How OEM connected vehicle technology can improve fleet operations

Published on February 8, 2022

Did you know your car is collecting your data? All over the world, vehicle manufacturers are embedding telematics into their newest makes and models. Vehicle technology isn’t a new concept – in fact, most of us have been using telematics for years. From using a key fob to lock doors, to sending text messages via Bluetooth connectivity – our vehicles are continuously collecting information about us. They probably even know the song we keep playing on repeat.

When most of us think about telematics, GPS location tracking comes to mind. And while this function is incredibly important, embedded telematics can do a lot more than pinpoint vehicles on a map. A trend is emerging where our cars are becoming computers on wheels. By 2024, it’s estimated that 82 percent of all vehicles manufactured will have embedded telematics. Examples include stolen vehicle tracking, engine diagnostics, Wi-Fi hotspot, and infotainment. OEM embedded telematics will continue to evolve with future technology – and the cost of implementation has never been lower. But how does OEM telematics impact fleet management? And how can fleet owners/operators start reaping the benefits?

Zero installation means you can activate and go

For most commercial fleets, aftermarket telematics devices, like the Geotab GO device, have been the preferred choice for tracking vehicles. The industry “plug-and-play” devices offer a wealth of data to keep drivers, vehicles, and business operations in check. The device acts as an Internet of Things (IoT) hub sending data to a cloud-based service, like MyGeotab, where it can be accessed and used for reporting. This powerful technology saves an incredible amount of time as it automates reports, maintenance schedules, and routing – just to name a few. But there is one drawback – the aftermarket devices need to be purchased and installed.

With OEM embedded telematics, the product is already built-in. Users can quickly activate the feature and hit the road. This means no vehicle downtime as well as zero installation cost. Removing the installation step is a game-changer for fleet managers. Procuring hardware and coordinating availability with installers takes time. Plus, the ongoing semiconductor shortage is increasing lead times and making it difficult to acquire devices. If OEM telematics works for your fleet, bypassing the hardware and installation process may be the way to go.

Single platform for aftermarket and OEM telematics

Nowadays, most fleets consist of a mix of vehicles, from light-duty vans to yellow-iron machinery. As you replace vehicles with new ones, chances are they’ll come with OEM embedded telematics. If you have an existing fleet management software solution, you’ll want to research which OEM telematics it supports.

The Geotab OEM solution supports a variety of manufacturers including Ford, GM, Volvo, Mack, Caterpillar, John Deere, and several others. With a single-platform integration, you can collect data from vehicles with both aftermarket and OEM telematics. By consolidating all data, you can improve efficiencies and report more accurately. As third-party fleet software companies continue to expand their integrated OEM partners, businesses with mixed fleets will be able to manage it all from a single dashboard.

Less administration means more time spent on things that matter

If you Google “how to improve fleet efficiency”, implementing telematics is the answer. There’s no question vehicle telematics have improved productivity and safety across the board for fleets large and small. In 2019, approximately 86 percent of fleets were using telematics. It’s all about being able to find the right information when you need it.

A large portion of the administrative staff’s time is spent tracking down paperwork, driver information, and vehicle locations. If your fleet is comprised of newer vehicles, it’s a good idea to find out if they have embedded telematics. Connected vehicles can automate many of these tedious tasks and improve overall company communication. With telematics working for you, your employees can spend more time focusing on tasks that provide value rather than putting out fires.

If your business isn’t making the most of technology, you’re going to fall behind. In 2019, almost 86 percent of fleets were using telematics to help manage operations. If you have vehicles with OEM embedded telematics, it’s in your best interest to consult with your fleet management software provider. Depending on your long-term fleet management goals, OEM telematics may work for you. Embedded telematics currently aren’t capable of replacing all aftermarket devices. If your fleet uses more connected devices, such as dashcams and temperature monitoring, aftermarket telematics is still your best option. 

All of us are looking for turn-key solutions to optimize operations and boost productivity. If you have more recent vehicles and are looking to collect high-level data, OEM embedded telematics may be the solution.

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Julie Darnbrough

Marketing Manager


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