Over the last few decades, great technological strides have been made in fleet management technology, particularly the evolution of video telematics as we have come to know it. In this blog we will highlight how video telematics has evolved over time and what’s really at stake if your fleet is lagging behind.
Once relatively simplistic with rudimentary features, video telematics has evolved over the last quarter century into a fundamental component of modern fleet technology. When telematics systems gather data from connected vehicles—such as location, speed, idling time, and more—and combine it with video from cameras that capture driver behaviors and the environment, fleets get an accurate, complete picture of everything happening in and around their vehicles.
Having access to this information puts fleet managers light-years ahead of their predecessors in terms of mitigating risk, improving operational efficiency, and controlling costs. Video telematics is the starting point for making advanced strategic decisions.
This has been a long time coming. The history of telematics systems stretches back further than you might imagine, and knowing how the technology evolved helps reinforce its importance today.
The evolution of video telematics technology
In the early 1960s, the U.S. government funded a military project to develop a global positioning system (GPS) for military and intelligence applications, such as navigation, targeting, and troop movements. The system became operational in the 1970s and within a decade, the government began allowing civilian access to GPS signals, allowing for the development of simple telematics systems.
Interestingly, “telematics” was first coined in a 1978 French government report to explain the coming computerization of society. It is a blend of two French words: télécommunications (telecommunications) and informatique (computing science). But the term quickly became associated with vehicle tracking in particular.
Throughout the 1980s and ‘90s, well-funded research programs experimented with vehicle telematics to improve road safety and reduce environmental impact. By 1993, GPS technology had fully reached the consumer market. In 1998 DriveCam®, Inc. (now Lytx®, Inc.) was founded, introducing the first vehicle camera to record crashes into the market. In those early days of video telematics, a fleet manager had only basic tools, and it was a manual, time-consuming process to access video clips and get vehicle data.
By the early 2000s, telematics technologies were used in more sophisticated online fleet tracking systems that pushed data updates to remote networks, although slow internet speeds limited transmission frequency. Between 2001-2009, Lytx advanced their technologies to set the pace of innovation in the industry, offering cameras with road- and driver- facing lenses, developing software that could review and score driver videos, introducing the driver coaching model, and launching an online program management platform.
The last two decades have seen rapid advancements in video telematics, largely centered on cloud, machine-to-machine (M2M), and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies with artificial intelligence capabilities.
Present-day video telematics technology is synonymous with fleet management systems. We have leapt from basic dash cams to powerful sensors that not only process video in real-time, but also provide instant, precise tracking of GPS data and insightful reporting. These systems have become fundamental to helping fleets operate more safely, affordably, and productively.
The importance of innovation
The innovations in video telematics are not about having more bells and whistles in your fleet management system, or about automating jobs that humans should be doing. These technological advancements are important because they not only improve fleet operations and safety, but they prepare fleet managers for—and propel them into—the future. As customer expectations and market pressures increase, fleets need modern telematics systems to support their efforts as they adapt and respond.
Fleet owners and managers yet to adopt dash cams, or those with unintegrated cameras and “dots on a map” fleet tracking are at a disadvantage. Without innovating, fleets are often put in a position where they:
- Blindly track valuable assets
- Pay higher claims and insurance costs
- Respond to risk in a reactive manner only
- Use inferior data (less accurate, out of date, etc.)
- Take slower, less efficient routes
- Don’t know what’s happening in the field
- Rely on phone calls and manual processes
- Deal with maintenance issues in a reactive manner only
- Burn more fuel
- Can’t effectively coach drivers
- Struggle to enforce compliance with safety protocols
Yet with cutting-edge video safety and telematics, the story is very different. Fleet managers can leverage the technology to optimize vehicle routes and fuel efficiency, monitor driving safety, help protect the company from false claims, motivate drivers, and gain advanced insights with real-time data. In short, every video safety and telematics innovation that hits the market gives fleets a better, more holistic view of what’s happening with drivers, vehicles, customers, and the environment, while offering more ways to minimize risk and cost.
At Lytx, innovation has always been part of our DNA. Since our inception, we have made it a priority to remain at the cutting edge of innovation, collaborating with customers to better understand market needs for improved solutions and features. For this, we created Lytx Lab, our testing ground for research and development (R&D) where we push the boundaries of fleet products and collaborate with customers to continuously develop, test, and refine new offerings. Some recent initiatives conceived in-lab and now in production include parked highway ramp features and seasonal weather alerts. These are just two examples of needs we identified in the market to help fleets achieve even safer roadways. Stay tuned, as more promising projects are currently underway that we are excited to introduce to the industry.
Leading the industry in innovation for more than 25 Years
“Lytx really stands out in terms of its innovation as well. Using Lytx’s solutions, fleet managers can start deriving insights immediately. Lytx's intuitive, clean interface is optimized to quickly deliver key insights and facilitate action. In addition, Lytx offers comprehensive training and onboarding resources…Lytx’s biggest area of strength is its proven success and focus on driver safety. Its driver safety program is a configurable solution using MV+AI, alerting, event review, and prescriptive coaching workflows.”
-ABI Research Video Telematics Vendor Ranking Report 2023
We are committed to continuously improving our technology to drive the industry forward, as we have done for decades. We are proud to be recognized as innovators, such as when we received ABI Research’s Leader award in their Video Telematics Vendor Ranking Report, ranking #1 in Innovation and #2 in Implementation for 2023.
Our video safety and video telematics solutions offer powerful MV+AI features that help proactively mitigate risk, with advanced reporting and dashboards to give fleets the ability to easily analyze data and understand what’s happening in the field. Managers have tools to efficiently coach drivers, with access to key performance data that helps improve safety, skills, and driver retention. Aside from our intense focus on safety, what sets us apart in the industry is our comprehensive privacy-by-design approach to technology, and the fact that many of our applications are built from the ground up.
With more than 1 million vehicles under subscription across more than 5,000 fleets of all sizes in a variety of industries, Lytx is proud to be an innovative leader in video safety and video telematics.
Click here to access ABI Research’s Competitive Ranking Report for Video Telematics.
Interested in learning more about Lytx and our story? Contact us or book a demo today!