation is a challenge, it is only going to get even more data rich.
Some would say data crazy.
With ever more connected vehicles coming online, we’ll soon be seeing 25GB of data produced, each hour by each vehicle.
That’s the same amount of data in 6,000 music tracks or 10,000 emails
Given the legal limit for driving a van is 56 hours per week. That means one van could be generating 56 x 25 = 1,400GB (or 1.4 TB) of data a week.
That’s equal to streaming about 300 HD movies (or, a little under half of the Netflix UK catalogue).
Makes you think.
Of course, all this data is a great resource.
Businesses can look into each part individually to see how a specific risk aspect is performing.
Such as, if a company would like to see which of its drivers are speeding, they can look into their telematics data and check for speeding reports.
If they would like to see if their drivers stay focused while driving, and don’t get distracted or smoke in their vehicles, they can log in to their in-cab camera system and check footage.
Great and valuable insight.
But managing this telematics data interrogation or monitoring, across a fleet of several hundred or thousands of vehicles and drivers, becomes a mammoth task.
And that’s before we are getting the data equivalent of Netflix’s catalogue once a fortnight from each vehicle.
Faced with this information overload, of more data but not always more insight. Fleet Managers are often compromised in their role by the very systems that were designed to help them.
Focus can spiral down to one narrow area, like managing speeding.
This then misses out on the value of the rest of the data. Which if it could be tapped into, could be used to pro-actively manage the situation in all areas of fleet management, including fleet risk management and driver safety.
The answers are in the data. But the volume of data is making the answers too hard to find.
There is a more concerning side to this data overload, as raised in an article in Fleet World, a few years back.
Importantly it considered the legal situation of having the data, but not acting on it.
That is, if a company’s driver is involved in an incident, and it can be proved that it had data alerting it to the likelihood of that incident happening, but it took no action. Then the legal ramifications could be severe.
To quote from the article,
Doug Jenkins, in his role as manager, risk control – motor, at insurance firm AXA, has noted a trend of fleets not acting upon the data provided. He said: “It is like any information companies have on a driver; if they are aware that the driver…is consistently exceeding speed limits, then this information must be acted on. The same applies if they carry out a driver risk assessment and it comes back as a high risk – they must act on it.
“If a driver has an accident that attracts the police, or Health and Safety Executive (HSE), they can seize any information or data that is available for that driver. This can be written files, and data from a camera or telematics.
“You can imagine the scenario where a driver is involved in a serious accident and is charged with dangerous or reckless driving and the employer has data that shows they have been driving badly for a long time and the employer has done nothing with it – both would be facing serious consequences.”
While telematics data is valuable for driver safety and fleet risk management. In many ways it only shows part of the risk management picture.
A full risk management system would bring in other non-telematics data, like a driver’s training history (or lack of) speeding fines and notices of intended prosecutions, as well as HR related issues like time keeping or poor driving reports from members of the public.
Aggregating data like this with telematics data, would give a broader and more comprehensive view of the fleet’s risk profile and potential issues in driver safety.
Of course, adding in even more data sources for fleet risk management and driver safety, could be seen as throwing petrol on a fire. From an information overload point of view.
Meaning that, like the telematics data, the insight from the information also gets lost.
Compromising potential gains in fleet risk management.
So, what is the answer to this challenge of too much telematics data, a future where there will be exponentially more, and a good reason to also add in data from other sources?
Like many things in life, there are two answers – work smarter or think differently.
Working smarter has been well covered in a range of articles by the telematics providers and operators in the telematics data community.
These talk about the symptoms of information overload and propose strategies on how to deal with them.
Useful, but reading them they come across as good management advice – set a goal, start small, get organised, etc – rather than anything genuinely specific to the telematics data overload situation.
If you start from the point of view that to be an efficient and safe fleet the key is to have the right information in the right format at the right time. Then the approach changes.
The thinking isn’t about managing the data, its about what data is key to my decision making and monitoring process?
This approach leads to the challenge being about collecting all your telematics data into one place. Benchmarking it and filtering out the information you don’t need.
That is aggregate the data, normalise it, standardise it, and filter it.
If you can do this and do the same for the HR and other driver data that the telematics data doesn’t give, then you have a very workable solution for fleet risk management and coping with the information overload.
Additionally, a great benefit about this thinking is that you do not need to go out and buy more telematics.
You can use what you’ve got. Just think differently about how it’s being used.
This different thinking about the challenges of too much telematics data and how to improve fleet risk management, is where CMS started.
Our view was that if a fleet or risk manager in a business was able to bring in all their existing telematics data. From their different systems, across their fleet and have all that data aggregated. Along with their vehicle camera system footage and other risk data from HR and training records.
Then there would be a step change in the way they could manage fleet risk and keep drivers safe.
From this thinking, we built a SaaS platform that aggregates the data, normalises it, standardises it, and filters the information to just the key pieces that the risk or fleet manager needs.
All without the need for new hardware
All with the capability to integrate with any existing (and future) hardware
And all with the capability to scale up as the amount of data increases.
With this telematics data aggregation specialism, our platform gives CMS’ customers the answers to these fundamental risk management questions:
Is the risk profile of my fleet improving or reducing?
What behaviours and what drivers are causing this change in the business?
What is happening in my business right now that I need to take immediate action on?
Additionally, they are able to drill down into this information to a depot or driver level, within a couple of clicks. Meaning that they can pro-actively target reviews, training, and other management tasks, based on the risk profile.
This moves risk management from being about generic management and reactive processes to highly targeted proactive ones.
Ones that spot the likelihood of specific incidents happening, enabling managers to address them before they happen
Too much telematics data is a problem. It masks clear insight and can handicap fleet risk management by losing the key information in the ocean of data.
Addressing this, for fleet risk management, is not to invest in more hardware. It’s also not to work smarter.
The solution is to think differently.
Collect all the telematics data and other data you are currently producing.
Aggregate that data, standardise it and display it in one simple view.
Get the right information at the right time.
The benefits of doing this are massive:
The list goes on.
If you are a fleet operator that has too much telematics data and would like to get more insight from it, then a chat with us would be a great place to start.
We have helped fleets and insurers manage their data in the most efficient ways possible.
By collecting their telematics data, camera footage and HR related data direct from all their sources, then aggregating it and standardising it and displaying it all in one system they have all seen a massive ROI in the first year.