OEM or After-Market: Which telematics solution is best for your fleet?

Lexi SackettSeptember 9, 2022

In an age where vehicles are smarter and more interconnected than ever, fleet managers are able to leverage their data systems to improve fleet efficiency and performance. Before the creation of telematics systems, many fleet managers might have questioned the importance of having data-collecting technology in their vehicles. But decades later, data has become a critical element of effective fleet management strategies.


While there are several different data sources that a manager might work with on a regular basis, telematics is one essential management tool for many commercial and government fleets. The tool provides current information and alerts regarding:


    • Real-time vehicle location and routes
    • Vehicle speed, harsh acceleration and braking
    • Fuel consumption and idling
    • Engine and battery health/diagnostics


Whether your chosen solution comes already embedded from the manufacturer or is added aftermarket to your vehicles, telematics helps managers to monitor and understand their fleet assets. However, is there a difference between the two options?


Let’s take a closer look at each.



Hardware Telematics


Historically, fleets who have wanted to integrate telematics have used third-party, hardware telematics. This aftermarket solution has been around for decades and today it is appealing to managers who don’t plan on replacing their vehicles soon but want to add the technology into their existing fleet.


In this case, a small telematics device is set up within the vehicle cab and plugged into the OBD2 or CAN bus port. Once installed, all vehicles, regardless of make or model, become connected. The device automatically collects information and streams it to a third-party platform for managers to access remotely.


There are a few downsides of opting for an aftermarket solution, however. Coordinating the device installation for hundreds or thousands of vehicles can result in excessive downtime and delays. Even a few hours out of service for each vehicle can result in substantial profit loss and inefficiency for an organization. Additionally, not all telematics technologies are brand-agnostic, meaning that they wouldn’t work with all your vehicles regardless of their manufacturer.



OEM telematics


Alternatively, fleets that are phasing out older assets can consider acquiring vehicles with telematics already installed. Major manufacturers, such as Ford and BMW, are beginning to offer vehicles with factory-embedded telematics. This means no vehicle downtime at all as vehicles are connected and ready-to-go right off the lot.


With the software being designed by the vehicle manufacturer, OEM telematics can also offer a deeper, more dynamic view into fleet data. Managers gain access to more vehicle-specific information, whereas a third-party software might not have the same capability.


Still, the newer technology has both pros and cons. For mixed fleets, OEM telematics can seem unfeasible. Managers would receive data across multiple platforms coming both from their OEM and aftermarket telematics systems. This might be counterproductive for a manager looking to unify their fleet assets and data in one place.



The bottom line


Ultimately, whichever telematics solution works best for your fleet will collect invaluable data and insights from your day-to-day operations. From productivity to sustainability to safety, telematics gives you a look at what’s going on in your fleet at all times. Understanding key metrics in these areas and more is essential for effective fleet management.


For managers looking to leverage this data even further, Utilimarc’s Business Intelligence platform integrates telematics (regardless of type) with all other data sources in one unified space. This crossover of sources makes for even richer data insights and a more comprehensive understanding your fleet performance.





If you’re interested in learning more about how Utilimarc works with telematics data, schedule a demo of the Utilimarc platform with a member of our analytics team.

Lexi Sackett

Business Intelligence Manager

Lexi Sackett is a business intelligence manager at Utilimarc. She has grown with Utilimarc for the last five years – working closely with clients and specializing in telematics data analysis. See more from Lexi

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