What Is Telematics? – Part 1

What is Telematics
As a shop owner, your livelihood depends on the performance of your shop. You provide great service, you get to know your customers, you treat them well, but you only know the health of a customer’s car when they come into your shop. What if you could get a notification the instant a problem occured with that customer’s car? This would allow you to reach out and provide the same level of service you give that customer when they are in your shop.

That is the power of telematics, you can see the health and status of a vehicle wherever it is.

The Evolution of Telematics
Telematics allow data about a vehicle to be sent back to a central location so that it can be processed into useful, actionable information. These systems started with the installation of GPS in 18-wheelers to track their location, speed, and stoppage time. As wireless cellular networks added the ability to send data, large fleets started sending vehicle data back to a central location so they could prevent downtime by making sure each truck was in proper operating condition.

Few Cars Have Embedded Telematics
This technology is now being incorporated into passenger cars, but a recent study by IHS Automotive Center of Automotive Management found only 3.1% of passenger cars on the road today have this capability built in from the factory.

Aftermarket Telematics
This is how aftermarket telematics companies started. By putting an aftermarket telematics device into passenger car, data from any car made since 1996 can be collected no matter where it is. From this data, vehicle problems can be identified and action can be taken to alert the driver and give them an option to get the problem repaired. This is important because when a driver has a problem, speed and convenience play a huge role in the repair decision. If your shop can be the first to offer a convenient solution to the driver, you have a much greater chance of winning their business.

More Relevant Maintenance Reminders
A great use case for telematics is to remind drivers when they need to perform routine maintenance. Knowing exactly what operating condition the vehicle is in allows your shop to send more timely and relevant maintenance reminders to bring customers back into your shop.

Predictive Part Failures
Telematics can even be used to diagnose problems with cars before they happen. Every part will fail at some point in the future. By collecting large amounts of data from various sensors already installed in cars and combining that with a large data set of vehicles, patterns can be found in these failures and the conditions surrounding the failure can be identified quickly and effectively. This can allow your shop to reach out to customers that may experience a failure in the near future and get them to take care of the problem before they are stranded on the side of the road.

Telematics presents a huge opportunity for car manufacturers and the automotive aftermarket alike.  Drivers will be able to use this information to better understand their cars, and car makers and service providers will be able to help drivers be more proactive in taking care of their vehicles.