Nick Walker's blog: 22 December - 2016 - The year of the connected car
22 December 2015
Nick Walker is managing director of RAC Telematics
Telematics, artificial intelligence, the 'Internet of Things' - these are all concepts that until a few years ago were only common knowledge within their specific fields.
In the past year we've seen a shift in market acceptance of telematics software, with the perception of the little black box significantly changing. This has meant that the benefits of telematics have come to the forefront with the motoring, insurance and HR sectors all sitting up and taking notice.
The reality is that technology that was initially created as a tracking system for the armed forces has exceeded all expectations. Professor Eric Sampson at Newcastle University predicted in the Transport Committee's Future of Motoring Report that by 2050 insurance companies will require all vehicles to be equipped with an in-vehicle black box.
The House of Commons Transport Committee was tasked in March 2015 with investigating how telematics can be used more widely, with the Future of Motoring report outlining the potential impact that the technology could have. One such area was reducing accidents. With the technology identifying road infrastructure weaknesses, particularly damaged stretches of road, the Government would be able to recognise where investment is needed.
We've also seen a rise in support for telematics from the HR sector, who are often responsible within larger businesses for managing fleets. Telematics can support their duty of care obligations by keeping records for regulatory purposes in a central, easy-to-reach place.
The online portal enables businesses to prove they are meeting their obligations in the case of an accident. Telematics software can also support employers by identifying the length lone workers are on site, showing working hours, highlighting excessive speeding and vehicle health, and providing alerts in the case of an accident.
But as we reach the end of 2015, we've now seen a shift in thinking from the insurance sector, with huge potential for telematics to revolutionise traditional usage-based insurance (UBI). Up until now UBI has been mostly used by the young driver market. However, with the rise of telematics technology, it could be applied for company cars so that it has capabilities beyond the young driver market and provide greater business benefits.
As we look forward to 2016, we can expect telematics to continue to develop and introduce further benefits such as data showing vehicle diagnostics and vehicle health. At RAC Telematics we see the technology underpinning fleet managers and company car drivers' entire motoring world by connecting up all services.
With this in mind, we're in the early stages of developing an app to support telematics software by managing all driver and fleet manager information and needs, whilst also providing alerts to ensure fleet managers and business car drivers stay on top of vehicle management.
In this era of technological innovation, we can definitively say that telematics is no longer a new concept and the connected car is no longer a mere possibility.