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GM, Telogis Ramping Up Factory Telematics Offering

October 15, 2015, by Paul Clinton - Also by this author

Photo courtesy of Telogis.
Photo courtesy of Telogis.

Commercial fleets have increasingly been opting for the factory-installed Telogis Fleet solution when purchasing General Motors vehicles, especially Chevrolet Silverado trucks, which will enter the 2016 model year with additional connectivity, the telematics vendor told Automotive-Fleet.com.

Telogis and General Motors have been offering fleets installed telematics hardware at the point of purchase since July of 2014. Telogis has signed similar agreements with Ford, Hino, Isuzu, Mack Trucks, Manitowoc Cranes, and Volvo's Class 8 truck division. The factory solution already makes up about 20% of Telogis' business. 

Telogis' fleet customers, who replace about 15% of their vehicles per year, have been opting primarily for factory-installed telematics to reduce downtime when vehicles must be sent to upfitters to add telematics hardware or install it aftermarket, said Jason Koch, co-founder, president, Telogis Fleet and OEM. With a factory offering, fleet managers activate their vehicles on the Telogis website by registering the VIN. The factory warranty remains unaffected.

"At the end of the day they're going to get a much easier way to connect their assets," Koch said. "One of the draws for them is having no touch. They don't need to install the hardware. All they have to do is light it up."

Koch
Koch

Factory telematics has grown in popularity across fleet sizes and has found a niche especially with construction companies, electric and gas utilities, logistics and LTL, pharmaceutical sales, and health-care providers.

Several of the nation's largest utilities are considering adoption. Pason Systems Corp., which provides data to the oil and gas industry, started using Telogis Fleet earlier this year on nearly all of its 250 GM vehicles.

Telogis' telematics solution provides vehicle data, including location, idling, engine status, maintenance scheduling, and driver behavior. Fleet managers can gain remote access to start the engine, lock/unlock doors, and activate the horn and lights.

"Telogis Fleet allows subscribers to receive real-time location and status of all assets on one dashboard," said Robert Wheeler, communications manager with GM Fleet and Commercial.

The 2015 model year marked a new generation for OnStar, a telematics service GM has been offering for nearly two decades. GM upgraded OnStar to include onboard Wi-Fi and a 4G LTE connectivity. For 2016, GM upgraded its infotainment system to include larger displays, the Apple CarPlay interface, and Android Auto later in the model year. Telogis has been working on a plan to integrate Apple's automotive interface with its software products.

The wireless and cellular capabilities of GM vehicles allow over-the-air data to flow into the hands of fleet managers with greater immediacy.

"GM is improving and evolving the connectivity in the vehicle, and when they do that the data gets better," said Koch. "Telogis is able to leverage that. Whatever improvements they make in connectivity, we can pass that on to our commercial clients."

Fleets using Telogis Fleet can upgrade to include higher-bandwidth data plans that allow mobile workers to connect tablets to the vehicles and use mobile apps from Telogis that give driving scores, log personal versus work mileage, and provide an ETA to a customer for a delivery.

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