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Posted by Praful Pasarkar

Welcome to the ins and outs of the humble telematics box. It’s a clever little gadget. And it’s helping service businesses slash the cost of fleet management and fuel use. But how does a telematics box work? Are there any risks? And could it help your business?

image of a van with a fleet management system driving

What is a telematics box?

You’ve heard about the benefits of fleet tracking technology. But to track your vehicles you need to fit them with a small piece of hardware called a telematics box (you may have heard it called a black box). It’s about the size of a cigarette packet and is usually placed behind the dashboard. (Don’t worry, your drivers won’t be able to see it.)

>> 3 of the biggest benefits of telematics technology

How do telematics boxes work?

Telematics boxes utilise telecommunication technology to locate, track and monitor vehicles. The information gathered by the telematics box is transferred via mobile internet to a secure server in the cloud that you can login to via your web browser. Some telematics systems also allow you to send data to your vehicles – such as new dispatch information, safety warnings or live traffic updates. Whenever the engine is running, your telematics box will be too.

Is it the same as black box car insurance?

Yes and no. The telematics boxes dished out by car insurers are similar. But the technology used in fleet management telematics boxes is far more powerful, sophisticated and robust – and capable of gathering more information on vehicle location and driver performance.

What information does it capture?

That depends on who has provided your telematics box. But most capture speed, mileage, location and fuel data as a minimum – with varying degrees of accuracy. As for Movolytics, our telematics box enables you to track fuel spendlocate drivers in real-time and monitor driver performance against 150 driving criteria to correct inefficient driving habits in real-time.

Are all telematics boxes the same?

Nope. In fact they vary a lot in quality, cost and accuracy, which doesn’t make life easy when you are trying to choose a telematics provider.
One variable that can be particularly, well, variable between providers is the accuracy of fuel data. Why you ask? Most fleet telematics systems measure speed and mileage through GPS. This works by taking readings at separate data points and then calculating average speed and distance to estimate fuel consumption. Alarm bells! That means your reports are based on estimates, rather than true readings. And if you lose GPS signal in remote areas, your reporting is skewed even further.

Movolytics’ fuel tracking is the most advanced on the market. We take crucial data on fuel use straight from the engine. And all of your numbers are backed up instantly within the telematics box to prevent data loss. No GPS, no problem.

>> 5 questions to ask before committing to telematics

How are telematics boxes installed?

Telematics boxes are installed by trained engineers. Installation time varies but should take no longer than one hour per vehicle.

Will installing telematics boxes disrupt your business?

When your revenue depends on having vehicles on the road, you may be worried about disruption to your business if you are considering installing telematics boxes. Different providers have different ways of doing things, but you may indeed need to take your vehicles off the road temporarily.
Here at Movolytics we know that disruption is annoying. That’s why we work around our customers’ schedules – installing the system at a time and place of your choosing and staggering the installations to make sure you always have wheels on the road when it matters. Oh and installation and testing is completed free of charge.

>> What makes Movolytics different?

Are there any risks with telematics boxes?

In most cases, once your telematics box has been installed, you won’t even know it’s there. However, low-quality products or a bad installation can cause systems to function incorrectly or interfere with vehicle electronics, resulting in dodgy data and vehicles being off the road for longer. Movolytics’ telematics box has completed rigorous testing and comes with a seal of approval from the Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA).

What next?

Want to know more about telematics? You need our eBook! It will give you a brief introduction to telematics and explain how it can reduce the costs of fleet management for any business that has vehicles on the road. It’s short, it’s waffle-free and you can download it for nothing.

praful's picture
Praful Pasarkar

I am the first person to join Movolytics. I spend my time ensuring that my team delivers a much loved product which is clean, clear and concise using the latest technologies available in the IoT industry. I listen to our customers, who inform us of any needs for new features that we should add in to our product. When I am not working, I enjoy spending time with family & friends and coach Under 11 cricket team in Yateley Cricket Club.