How telematics is shaping the world in which we live - Pt 1

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Part 1 - The bigger picture

The commercial telematics market is currently undergoing a period of rapid growth. Forecasts show that the market is set to top an estimated £33 Billion in 2020, more than double the current global market value of £14.3 Billion.

In a world driven by ever-more innovative technology, past theories of machine to machine, M2M, communication have quickly evolved into the internet of things (IoT). Prior to the mid-1990’s, the internet was a communication network used primarily by academics and engineers. The next 20 years saw the PC evolve, laptops become tablets and mobile phones replace TV’s, gaming consoles and even credit cards. It is now possible for almost any person in a developed nation to control their life from the palm of their hand.

The ability for engineers to extract information from machines and deliver it in a targeted, user-friendly format to Joe Public has certainly helped the astronomical growth of the telematics industry. With £14.3 Billion being spent in 2015 on telematics, one can only begin to speculate what that commitment is actually worth to the companies who invest.

We find that it is not actually the telematics that generate revenue directly but rather the clever applications that stem having all of that information available to you. Take Mercedes F1 for example. Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg dominated the 2015 F1 season. On many occasions, the team made split-second decisions that showed incredible foresight and more than a hint of luck.

But this isn’t voodoo or magic. Tata Communications, part of the Indian conglomerate that owns British staples such as Jaguar Land Rover, British Steel and Tetley Tea, handle the data feed for Mercedes F1. 200 sensors embedded with Lewis Hamilton’s car collect 400GB of data during a race weekend. That data is transmitted in 0.3 seconds to a team of 200 engineers based at Mercedes F1 headquarters in the UK.

Mercedes made good decisions based on good data.

F1 aficionados are quick to point out that developments within the pinnacle of motorsport soon filter down to the vehicles that we drive around in on a daily basis. Volvo certainly can’t claim to change all four tyres in 2.8 seconds at your next service, but their connected car technology contributes to them being able to call you in for a pit stop!

With an array of diagnostic information held on the vehicle’s ECU and communication network, Volvo engineers and service technicians can advise of and provide preventative maintenance rather than the more costly reactive repairs.

Telematics has saved, and made, a lot of money within its primary industry by collecting the low hanging fruits. However the application of outside the box thinking can begin to solve problems in ways that would never have been considered viable in previous years.

A recent Volvo study found that 60% of people experienced problems with deliveries and collections of online shopping in the last year. These failed first-time deliveries cost the industry an estimated €1 Billion in re-delivery costs.

The solution developed by Volvo is to turn the car into a delivery pick up and drop off zone. Digital keys can be issues to delivery drivers while the owner can also control the locking, heating and cooling of the vehicle from their phone. Once the delivery has been made, the digital key ceases to exist and the items are safely locked in the car.

In part 2 of this blog we will look at how SME’s can apply telematics to their business and reap the benefits without the requirement for a dedicated team of F1 engineers or fleet managers.

/Chris Miller