2 Apr 24

"A lack of knowledge about telematics limits the benefits"

Telematics is an transformative opportunity for every fleet, delivering gains in safety, sustainability, and efficiency. However, as Michele Cipullo, Go To Market Manager at Targa Telematics, emphasizes, realising these benefits is not a straightforward task. Overcoming driver resistance and optimizing operational efficiency require diligent study and careful implementation. Failure to do so risks falling behind in an evolving fleet industry landscape.

"If you don't apply telematics, you are owned," says Cipullo. A fleet manager is blindfolded without telematics and unable to overcome the most critical problems in fleet management. "Telematics brings difference to an environment, changes the universal way of doing things, and offers an opportunity to challenge the status quo," says Cipullo.

But there are challenging factors: a fleet's culture may conflict with telematics, and the lack of knowledge about telematics reduces the visibility of the benefits. As a result, telematics may confuse budget calculations, stemming from not being sure about the return on investment (ROI). Cipullo says it is vital to present use cases around specific scenarios and the fleet's specific peculiarities to dissolve the mist around telematics and build appropriate, tailored Business Cases.

Another reason is the inexperience among the drivers and unions about telematics, which may cause resistance to change, believing that telematics will bring constant monitoring and risks for drivers. The decision to apply telematics may also cause pressure on fleet managers because it may mean a conflict with unions. At this point, privacy issues also arise. Under the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), telematics may cause fear regarding drivers' privacy and acceptance of the technology. 

"The privacy of people is too strictly linked to the topics for the adoption", says Cipullo. Regarding commercial fleets, data privacy and remote access and control of data directly place GDPR in the picture. "In the US or the UK, for instance, it may be easier to implement telematics with fewer restrictions and create a balance between the value you want to bring to the company and the inclusiveness of the drivers, which is privacy," says Cipullo. In Europe, on the other hand, drivers are much more protected, but without knowledge about the regulation, they can't fully figure out the benefits. For instance, if you're using your smartphone to create social media content, you forsake your privacy or the cost of giving away your data for the reaction you want to receive. In the same mindset, drivers would know that telematics is not a problem but a performance booster. 

Eventually, improving fleet operations and achieving high motivation among drivers is a matter of communication, says Cipullo. "Fleets must care about how to communicate the implementation of telematics. When companies face telematics topics, they also understand that they must change their internal workings with their drivers 180 degrees. So, this is scabbing the customers and maybe one of the issues or obstacles to the adoption,"

Increasing OEM abilities in telematics and legislation towards this goal is a positive development, says Cipullo, especially as the EU Data Act has entered in force on 11 January 2024. "We are talking about a change of processes. The fact that you can connect to vehicles without the need to install additional hardware makes implementation easy and the life of a fleet manager easier. Otherwise, it would be less easy going through the adaptation and implementation process." 

Tips and tricks for implementing telematics in fleet? Download the e-book on Clean and Lean Commercial Vehicles.


Authored by: Mufit Yilmaz Gokmen