Telematics Gone Global: What Do Telematics Companies Need for Success in IoT?
It doesn’t feel that long ago that Telematics systems was mainly just a cool portmanteau, offering basic location services that consumed a minimal amount of data each month, perhaps 1MB, but not much more. Today, Telematics has become a complex and sophisticated industry, set to be worth upwards of $150B by 2028, with devices able to receive information from multiple sensors, consuming five times the amount of data, and with a need for a global infrastructure.
What’s Driving Telematics Challenges?
Telematics devices march by the beat of their own drummer. In many other industries, devices can be placed in a single location and don’t move for their entire lifespan. IoT in Telematics relies on the ability for devices to be mobile, tracking information as vehicle fleets, drones, and other mobile vehicles move from one location to another. For fleet management and vehicle tracking, IoT sensors are heavily connected to gather multiple sources of data, and will collect information in real-time, providing essential details on driver behavior, GPS tracking, and vehicle diagnostics.
One important factor for businesses to consider is coverage. Even if a provider has a single operator relationship to keep things simple, it’s common for there to be coverage gaps as a vehicle moves from A to B. In fact, even if an operator uses roaming agreements, there will always be areas with low coverage. One way to extend coverage would be to support the use of satellite coverage, extending availability, but most operators don’t offer this as standard.
Without a better telematics solution, coverage challenges and performance issues can have a direct impact on the business’ bottom line. Think about use cases such as:
- GPS in-vehicle losing signal at a critical part of the journey, so that drivers are unable to load maps, losing valuable time and falling behind on deliveries.
- Coverage gaps causing loss of data from the On Board Diagnostics (OBD) of particular trucks.
- Malfunctions in a vehicle fleet going undetected, causing an accident which could have been avoided with the right data to hand at the right time.
As businesses look to new use cases and business models such as self-driving cars, reliability in Telematics is essential. Organizations need to be 100% sure that data will be collected without gaps in visibility.
Talking about visibility, in Telematics, it needs to be real-time. For fleet and vehicle management, there are many elements to consider, from the network itself, to location of SIMs and accurate billing data. Think about the importance of being able to see at a glance whether devices are active or inactive, what network the device is registered to, the device location including cell ID and coordinates, and whether the device is currently in session.
This kind of peripheral data offers a number of advantages in business terms. An enterprise can optimize billing for cost-control so that there is no invoice anxiety or ‘bill shock’ at the end of the month, they can guarantee a specific SLA to their customers without the fear of layers of customer support through the operator or network to slow them down, they can prevent fraudulent behavior, and put into place proactive maintenance… the list goes on.
Behind the Scenes Business Challenges in Telematics
As well as operational challenges due to lack of coverage or visibility, there is the impact of connectivity complexity on the business to consider. The Telematics industry suffers from around 15% churn, and when this occurs, businesses are often left with inactive devices, or unused data plans which need to run out the rest of their contract. Telematics is all about efficiency, and this should include reduced costs of connectivity. A vendor partner that only charges for active devices and the data that’s really being used would make a huge difference.
There’s also technical complexity and operational challenges to contend with. To beat roaming challenges and coverage gaps, enterprises often engage with multiple operator contracts and multiple SKUs for different localities. However in reality, this means all the other challenges are just multiplied by the number of agreements the business has entered into. On top of coverage and complexity multiplied by the number of agreements, integrating with each vendor itself involves high operational overhead, and working with multiple platforms is an administrative nightmare.
Once you’ve made these decisions, it’s hard to roll them back, which can end up costing you dearly. Consider a situation where you have partnered directly with a network operator and they hike their prices. It’s impossible for you to go and change SIM cards in the field, so you have no choice but to pay.
A New Approach for Telematics – A Hyperlocal Global Network
The ideal solution for Telematics is one that allows companies to access local connectivity, anywhere in the world. A hyperlocal global network provides compliant coverage everywhere that devices travel, automatically connecting to a local network and autonomously switching from one operator to another, with zero coverage gaps. Multi-IMSI SIM is a much more reliable solution than engaging with multiple operators or leaning on roaming, and devices can be configured OTA to decide exactly how they connect, and when.
At floLIVE, we hand over the keys to the connectivity infrastructure, so that any company can access an unprecedented uniform experience for connectivity. We allow for provision of plastic SIM, eSIM or iSIM over the air to obtain new operator coverage, or businesses can rely on autonomous switching as vehicles enter a new location. Our back-up system gives extra confidence that the vendor will experience no blind spots in terms of coverage, and obtain real-time data without gaps to make smart decisions in the moment. A business will know immediately when any element such as OBD systems are experiencing a malfunction for example, and can feel confident that its drivers are never off-route or working without visibility.
We can also provide our customers with the ability to create child accounts, handing over control to regional distributors or other direct clients. These child accounts can also manage their own connectivity with full autonomy, opening up game-changing new business opportunities for the parent company, such as monetizing connectivity by becoming a reseller.
Finally, from a business perspective, there’s no operator lock-in, as businesses can switch operators whenever they feel they aren’t getting the best in service or cost, and the company only ever pays for active SIM cards, which means if customers churn or devices are abandoned, the business stops paying immediately.
Are you a Telematics company ready to hurdle connectivity challenges to see business growth? Schedule a call to speak to one of our Telematics advisors.