How Big Data can Benefit Fleet Management without becoming an Operational Burden


Big data, data analytics and predictive modeling are becoming more widely utilised within some organisations as we realise the value of learning from past events. Recent articles have speculated that fleet managers will soon have access to greater amounts of data and fleet analytics.

Predictive analytics is indeed gaining more visibility within the fleet industry, however some applications are more sophisticated than others. It takes years to gather the data needed to make predictions about the future and you have to make sure that the data being captured is the right data for the job.

For example, telematics was designed to increase efficiency – to provide fleet managers with location data regarding their drivers in order to utilise their fleet to the maximum. Telematics providers have since introduced manoeuvre data to identify opportunities to improve fuel efficiency. The challenge comes when you try to utilise the same manouvre data to manage driver behaviour. Capturing the black and white data from telematics is the easy bit, but how do you have an open and honest conversation with a driver regarding their behaviour if you don’t have visibility of it?

Some technology providers believe that by identifying previously unrecognised patterns that frequently precede accidents, driver behaviour and fleet performance systems will be able to alert drivers and managers and prevent incidents before they happen.

However, this is not new insight, it’s Lytx Insights® – for more than 16 years we’ve helped our clients achieve significant benefit year-after-year by helping them identify and reduce risk in their fleet. Our industry leading team bring a wealth of experience and best practice in analysing telematics data combined with video footage to determine the behaviours that, if left unchanged, will likely result in a collision. Because we’ve utilised a video “answer key” to interpret our telematics data for over a decade, our analytics are based on observing actual human behaviours—not simply data on a report.  This allows us to better pinpoint and identify risky driving in a fleet.  We can also tell you the type of collision your drivers are more likely to be involved in. For example:

  • A driver who has multiple traffic violations and is distracted on the road has a high probability of being involved in a collision at a traffic junction.
  • A driver who follows too close and is distracted has a high probability of being involved in a rear end collision.
  • A driver who regularly drives without a seatbelt has a high probability of taking other risks whilst driving that could lead to a collision.

This insight enables us to work with our clients to coach those drivers we identify as at risk (based on visual evidence) to minimise risk within their fleet.

A new report published by Brake and the Licence Bureau appeals to employers to follow best practice advice and implement the latest safety technology to protect employees and other road users. The report highlights the benefits that can be gained from technology in reducing collisions and reducing operational costs.

Dr. Tom Fisher, senior research and communications officer at Brake, said: “Employers whose staff drive for work have a duty of care both to their own employees and other road users. While not a panacea, technology can play a big part in helping them improve safety and exercise that duty, so it is disappointing to see that so many are not taking full advantage of new safety technologies on offer.”

Les Owen, compliance consultant at Licence Bureau, concluded: “Surely, it is obvious that the cost of a crash makes it sensible to consider fitting some of the safety technology items.”

“One serious crash or fatal collision can lead to a lifetime of problems for drivers and managers alike so doing more to avoid them is a no-brainer.”

“Implementing good policies, which are reviewed with drivers to provide learning opportunities and reminders of company objectives, is good practice. Writing a policy and not doing anything with it is just as bad as not having one.”

There’s a clear trend in the industry to utilise video technology alongside telematics – as many telematics companies add video to their offering. However in order to build the level of data and intelligence into their service to ensure minimum operational impact and maximum results will take years.

The trick to an effective programme is getting the right balance – whilst fleet managers may benefit from big data and predictive analytics, they do not have to do all of the heavy lifting themselves. A fleet manager’s job is demanding, and a survey by Shell in 2014 found that 9 out of 10 fleet manages acted on less than 60% of the insights offered by telematics due to resource issues. A managed service, which combines exception-based video, telematics and predictive analytics can provide fleet managers with an operationally efficient programme allowing them to focus their time effectively for maximum results.

There are industry leading driver safety programmes available to help them increase safety without losing  focus on their core business operations. If you’re looking to improve the safety of your drivers, reduce operational costs and improve efficiency we can help you prove out the business case with our comprehensive trial. When it comes to safety, don’t settle for second best.