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How Vehicle Telematics Can Benefit Fleet Management, Tech Tips Included

As maintaining a fleet gets more expensive over time, its owners need to tweak their management systems to achieve efficiency

August 07, 2019

6 mins read

Achieving efficiency in costs, resource management, and planning are significant problems businesses running large fleets of vehicles face. In a recent survey, when asked what their biggest challenge was, 66% of fleet managers from over a thousand companies across the EU and the USA reported fuel and vehicle management. It was a tough challenge for them to deal with fuel consumption and reduce costs. 

The situation repeated even when electric cars came into play. But you can only change what you follow and monitor. Implementing vehicle telematics could be one way to benefit fleet management and encourage intelligent business decisions. 

The role of vehicle telematics in fleet management

How often thoughts like “Have I closed my car?” piled in your head and made you return to your car to check the door? New wireless vehicular technologies already allow you to store this information on your phone. In case anything by chance was forgotten, it’s possible to check and fix it from your smartphone quickly. This case is just a modest part of the functionality under the telematics umbrella.

Unquestionably, progress in automotive systems is useful for single drivers and even more promising for fleet owners. The more cars you have, the more time and effort you put into controlling and maintaining them. But modern solutions have got you covered. Car apps with smart data visualization enable fleet managers to see the information about a fleet of cars together. This data includes the number of vehicles in use, their location, all the trips made or planned, and even fuel levels. 

How Vehicle Telematics Can Benefit Fleet Management, Tech Tips Included

Source: Zoom Sales Force Automation

Efficient resource management

The above information opens up the possibilities for fleet managers to manage resources more reasonably and sustainably. Some cases will check if you exploit all the resources, if there are enough cars, or if you spend enough money on leasing and maintenance. One can save costs by combining two trips into one or by replacing two small vehicles with a big one – the opportunities are endless. Proven by research, using fleet telematics that improves driver behavior can save fuel consumption by 15%. Considering a large fleet of cars, that’s a significant sum of money. 

Dynamic route optimization

Also, it is much easier to plan a route rationally. Not in all cases, shorter road length means a smaller amount of fuel. Sometimes, traffic lights and turns make the short road much longer. Built-in analytics helps users choose the best route and spend less fuel and time when on track. 

The same route may take a different amount of time, mainly depending on traffic jams. For example, in the morning, the road to town is predictably always busy, because people commute to work, but the way from town is usually free. In the evening, the opposite situation takes place: Everyone is returning home. Useful fleet analytics can help fleet managers choose the most effective time for the trips. Furthermore, it can analyze information from previous trips and suggest what vehicle is the best to use at this point. 

Vehicle schedule arrangement

The trip by electric vehicle is cheaper than a trip by a patrol car. So it’s more sensible to use electric cars for 100% of the time and replace patrol cars with electric whenever it’s possible. However, charging time needs to be included when planning a vehicle schedule to ensure that batteries are not flat. It is not the easiest thing, but intelligent vehicle technologies do all the hard work for you and put forward the best option to manage a car. 

Prevention of emergency situations

Wireless vehicle safety communications prevent emergencies like vehicle stealing. If someone tries to break into one of the fleet cars, managers immediately receive a notification about it on their devices. Plus, fleet managers will get an alert if a vehicle goes in some unplanned trip or a different direction.

Learn more about how SignalR can improve data transmission between a car, a server, and a smartphone in the section below. 

The case for proper data visualization in fleet management systems

How Vehicle Telematics Can Benefit Fleet Management, Tech Tips Included

All those great features sound amazing, don’t they? Easy to say, hard to do. To implement these features to manage fleets efficiently, you’ll need expert advice on technologies that work best. Here are some thoughts on which architectures are recommended to apply when visualizing data in the development of an emergency warning system for vehicles. 

Read more: Learn how we’re helping one of the world’s leading automotive manufacturers introduce IoT breakthroughs to the fleet management industry

Architecture: MVVM + RxSwift     

In MVVM, ViewController is View, and there is no connection between Model and View. ViewModel is the center of business logic; it takes all the necessary data from Model, converts, and binds it to View.

RxSwift is the framework for reactive programming in Swift. To put it briefly, the Rx version for Swift. The main class of this framework is Observable< Type>. It is a wrapper for an object type that can emit three types of objects. 

  • Error ( let error: Error )
  • Next ( let element: Type)
  • Completed

You can subscribe to these change types. After emitting Error or Completed, the subscription will terminate. Also, you can end the subscription calling .dispose() function or by adding the subscription to DisposeBag and deleting it.

Before we jump to an example, it’s essential to mention a necessary part of RxSwift: operators. In general, operators perform some actions with Observable. There are four main groups of operators: filtering, transforming, combining, and time-based operators. Their names speak for themselves. 

  • Filtering operators filter emitted objects. You can filter by using the values of elements or by using their position between other issued items. 
  • Transforming operators transform emitted objects and return new elements that could have a different type, and even can be different observables. 
  • Combining operators take elements of two or more Observable and combine in one observable in different ways. 
  • Time-based operators allow you to deal with time and the way that sequences react and transform over time.
  1. We init ViewModel with vehicleProviderProtocol, which is “Model” in our case. It provides vehicle models, which had suspicious activities.
  2. vehicleTheftText emits titles for the label. So it returns vehicleProvider.vehicleModel observable, but transform operator.
  3. map – is a simple transform operator. In this case, it turns the element of VehicleModel Type into String type. It takes the vehicle’s name and insert it into alert text and returns it.

MVVM + RxSwift is an excellent choice. The main advantages of this method are:

  • a comparatively smaller amount of code:
  • significantly fewer bugs;
  • solution for “Massive” view controller;
  • division of business logic from the UI for easier testing.

However, there are two drawbacks of using MVVM + RxSwift architecture. First, on small projects, it is more time-consuming, but fleet management apps are usually not so small whatsoever. Second, it is more difficult to debug in comparison with a simple MVC. But because the pros outweigh the cons, this architecture is still our favorite to solve this kind of problem.

SignalR

With SignalR, the server can send data to client applications – without them asking to do so – as soon as the information appears on the server. SignalR automatically performs connection management and allows sending broadcast messages to all connected clients at the same time. You can also send messages to specific clients. The connection between the client and the server is constant, so unlike the classic link, HTTP will be restored for each contact. For example, for all events that happened with cars, client apps get information with SignalR help. The door opens, the vehicle moves, the trip finishes. It is extremely ineffective for client apps to ask the server if any car was stolen every few minutes. Thus, it is more reasonable to enable the server to notify fleet managers about the emergency without asking them.

Read more: Learn how we’re helping the world’s top location expert build a comprehensive data visualization service for their open mapping platform

Key takeaways 

How Vehicle Telematics Can Benefit Fleet Management, Tech Tips Included

Vehicle telematics is a notable opportunity to optimize the company’s car fleet and address fleet managers’ concerns. Smart vehicle solutions lead to cost efficiency through optimized fuel consumption and increased productivity by tracking and controlling routes, processes, delivery times, expenses, and more. Investing in telematics eventually pays off as it prevents fraud. Moreover, managing the driving style of many cars, it’s possible to maintain ecological awareness and cut on CO2 emissions.


It makes no difference what size the fleet is, the positive effect is guaranteed. Taking into account the benefits that wireless communication systems can bring to fleet owners, you’d better start doing the code work. And the best time is now! Contact our experts for further assistance.

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