Equipment Type

Telematics Creep

Successful fleet integrations of telematics are few and far between, and the penetration rate remains low across the industry.
May 09, 2016

Rod Sutton is editorial director of Construction Equipment magazine. He is in charge of editorial strategy and writes a monthly column for the magazine, The Sutton Report. He has more than 30 years in construction journalism, and has been with Construction Equipment since 2001.

The first real industry movement toward broad acceptance of telematics implementation began in 2008. A large number of AEMP members said the reason fleets were not using telematics was the lack of standardized data. Two years later, AEMP released an API as a first step toward standardization.

At Conexpo 2014, AEM strengthened the process toward standardization by joining with AEMP. Within a year, an expanded API was released and subsequently sent to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) in order to make it acceptable worldwide. We are now waiting for ISO to release the standard for telematics.

Some equipment fleets have paved their own paths toward implementation, either building their data-collection systems in-house or using a local third-party technology company to build it for them. These successes are few and far between, though, and the penetration rate of full implementation remains low across the industry.

This publication has promoted and supported an asset-management philosophy for well over a decade, recognizing early on the value of telematics in managing operating costs.

We’ve recorded the slow creep toward implementation in our research. We have also suggested that the majority of this industry’s fleets might find quicker and more cost-effective success with telematics implementation from their equipment distributors.

The genie is out of the bottle, and—motivated by end user demand for standardized data—manufacturers have begun touting their ability to help manage “total cost of ownership.” They have embarked on a process of education and training with their dealers, but they are finding wide ranges of machine-data competency at the local level.

Distributor partnerships still hold the most promise for fleet management. Even with an ISO telematics API, individual fleets face serious challenges in implementing their own system of data integration.

Distributor partnerships using telematics data also provide opportunities to complement maintenance management. Machines will be monitored, preventive maintenance can be scheduled and executed, and—eventually—predictive maintenance can be employed.

Fleet managers have two immediate ways to avoid telematics creep. Partner with a third-party technology provider, or find a distributor who knows telematics. Either option allows the fleet manager to take full advantage of machine data, which ultimately helps their organizations be competitive and efficient.

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