<p><em>Photo courtesy of GettyImages.com/1971yes.</em></p>

One of the more powerful yet often-underutilized features of a robust telematics program is the ability to use all that data to feed a predictive analytics platform. The intended result is the ability to use existing data to forecast events such as collisions, parts failures, or mechanical breakdowns before they happen.

The key is marrying the precise location information provided by your telematics system with the data generated by the array of sensors built into modern vehicles.

Driver Behavior

The data doesn't lie. Your telematics record can paint a clear picture of each driver's individual habits, which in turn allows the organization to develop safety training that is individually tailored, rather than a blanket program that may or may not be relevant to each driver.

And while not every incident can always be avoided — there is a reason they are called "accidents" after all — by ensuring every driver is aware of their own habits and is taking steps to mitigate the risks, the fleet as a whole will see safety scores improve and the costs associated with collisions go down over time as they become less frequent and less severe.

Drivers aren't the only ones who benefit from a robust predictive analytics program based on telematics data, either. The vehicles themselves will benefit as well.

Early Warning Signs

You can usually tell when you are starting to push your body too far. You start to get twinges in your joints or pain in certain muscle groups. At that point, you may choose to stop exercising or push through and risk injury.

Your fleet vehicles are the same; they just don't have a way to tell you when something is off — until now.

Predictive analytics can create a similar warning system for vehicle health. If a stress fracture starts to change the way a sensor is reading a specific system, the system will notice, giving you the opportunity to schedule a service visit or take immediate action before a more serious breakdown occurs.

And it's not just catastrophic failures that predictive analytics can help mitigate. By monitoring tire pressure, for example, your system can warn you when gas mileage is starting to be affected, minimizing unnecessary fuel costs. It can also reduce the downtime (and frustration) associate with routine maintenance, always ensuring the right parts are on hand to repair the exact problem on each vehicle before the mechanic even gets it in the shop.

Predictive analytics is a way to take all the data your telematics system is already collecting and use it to take your fleet operations to the next level. It can improve every aspect of your fleet from driver safety to routine vehicle maintenance, and everything in between.