14 Mar 2023

Telematics in the transport sector: the key to greater efficiency

Telematics systems have become indispensable in the transport industry and in modern fleets. The data connection between the control centre and the driver or vehicle provides valuable data in real time and enables a high level of service.

With modern telematics solutions, drivers and vehicles become an integrated part of the digital supply chain. Every change in position and consignment status is transmitted in real time to the transport management or ERP system. Deviations from the plan are displayed immediately and give sufficient time to react. Invoices can be generated and sent electronically immediately after delivery. Pick-up orders and return freight are specifically transmitted to the most suitable truck that is nearby with sufficient loading space reserves. Instead of time-consuming phone calls, the driver receives clearly understandable messages on his mobile device, which are automatically translated into his native language if necessary.

Modern solutions for maximum transparency

But telematics can do much more: not only drivers and dispatchers are networked with each other, but also customers and recipients. With geofencing, automatic e-mails or other message formats are generated that provide early information about arrival times. In any case, modern solutions ensure maximum transparency about the delivery process, so that customer enquiries can be answered quickly and without having to ask the driver.

However, telematics is not only the basic technology for modern, mobile order management. Another essential aspect of telematics is the evaluation and optimisation of driving style. The transmission of engine speeds and braking behaviour provides information for targeted follow-up training, which can reduce diesel consumption and minimise wear and tear. No less important is the monitoring of driving and rest times. The legal obligation to read out the digital tachograph is turned into a valuable source of information by telematics, which makes the scheduling and management of large fleets much easier. Thus, the technology not only supports dispatching, but also fleet management.

Telematics Forum as part of NUFAM

No wonder that telematics is a fixed and growing exhibition area of commercial vehicle trade fairs. This can also be observed during the NUFAM in Karlsruhe, which is organising the Telematics Forum for the third time on the first two days of the trade fair on 21 and 22 September.

Telematics: A term and its history

  • 45 years: This is the age of the term "telematics", which was coined in 1978 by Simon Nora and Alain Minc as part of a study on the computerisation of society. It is an artificial word made up of the terms telecommunication and informatics.
  • In the transport industry, it took more than 20 years before the first hauliers, transporters and logistics service providers sensed the potential of telematics to improve their own processes. Around the turn of the millennium, there were the first simple telematics solutions with which the current vehicle positions could be determined and information sent in SMS format.
  • The benefits were limited and the costs high. Mobile phone charges were billed per short message and the required hardware for the cab cost mid four-digit amounts. The Benefon is legendary as one of the first mobile phones with an integrated GPS function - presented at CeBIT 2001, which was the largest trade fair in the world at the time with over 8,100 exhibitors from 62 countries and around 800,000 visitors.