What Is the Difference Between GPS and Telematics?

This article was published on: 08/7/20 by the Robert Hall

If you’re familiar with modern technology, you may already be familiar with GPS and its usefulness for vehicles and mobile devices. Meanwhile, a less well-known term that’s starting to pick up traction in fleet companies is “telematics.” While telematics relates to GPS technology, the two terms can be challenging to differentiate if you’re unfamiliar with their processes and unique characteristics. Let’s take a look at GPS vs. telematics to find out how they compare and what their roles are in fleet industries.

GPS and Telematics: How They Relate

As you may already know, GPS is the use of satellite technology to track location and other pieces of data relevant to a vehicle or device. It can come in handy for drivers if they need help finding a destination while making a delivery or responding to a service request.

On the other hand, telematics is a type of solution that uses GPS and telecommunications technology to gather and report on a comprehensive set of data. Telematics systems often come with tracking devices that collect data on location, speed, acceleration, braking, idling and more. Then, it sends that data back to the user. Using telematics will allow you to monitor the status of a company vehicle from anywhere. Whether you’re in charge of two vehicles or 50, a reliable telematics solution can provide live, accurate information within seconds.

Telematics software will also provide readings on the vehicle itself, helping you speed up diagnostics and manage maintenance strategies more effectively, and keeping track of fuel usage and odometer readings that could warn you when repairs are needed.

What Does Navigation From Telematics Mean?

At a telematics system’s core is a tracking device with a built-in GPS receiver that compiles data about a vehicle’s location and status in real time. Telematics software takes the GPS data and transmits it through a cellular network to the main servers. At that point, the servers process and convert the data to usable information visible to fleet managers.

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This data provides accurate accounts of your vehicle’s location at any given point in time. It can identify driver behaviors that lead to operating inefficiencies and increased costs, like sudden stops, speeding and quick acceleration. Secondary data like fuel consumption, engine diagnostics and odometer readings can improve your fleet’s operation even more. 

Fleet managers can access this data from smartphones, computers or other internet-enabled devices. They can also export this information into a document or spreadsheet to create company presentations. You can then evaluate this data to track patterns, establish trends and develop a plan of action. 

Unlike a GPS that provides information on a single driver in one vehicle, a telematics system gathers and stores data on all your fleet’s vehicles. This feature allows managers to see the big picture of an entire operation rather than just one driver. Still, it’s essential to understand that GPS and telematics work together and do not compete with each other.

If you implement a telematics system that’s Smart Tracking enabled, you can receive specific notifications whenever your drivers meet certain parameters. These features prevent you from becoming overwhelmed with information that might be irrelevant to your fleet. Systems like these allow you to customize settings to show results that matter most to you, like when your vehicle reaches a standstill or if there’s a problem in the engine.

How GPS and Telematics Solutions Enhance Businesses

A telematics system combined with GPS enables you to manage your vehicle fleet with an eye on increasing profitability. Together, GPS and telematics can:

  • Guide drivers to their destinations: Combined with telematics software, GPS mapping provides the most accurate traffic updates in real time, allowing you to guide your drivers on the most efficient routes.
  • Help drivers and fleet managers communicate: Keeping track of your vehicles can be challenging when your company has many of them on the road. Telematics systems allow fleet managers to communicate with their drivers during operation. This connection means your fleet can be more flexible by changing routes and updating schedules on the fly when circumstances change. 
  • Simplify routing and rerouting: By using live status updates and previous map-tracking data, managers can pre-plan their fleet operations to identify optimal routes. Satellite mapping also allows you to view the terrain and alert your drivers to extreme elevations, steep inclines, adverse weather and other potential hazards.
  • Provide accurate reporting: Telematics software provides a comprehensive range of reporting features to help you make informed decisions while managing your fleet. You can access these reports in various formats and set up the system to email you in specific intervals.
  • Reduce costs: Telematics systems can help you put the most optimal operational practices into place by identifying inefficient driver behaviors and patterns that promote fuel waste. These systems also reduce the amount of paperwork your drivers need to complete, saving significant time associated with log reports and manual time cards. Telematics also improves fuel mileage, providing even more savings for your company.
  • Improve driver safety: Fleet managers can identify trends of risky driver behavior when analyzing the data a telematics system offers. These analytics enable a manager to provide driver training for improved performance or recognize exemplary work. In addition, managers know their drivers are in the best hands when telematics show the vehicles are mechanically sound. 
  • Establish good maintenance practices: Advanced telematics systems can keep track of your maintenance schedules for you, reminding you of routine services like oil changes and inspections. These systems can also connect directly to your vehicle’s computer to forecast maintenance needs and repairs before they become problems, maximizing uptime.
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While you can install GPS technology for any vehicle or fleet, it’s only by using various data collected from telematics solutions that you can make the most of what GPS has to offer. Paired with the communication benefits of telematics, GPS tracking will help you increase fleet performance and productivity. Along with enabling you to eliminate time-wasting behaviors, it will alert you when drivers are driving recklessly so that you can do what’s necessary to keep them in line.

Telematics takes all the benefits of GPS along with a variety of other convenient features and delivers them in a single solution. It’s an automated system that will allow you to do more in less time while decreasing the risk of accidents and liability claims. Having GPS and telematics on your side is an essential part of staying competitive in trucking and delivery businesses today.

Choosing the Right Telematics System for Your Company

While various companies claim to provide the most effective telematics solutions in the industry, it’s vital to choose a provider you can trust. Discuss your company goals and how you’d like to achieve them with your provider. Before making a purchasing commitment, you should find out the specific features, benefits and costs of your provider’s systems and how they apply to your business. 

Beware of any hidden or additional fees for features that have no benefit to your operation. 

Track Your Truck has over two decades of experience providing some of the industry’s most cost-effective, highest-quality tracking solutions. Our support staff puts the customer’s needs first before anything else. When you contact our team with a question, you’ll speak with a live representative qualified to assist you and provide the information you need.

Read Next:   What Is Telematics?

Request a Quote From Track Your Truck

At Track Your Truck, our GPS tracking and high-efficiency telematics solutions are tested and ready to go upon delivery. Start tracking your fleet today by investing in our navigation and tracking software, or contact us for a quote to learn more.