What Does a Telematics Device Do?

Telematics, the combination of informatics and telecommunications, is revolutionizing the way construction companies manage their fleets. This technology has become integral to managing the performance and location of fleet vehicles, providing valuable insights, enhancing safety measures, and optimizing fleets. 

Let’s explore what a telematics device is, how it works, and its benefits. 

What is a telematics device?

A telematics device collects and analyzes data related to a fleet vehicle. Upon tracking, it is used to transmit data to a centralized system where the information is used to enhance day-to-day operations, prioritize safety measures, enhance routes, monitor operator performance, and inform future decision-making. 

Devices are installed in machines, vehicles, and other construction equipment. The devices use Global Positioning Systems (GPS) and onboard diagnostics to collect real-time data on vehicle location, speed, engine performance, and other metrics important to a fleet manager’s daily operations.  

It is recommended that a professional install this device to ensure correct operation. These devices serve a larger organizational purpose and have a variety of sensors and communication technologies that enable them to transmit data across large areas and sites. How is telematics used in vehicles? We’ll discuss this in the next section. 

How does a telematics device work?

Telematics devices work using software, hardware, and communication technologies. Let’s discuss how telematics is used in vehicles and what the main components are.


These devices are equipped with many sensors including GPS, accelerometers, receivers, and more. Sensors help collect data from the vehicle’s or machine’s location, performance, and driver behavior. This data is collected and analyzed to make better decisions about day-to-day operations and inform future decisions

Onboard Diagnostics Port

This port can be used as a direct connection from the vehicle to the telematics device, which allows access to the fleet’s internal systems and data. 

External connectivity 

External connectivity ensures all data collected is sent directly to a secure cloud to be stored. Data is protected on one centralized platform for ease of access. With a secure device, data is initially only accessible by the fleet manager. However, businesses may wish to adjust access settings. 


The microcontroller is what collects data from the sensors and translates the data into real-time notifications and recommendations. 

Communication module 

Telematics systems often use wireless or satellite systems. These two facilitate data transmission from a longer distance. In some cases, the device may be connected by Bluetooth; however this is less common. 

Benefits of telematics devices 

Telematics devices have a wide range of offerings that apply to different members of a construction team. Let’s discuss a few of them: 

Vehicle diagnostics 

Thanks to telematics, fleet managers can access real-time notifications on each vehicle or piece of equipment in their fleet. This remote feature is responsible for transmitting data so that managers and business owners can know the location of their vehicles, manage maintenance, and enforce safety and regulatory measures. 

Enhanced safety 

Telematics devices are essential in prioritizing safety measures for the onsite operator and team. Real-time data supports site safety by ensuring the machine is up-to-date and the operator is following regulations. 

Many telematics devices can track usage time, speed, acceleration, and driver behavior. They can also check that all local, state, and federal regulations and provisions are being met. This helps protect individual workers and construction companies in the event of legal action.

Usage-based insurance 

Insurance can get expensive, especially for fleet-based businesses, like construction companies and rental depots. Telematics devices have eased the burden of insurance costs by enabling usage-based insurance. This means that rather than following a set of predetermined guidelines, insurers can rely on the data retrieved from the telematics device. Safe operators can enjoy lower premiums, allowing companies to reallocate their money where they need it most. 

Vehicle tracking

Not only does vehicle tracking enable fleet managers to make decisions about future routes and performance, but it is also a theft-preventative measure, heavily promoting the chances of recovery. Plus, in the case of an emergency, law enforcement can get to the bottom of the case with real data on their hands. 

Fleet management 

A telematics device changes the game — it provides the fleet manager with a centralized platform to track all vehicles and equipment. It removes barriers to information and communication and allows teammates to freely communicate. 


The ability to manage fuel and idle time makes it easier for construction companies to follow through on sustainability and green energy goals. Preventative maintenance ensures that fleets operate at the best possible performance, reducing unnecessary fuel consumption and pollution. 

Potential challenges with telematics devices 

When considering whether or not to implement telematics software in your business, it’s important to also consider impacts it may have on your company.


While telematics devices are designed to be highly secure, some employees or clientele may fear being monitored by devices. While telematics does monitor equipment and vehicles it is tracking the vehicle not the operator themselves. With a secure data-encrypted system, staff and customers can rest assured that information is secure and inaccessible to the public. 


Like any new system, the implementation of telematics software will also require training and time to install and integrate. This is typical for any new software and shouldn’t come as a surprise. While training can take away from some day-to-day work, the system is designed to streamline opportunities so the initial investment will outweigh the cost.

Final thoughts 

Telematics devices are bringing a highly manual industry to the digital age. With a wide range of benefits, it only makes sense for construction companies to explore their fleet management options to increase productivity and lower operational costs. 

Businesses should conduct their research on whether a telematics system is right for their company. 

Vivek is a published author of Meidilight and a cofounder of Zestful Outreach Agency. He is passionate about helping webmaster to rank their keywords through good-quality website backlinks. In his spare time, he loves to swim and cycle. You can find him on Twitter and Linkedin.