GPS vs. Telematics: How Do They Compare?


You are probably familiar with the average GPS device; maybe it’s a Garmin, a Navman or even a smartphone running something like Google Maps. You have a rough idea how it works — it navigates you to your destination with helpful, turn-by-turn directions from your current location. Easy, right?

But maybe a friend has mentioned that your business could benefit from telematics. Telewhat? What is telematics, and is it related to the GPS unit you currently use?

Your friend is right — telematics could help your business. It has helped lots of fleets save on fuel, maintenance and compliance costs while improving efficiency and productivity. It can also provide reliable navigation for your drivers.

Telematics can mean a lot of different things but as it applies to fleets it involves using data or information collected from a network or group of connected vehicles.

Essentially, telematics can transform your fleet from a bunch of disparate, separate vehicles into a cohesive, organized fleet working together toward common goals.

Telematics and GPS — What's the connection?

So what do telematics and GPS have to do with each other? They are not competing systems; rather, GPS is used as part of a telematics solution.

A GPS receiver (normally a “black box” hidden under the dashboard) collects real-time data about the current location and status of the vehicle. A telematics solution takes that data and sends it via the cellular network to central computers. From there, the data can be processed, converted into usable information and accessed from any computer connected to the Internet.

GPS is at the heart of the telematics system, collecting key data such as asset operation, location, engine status — in fact, just about any vehicle metric can be monitored by a GPS unit connected to the vehicle's electronics.

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Telematics highlights the potential of GPS and how it can be used to improve business efficiency, particularly in modern fleets.

Navigation from telematics - using GPS

GPS is commonly used to navigate drivers efficiently to their destination. A Verizon Connect telematics solution can include a fully featured navigation solution that has been specifically designed for commercial drivers. It features a number of benefits not generally available with consumer GPS (free) solutions.

  • Truck-legal routes based on vehicle weight and load.
  • Feedback from 150,000+ other professional drivers on the latest road conditions.
  • Realistic previews of upcoming route to assist with lane changes or complex maneuvers.
  • Last-mile routing that can take you right to the loading dock, not just a street address.

Verizon Connect Navigation is available on both Apple and Android devices.

Why get a telematics solution?

The existence of this network of connected vehicles with GPS receivers means fleet managers no longer have to run their business largely in the dark — they know where all vehicles are and what they're doing. A few benefits gained by fleets using telematics include:

  • Fuel economy increased by 18%
  • Economical driving improved by 15%
  • Harsh braking incidents decreased 77%
  • Engine idle time down 64%
  • Driving hours (windshield time) decreased 24%

GPS fleet data makes managers more aware of what's happening, what's costing them and how they can work more efficiently. Operating a fleet without telematics is a bit like trying to drive the speed limit without having a speedometer; without a clear gauge, you never know how fast you're going in relation to the posted speed limit.

Fleet performance is much the same. If you're trying to reduce fleet costs but you have no idea what you're actually spending money on, then at best you'll be taking a shotgun approach to cutting costs. A GPS telematics system can give you a clear dashboard of everything from miles driven to excessive idling.

In fact, you'll find (just like a lot of other fleet managers have already) that a good telematics solution can provide a positive return on the initial investment. Maybe it's time you took advantage of the potential GPS can offer your fleet by installing a telematics solution.

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