Turbo Telematics

Turbo Telematics

October 8, 2013

It has been three years since AEMP released its telematics standard as a crucial step toward enabling integration of machine data into fleet management. Frustration at the lack of implementation has grown in recent months, however, and once again AEMP has stepped forward to address the issue for end-users.

Member asset managers had continued to complain about difficulties in integrating data from multiple telematics providers, and—in what could be a defining turn of events—associate member equipment manufacturers were complaining about fleets not taking advantage of the technology. Their significant investment in data collection was not returning benefits.

Last spring, AEMP and AEM (the associations representing the two key groups in telematics acceptance) agreed to work jointly on the problem. As a first step, AEMP commissioned a survey of members to determine the current state of telematics acceptance.

Stan Orr, AEMP’s president, said survey results were presented to AEM to demonstrate that there is a genuine problem and suggest ways to address it.

“AEM has been nothing short of outstanding to work with,” he says. “At a Chicago meeting of top level executives, AEM said, ‘We are going to help solve this (problem).’ [The survey] got all of us off the dime.”

The results confirm that the industry has not moved far off the point it occupied three years ago: Many fleets have less than 10 percent of their machines enabled with telematics, and these machines are often recently purchased units with factory-installed black boxes.

We don’t know, either, if managers are using the data from those new machines. AEMP’s research indicates that between 6 percent and 40 percent of fleets (depending on fleet replacement value) are using telematics to manage their fleets.

These survey results should push the two parties toward finding solutions: Both recognize the benefits of full implementation of telematics data. As of last week, the two had been able to define what types of data need to be made readily available regardless of equipment brand. Discussions over the past months had provided an opportunity to dive deeply into specifics of various data points and produced better understanding of what data is critical to fleet management.

The groups expect to have significant progress to announce at Conexpo in March. AEM manages the show, and AEMP will hold its Annual Conference in the days before the show.

These two key constituencies have every reason to advance the cause of telematics. The benefits for both are great. Current research and a commitment to working through the issues has turbocharged the efforts to integrate telematics into fleet management.