The Internet of Things (IoT) is changing everything – from our homes, to our communities, and of course the way we conduct business.

Now, even trucking is a connected business, thanks to telematics technology. Telematics is a technology that allows data captured while driving to be processed and transmitted over long-distances.

Insurers are already using telematics to create B2C car insurance policies. Dubbed ‘black box’ policies, these telematics-facilitated policies are popular among young drivers who often pay a premium based on their demographic. With a black box policy, young drivers agree to have a number of driving elements recorded, including braking, cornering, mileage, locations, time of day, speeds, and more. This data delivers a score and, in turn, a personal policy.

The technology’s application is relevant and extremely useful to the logistics sector, specifically road transport. According to telematics.com, “Telematics is invaluable to the logistics industry because of its ability to collect information on a vehicle’s route, fuel level, location, amount of engine idling and delivery status.” It also reports, “Telematics can help fleet managers monitor their drivers’ safety and manage emergency situations. This technology can also allow you to take proactive measures to protect goods and drivers.”

In recent years, telematics has proven to improve working conditions and business efficiencies for the trucking sector. The technology has also been applied to better-manage fleet owners’ reporting for International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) compliance in the US and beyond.

Prevalence of trucking telematics is on the rise. In a 2018 survey by teletrac Navman, 77% of fleet managers reported using telematics for vehicle tracking. Currently, these business leaders use the technology to monitor the movement and status of vehicles, gaining an overview of fleets in realtime, like never before. This comprehensive view allows for better management of warehousing and logistics.

This evolution is, in part, thanks to the ELD Mandate (electronic logging device mandate) in the US. The technology’s uptake has been driven by the recent compliance deadline (passed at the end of 2017) and another, which looms at the end of 2019.

These types of government-driven industry-wide policies are helping to drive efficiencies in the simplest of ways – for both organisations and drivers. Samsung reports that the industry spends 51 million hours annually reviewing and storing records that will now be electronic. It’s a huge shift. Add to that the 110 hours each year individual drivers previously spent keeping a logbook, and industry efficiencies are very clear.

Looking to the future, truck telematics systems could evolve to be even smarter. One way fleet managers are hoping to apply the technology is though contextual utilisation. This application means that vehicles would be serviced only when necessary (indicated from data), rather than in a scheduled service. This is another way fleets can reduce costs.

Bosch presented its vision for the future of freight at the 67th IAA Commercial Vehicles in Hannover earlier in 2018. According to Bosch, tomorrow’s freight traffic will be accident-free, stress-free, and emissions-free. The technology supplier launched a range of products and services including cloud-based connectivity platform that connects fleets of vehicles for predictive diagnostics and even over-the-air software updates.

Bosch’s Transport Data Logger, a small box with integrated sensors, monitors the transport of sensitive goods and measures temperature, humidity, tilt, and shock events during transport. This service has the potential to provide immense value for cargo owners. It is connected to a smartphone app that alerts freight managers about breaches to consignments and damaged goods, identifying where in the supply chain responsibility will lie.