What are OEM Telematics?

Gretchen ReeseAugust 2, 2021

With telematics being such a hot talking point in the automotive industry today, OEMs and after-market providers are competing to be the go-to solution. Fleets are constantly in need of higher quality data when it comes to GPS tracking, vehicle condition and other real-time statistics, and now there are more options on the market than ever before.

In addition to the variety of third-party providers who can integrate their software into any vehicle, many OEMs are starting to build vehicles that are ready to collect data as soon as they are driven off the lot. This is an important option for fleet managers to consider when evaluating their fleet’s needs. Whether supplied directly from an OEM or integrated later by an aftermarket provider, telematics offers invaluable insights to managers and are a worthwhile investment for any fleet.

What is telematics data?

Telematics software is a major asset for tracking fleets, monitoring driver behavior, vehicle health and much more. Managers can gain insights from real-time data collected directly from vehicles and gathered all on one platform. With all of this information easily accessible, managers can quickly identify problems, pinpoint areas for improvement or for waste reduction – ultimately drawing conclusions based on statistical evidence.

Some providers, like Geotab, offer the option of connecting entire fleets regardless of OEM, but with the benefit of maintaining access to OEM-specific vehicle information. By partnering with leading manufacturers like Ford, GM and Volvo, Geotab gives fleet managers the opportunity to collect data from the vehicle hardware and sensors that are already built in. For fleet managers, this means no vehicle downtime, as the telematics software is installed remotely and with no physical installation necessary. Additionally, this telematics technology can be integrated into both ICE vehicles and EVs, which can be extremely useful in unifying data analytics even in fleets that vary in make and model. 

Why are OEMs creating their own telematics devices?

With management decisions being so data-driven today, it is no surprise that most new vehicles are being built with telematics hardware already embedded. OEMs have recognized the need for timely, accurate data analytics and are competing with third party providers to fill this void.

While aftermarket options have been around for decades longer, the disadvantages of vehicle downtime and installation costs have been deterrent for managers who want a more time- and cost-effective solution. OEMs realize that many fleets might benefit from investing into telematics-ready vehicles from the start, and with more fleets making the switch the electric, fleet managers can easily kill two birds with one stone.

OEMs also have a leg-up in the market, in the sense that they can offer manufacturer-specific intel but can also offer their same technology applied to other makes of car for diverse fleets. Ford Telematics, for example, is offering its commercial telematics in their own vehicles, and as an add-on for non-Ford models. This way, fleets can still benefit from the unification of vehicle data all within one cloud and platform.

What are the benefits of OEM telematics over third party?

Investing into telematics can create a number of quantifiable benefits for a fleet, including improved efficiency, profitability and safety. Whether to look to OEMs or an aftermarket provider, however, can be subjective to your fleet’s needs. Depending on the fleet’s size, vehicle classes and makes of the vehicles, managers can consider the benefits of OEM providers against third party options.

No installation / downtime

Installing third party telematics hardware across a large fleet could take up to months, whereas activating factory-embedded OEM software could take only hours. For fleet managers who are looking for an immediate data solution, this is a no brainer. With most new vehicles already coming equipped with the necessary hardware, the “installation” process is simply a matter of activating the program remotely, over air. This means there is virtually no downtime for vehicles, and managers can begin retrieving information immediately.

Maximized breadth of data

Richer data is a major benefit of OEM-installed telematics hardware. As most manufacturers tend to limit the data that is available to third party providers, with OEM telematics this would not be the problem. Managers have access to a wider array of stats coming directly from the vehicle’s hardware and sensors. After all, telematics is supposed to help managers capture and analyze patterns of both driver and vehicle behavior. In this case, OEM telematics help paint a fuller picture for managers to work with.

Smarter maintenance

Working directly with your OEM of choice also means smarter vehicle maintenance. Manufacturers can provide customers with maintenance information specific to their vehicle models and analyze real-time data to check for servicing needs. Many OEMs even have dedicated apps for customers access to all fleet data in place, and for easy scheduling of maintenance directly from the app.

green technology opportunities with telematics | Utilimarc blog

How Utilimarc Works with OEM telematics

At Utilimarc, we bridge the gap between companies needing customized telematics insights and the right OEM telematics solution. In collaboration with Geotab, we create an account for our clients that allows us to pipe OEM data into Geotab’s cloud and then into our platform for benchmarking, analyses and custom reporting done by our expert analysts. 

As a value-add to Geotab’s service, Utilimarc offers the deep knowledge of industry-specific metrics and a BI platform that helps clients leverage their data to see measurable, profitable results. Our bespoke dashboards mean that we can deliver tailor-made reports unique to each fleets’ needs, allowing for a much deeper dive into data insights.

If you’re interested in learning more about how Utilimarc works with GEOTAB and/or OEM telematics, schedule a demo with a member of our analytics team.


Gretchen Reese

Content Manager

Gretchen Reese is the content manager at Utilimarc. She has experience in global and strategic marketing, previously working as a copywriter and content specialist for a London marketing agency and freelancing in multiple niches. See more from Gretchen


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