One of the biggest modern advancements in fleet management has been the telematics module. You can attach the module to a vehicle and implement a fully featured tracking system. It's important to understand what a telematics module does before you commit to buying a specific model.
The standard configuration for a telematics system is to connect it to a database using cellphone systems. Since the advent of 3G wireless, this has been a feasible solution that provided more than enough bandwidth to transmit basic data. With the rise of 4G and 5G technologies, the robustness of the systems has improved as the available bandwidth has increased. Consequently, a brand new module is likely to provide many more features than ones that were available just a couple of years ago.
Modern vehicles have onboard diagnostic computers. Technicians call the current standard ODB-II. If you have ever seen a mechanic plug a small computer into the dashboard, this is what they're using. Similarly, most of the data available through a vehicle's entertainment system, Bluetooth connectivity, or voice assistant comes from the ODB-II setup.
This system provides extensive details about the operating condition of the vehicle. It can tell you the vehicle's current speed, what the engine temperature is, whether there are any diagnostic codes flagged, and much more.
Unsurprisingly, most 5G devices have GPS capabilities. Telematics modules are no exception. If you want to know where a vehicle in your fleet currently is, the data from the module can tell you within a few feet. Suppose a shipping company needs to find where a rig currently is. If they're using a module that relays data in real-time, they can identify the GPS coordinates and the heading in a matter of seconds.
The real power of the telematics module for fleet management kicks in when you begin to track and combine all of the available data. If you're trying to cut down on fuel costs, for example, the combined data can tell you which drivers are operating their vehicles inefficiently. You can then follow up on the data to encourage those drivers to change their habits while on the road.
Notably, not all companies use real-time tracking. You can choose to log data for later use. It's also possible to use a somewhat laggy system to save on communication costs. For example, the module might only check in every 15 minutes as long as there are no signs of an emergency.