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Connected vehicle data to replace telematics for fleets, Epyx predicts

Date: 28 March 2022   |   Author: Sean Keywood

Connected vehicle technology will usurp the role of telematics for fleets during the next few years, according to fleet software firm Epyx.

It said the change would take place as connected data becomes more widely available in commercially viable formats.

It said connected data offered key advantages over telematics systems, including the fact that it is obtained directly from the vehicle, with no need for a black box or similar intermediary device to be fitted or carried.

Epyx commercial director Debbie Fox said: "Fleets have been promised the benefits of connected vehicle technology for many years now but bringing it to market in a commercially viable manner has proven difficult for a range of reasons. Now, this picture is rapidly changing.

"The three stumbling blocks have been the proportion of fleet cars and vans that can provide connected vehicle data, the cost of accessing it, and the means to present that information to fleets in a format that makes it genuinely productive.

"Today, we're in a situation where all of these issues are close to being resolved, we believe. Connected vehicle penetration within the fleet parc is already high and should represent the vast majority of vehicles by the middle of the decade."

Fox said that new ways of accessing the data from connected vehicles at reasonable cost were now becoming available, bringing it within the reach of most fleets.

She added: "Providing fleets with connected vehicle data in a format that is meaningful and creates a range of cost, service and efficiency benefits is something that is very much our area of expertise, and we actively working with partners to bring a product to market."

Matthew Waller, connected car director at Epyx's parent company Fleetcor, said that using data directly from OEM hardware unlocked many of the benefits of traditional telematics, while providing far greater flexibility, with less hassle.

He said: "Connected vehicle delivers the same kind of data as telematics but is effectively live and direct from each vehicle's own management systems. In our view, it is very much a successor product, offering information drawn straight from the source.

"A key benefit is that there is no need for vehicles to be fitted with external hardware - typically requiring expensive professional installation. Indeed, access to the data can be potentially arranged in moments. This also means that commercial arrangements are simpler, with no need for an upfront investment and much more flexible contract terms.

"Of course, legacy telematics options are unlikely to disappear overnight and the product plans we are examining include the ability to consolidate connected vehicle and telematics information side-by-side with both using our expertise in data presentation."

Fox said Epyx had held discussions with major leasing fleets about the variety of data that could be accessed from connected vehicles, and that real-time mileage information was always top of the list.

She said: "Mileage is a good example of how connected vehicle is an improvement over telematics. Generally, leasing fleets are only able to access a reading when service or maintenance work in undertaken but having a more regular figure would give them much better visibility over vehicle usage and costs, as well as reducing fraud. 

"Because connected vehicle can deliver this data to the fleet without the need for a black box, it can be accessed easily at any time as long as an agreement is in place with the end user.

"Over the next few months, we're looking to do more work on a potential product including real world trials examining a whole series of data points, ranging from GPS and odometer readings to warning lights triggered and driver behaviour. We believe there is huge potential for connected vehicle fleet products, so this is an exciting moment."