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Telematics is now mainstream

Futuristic graphical user interface concept.

Telematics is no longer a coming trend. It is here. It is mainstream. That is one of the key findings of the 2020 Arval Mobility Observatory Fleet Barometer, which draws an interesting picture of how fleet managers foresee their industry’s future.

For the 16th annual edition, Arval Mobility Observatory asked 5,600 fleet managers to forecast mobility trends. The interviews took place from January to mid-March 2020, so directly prior to the worst effects of the COVID-19 pandemic – not an issue, as the focus of the Barometer is, as always, on the middle and longer term. From 12 European countries last year, the scope was expanded to 20, this year also including the Nordics, Russia and Brazil, among others. 

“In general, companies have come to grips with how to implement telematics and use the data it produces to their advantage. That’s why we’re seeing a huge increase in its use. Indeed, one of the two mains reasons is improving operational efficiency for 35% of companies,” says Ms Yaël Bennathan, who heads the observatory. 

Differences in adoption rate

About 37% of all companies have implemented telematics, with no significant difference between car and LCV fleets. Size does matter, though: only 23% of the smallest companies use telematics, while 54% of the largest ones do.

 “The most frequently cited reasons not to use telematics on cars: companies aren’t sure they’ll see a return on investment, they don’t know whether the data will be useful, or they find the whole concept too intrusive for the driver,” Ms Bennathan explains. “For light commercial vehicles, one of the three main reasons not to is often that there aren’t enough resources available to develop the data.”

So it’s about time and money, but also about intrusiveness. In Germany, famously protective of personal privacy, the average penetration of telematics is well below the overall average (23%). On the other end of the scale, the most enthusiastic users are Brazil (58%), Russia (54%) and Turkey (53%), followed by Italy (49%) and Belgium (48%). 

Further acceleration

The crisis caused by the pandemic is not finished yet. The impact on GDP is and will be important. In some cases, companies may need to do major cost savings. This should lead to a further acceleration of the trends highlighted by the Barometer, including the increased use of telematics.

Indeed, telematics is an ideal instrument for monitoring and optimising the efficiency of the fleet. You can only improve what you measure.

Author: Frank Jacobs, Fleet Europe

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