People often use these terms interchangeably, which might give you an impression that they mean the same thing. Although, there is some overlap, they're definitely not exact. Fleet management and telematics are rather competing systems, where one is short on another. It's important to define and draw the distinction between the two. So, let's do that.
Fleet management in it's large essence is a large database of information that caters to the complete life cycle of fleets, it includes anything and everything that you do with your fleet. Telematics on the other hand is more about the dots that move on the map rather than rows and columns sitting in your matured database.
It is the technology/process of sending, receiving and storing information using telecommunication devices to control remote objects (cars, trucks, heavy equipment or even a ship).
This is that black box installed in your vehicle that is functioning as a highly intelligent computer with the help of other connected hardware and sensors to report on nearly every detail about your vehicle - such as position, speed, trip distance or time, idling, harsh braking, sharp turns, fuel consumption, temperature, vehicle faults, battery voltage, and other engine data.
Conclusively, it has the primary purpose of tracking the location and performance of your vehicle, and hence the driver behavior as well. And, that's really it, other than that, it doesn't have any intelligence of it's own.
What's the bigger bet, you ask?
It's fleet management. With a fleet management system you can imagine all that is not possible with telematics alone.
Telematics data is often stored in cloud, which still needs to be animated, acted upon and converted into actionable insights into a browser/app. This is where a fleet management software comes into play. Using fleet management software, you can view and export reports, set alerts, send emails, gain business intelligence about every aspect of your fleet, integrate with third-party solutions such as financial and ERP solution, be able to deploy AI/ML models for your fleet performance and so much more.
We've somewhat established the connection between the two, now let's look at quick comparison of both. This will also help you in deciding which one is right for you.
In an overall sense, telematics is much about your vehicle data (capture, transmit and store), while fleet management is about your entire fleet and it's life cycle. It should be evident that telematics falls short in keeping your fleet organized, optimized and productive on its own, nevertheless, it's telematics only that would bring the essential elements needed to improve the ROI, performance and safety of your fleet.
What should you really pick up?
Fleet Management and Telematics is a powerful pair. We would recommend to use it together!
Combine the forces of telematics and fleet management software with our FMS to vastly enhance your fleet management capabilities and company's bottom line.