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'Green Telematics' Use to Grow

Providing solutions for fleet sustainability efforts, the “green” telematics market is expected to expand nine-fold by 2015. Most valuable to fleets is the wireless communication of fuel consumption and emissions data.

May 2010, by Cindy Brauer - Also by this author

Green fleet management is going wireless. Offering simple solutions for sustainability-targeted fleets, the "green" telematics market is expected to experience a nine-fold growth increase in the next five years, according to recent industry analysis.

A report by Frost & Sullivan released in February estimates European and North American fleet green telematics markets will likely rise from $80 million in 2008 to $700 million by 2015. Measuring a compound annual growth rate of 36 percent from 2008 to 2015, the expected market expansion is due primarily to "heightened pressure on fleet companies to reduce their carbon footprints and develop greener images," said Frost & Sullivan, a global consulting and market research and technology analysis firm.

The firm's analysis noted, "Fleet companies and consumers alike are increasingly warming to the service since a fuel cost reduction of 10 percent and an equal measure of CO2 reduction are possible through green telematics services offered as a dedicated product or an add-on service."

Frost & Sullivan reported fleet operators are becoming more aware of the benefits of green telematics; however, that recognition "has yet to reach levels necessary to facilitate wider adoption." Encouraging navigation manufacturers, insurance companies, telematics vendors, and fleet companies to raise awareness about green telematics systems, the Frost & Sullivan report recommends focusing "on it being a cost-effective and fuel-efficient method to decrease emissions."

Tracking & Monitoring Data

As the technology advances, its essential importance as a fleet "greening" tool becomes more significant. Whether cell phone-based or an in-vehicle unit, telematics' greatest value is the wireless transmission of data and information.

Most relevant to company and fleet sustainability programs is information that helps analyze fuel consumption and vehicle emissions - data that tracks and monitors driver behavior and vehicle location, performance, and maintenance.

A growing variety of green telematics packages are available through fleet management companies or as standalone services. Many offer real-time data reporting directly to a fleet manager's desk computer or smart phone. The efficiencies created and cost savings realized have provided positive returns on investment for many fleets, large and small.
Telematics-provided data also is essential in creating the green fleet program benchmarks so critical to successful sustainability efforts.

Baseline data establishes a measure by which progress can be evaluated.
Companies using telematics to green their fleets include Frito-Lay, Walmart, SC Johnson, Verizon, UPS, FedEx, and such vocational fleets as utilities, plumbers, landscapers, service business, etc.

Delivering Green Benefits

Today's telematics helps fleets pinpoint and deliver eco-important benefits in a variety of areas:

● Driver behavior. Nearly every "green-related" driver action can be tracked, including fuel consumption, speed, "jackrabbit" stops and starts, mileage, excessive idling, etc.
● Vehicle/engine diagnostics. In-unit devices monitor vehicle performance and status, electronically alerting fleet managers of problems that can lead to reduced fuel efficiencies or greater emissions levels. Telematics-provided diagnostic codes can be analyzed to help identify greener-running vehicles in terms of actual mileage and maintenance issues to improve future vehicle selection.
● Vehicle maintenance. A properly maintained vehicle helps ensure fuel-efficient operation. Fleet manager alerts, based on vehicle engine and component status, monitor compliance with fleet preventive maintenance policies.
● Route optimization. Telematics mapping features plot the most efficient route from one stop to another, to reduce fuel-consuming mileage.
● Vehicle location. Real-time vehicle location mapping provides flexibility in efficiently dispatching vehicles.
● Reduce unauthorized use. Non-business-approved vehicle use contributes unnecessary fuel-consuming and emissions-producing mileage to fleet operations.
● Cargo delivery system enhancements. Technologies such as radio frequency identification (RFID) help assure expedient deliveries and cargo management, promoting fuel-efficient delivery routes. 

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