Telematics is having a significant impact on a growing number of industries and construction is no exception. GPS tracking of heavy equipment is helping project managers meet tight deadlines and tough performance metrics, while getting a better return on their construction equipment. Safety and security also see marked improvement.

It’s no surprise then that it features heavily in our five big trends for 2015.

1 – Assets with built-in telematics will become a lot more common

Telematics for assets isn’t new but the idea of it being built right into the vehicle, heavy equipment or asset is, and it’s good news for customers. For equipment managers who were tracking assets in the past they generally split their time among several disparate systems which was a tedious, time-consuming process.

AEM/AEMP is spearheading efforts to unify manufacturers to standardize data shared by the heavy equipment they build to make it easier for owners to see a mixed fleet on a single screen – one login to manage all their assets regardless of brand. John Deere, Caterpillar, Komatsu and Volvo have indicated willingness to use the new standards, and more are in the pipeline.

The growth in built-in telematics for assets will see richer diagnostic data that’s unique to each OEM and result in greater efficiencies and management accuracy such as maintenance schedules, the life expectancy of parts and driver behavior (such as seat belt use).

Fleet management systems will need to handle the variable data from multiple manufacturers in a consistent way, and only those telematics companies with OEM experience and an open platform will succeed in this new environment.

2 – Managers will be accessing more real-time data on the go

Managers of both people and equipment will not be waiting until they get back to the office to get project updates.

With the growing processing power and screen size of mobile devices, the spread of 4G and ubiquity of Wi-Fi hotspots (including in-vehicle WiFi hubs) and real-time cloud-based location services such as Telogis Supervisor, managers will have access to all the information they need in the palms of their hands.

Locating nearby assets, real-time job updates or alerts for issues that need to be addressed, along with regular reports is all information that’s available on a smartphone or tablet.

Applications specifically for managing assets are being developed for popular operating systems such as Android and iOS. One example is Telogis WorkPlan, which allows drivers to complete a pre-operation inspection using the camera on a smartphone.

3 – Focus on improving the asset safety and security

Spiralling insurance costs are encouraging construction companies to look at ways to proactively improve the safety and security of high-value assets.

GPS tracking and real-time alerts are helping managers monitor not only where assets are at all times, but also how they’re being used.

Geofence alerts can be triggered if an asset is moved outside of a specific area, or conversely enters a prohibited location. Alerts can be setup for mechanical alerts, as well as unauthorized or dangerous use. Tracking machine utilization within a geofence provides project managers with an easy way to track daily jobsite costs and identify under-utilized equipment.

Equipment managers are benefiting with higher recovery rates and less downtime.

Read the case study: SAM Inc. improved stolen asset recovery rate

To improve the safety of equipment, fleet managers are using Telogis WorkPlan’s custom forms feature to make the inspection of assets easier, both before and after use. Barcodes are used to verify that inspections are completed to the manufacturer’s requirements and that the worker is physically present.

4 – Fuel use and potential savings will continue to be critical

While oil prices are currently coming down there’s no guarantee that trend will continue. Even still, fuel costs continue to be a major operating expense and innovative ways to reduce them will still be welcomed in 2015.

In addition to minimizing fuel theft, unnecessary idling and wasteful driving, the EPA is phasing in new emissions standards that will impact heavy vehicles. The new legislation will require on-board diagnostics (OBD) to report on emission control systems.

Easier, automated IFTA reporting will also be a boon for construction companies with many of their assets and vehicles working interstate and thus eligible for fuel tax rebates. Off-road use (mileage/engine hours) can easily be reported on as well to benefit from any applicable off-highway business use tax credits.

5 – Strong growth in OHV telematics adoption

While not typically a growth area for telematics, the OHV (Off-Highway Vehicle) market will see a surge in demand for telematics, led by a growing number of rental companies adopting the technology.

Frost & Sullivan have researched the industry and conclude that telematics is “now perceived as the go-to solution for improving the total cost of ownership.”

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While OHV operators have tended to prefer low-tech solutions, a growing awareness of the benefits of telematics is seeing an accelerated interest and adoption of fleet management and GPS tracking solutions.

As solutions adapt to the specific needs of individual industries, and equipment owners see both ease of use and overall usefulness in telematics, growth will be rapid.

Is your business ready for the challenges of 2015?

The undeniable march of technology will reshape the landscape for a lot of industries, not just construction. The winners will be the companies that embrace change and use it to their advantage.

If you’d like to know how we can help you have your best year ever, talk to us about the ways telematics can transform your mobile operations.

Ask an expert

Have a question about telematics, asset tracking or heavy equipment management for the construction industry? Jeff Cohen is VP of Asset & Security Solutions at Telogis. He is focused on driving adoption of off-road telematics across a number of industries such as construction, oil & gas, transport and utility services.

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