Telematics is getting the green light from drivers these days. New research suggests there is an untapped opportunity for M2M telematics providers, with almost three quarters of work vehicles yet to have telematics systems installed.

The ‘Big Brother’ image of telematics is over according to research carried out for pan-European telematics company, Masternaut, said to be Europe’s largest provider of telematics solutions. As Jeremy Cowan reports, the research has found that 68% of drivers are comfortable with telematics being installed in their vehicles, yet only 17% of work vehicles are currently tracked.

The survey was conducted by Atomik Research and commissioned by Masternaut. The data is based on responses from 2,032 employees in the UK who drive as part of their job.

This shift in consumer attitudes follows the increasing use of telematics for corporate and personal use, with privacy issues and ‘Big Brother’ style monitoring no longer presenting a barrier to entry for installation.

A minority of vehicles are tracked

Despite being comfortable with telematics, 72% of respondents said that neither their work nor personal vehicles were fitted with a telematics device. Just 17% of respondents said their work vehicles were tracked, while only 11% said the personal vehicles they use for work are tracked.

The remaining 32% of business drivers surveyed said they would not be comfortable with the idea of having telematics installed in their vehicles. Top reasons for not having telematics in their vehicles are concerns around privacy (51%), not understanding how the data is used (14%) and not understanding the benefits of such a system (18%).

Martin Hiscox, CEO and chairman of Masternaut, commented: “In the past, UK drivers have shown a measured response to vehicle tracking technologies, which is now largely over both from a consumer and business perspective. But we mustn’t be apathetic – the concept of telematics being purely a vehicle tracking technology is outdated and we need to continue talking more about the safety and efficiency benefits instead.

“As an industry, we cannot ignore the feedback from some drivers about data privacy. We’ve addressed this head on with our new Masternaut Connect platform, which holds data in a secure, anonymised format. We’ve also worked closely with unions and workers councils across Europe and taken the feedback on board to create a system that addresses driver and business requirements.”

Martin Hiscox: Safety and efficiency benefits

Martin Hiscox: Safety and efficiency benefits

Founded in 1996, the company now employs over 600 telematics specialists. It provides a Software as a Service (SaaS)-based mobile resource management (MRM) application suite for businesses of all sizes to help them achieve greater operational efficiencies through a lowering of vehicle fuel consumption, effective tracking of assets, productivity increases in workforce, reduced vehicle wear and tear, improved management of driver behaviour, and a reduction in CO2 emissions.

Masternaut suite modules range from driver performance management, fleet and consumer insurance, traditional vehicle tracking and specialist services for the transport and logistics industry, including remote digital tachograph download and temperature monitoring. More than 300,000 assets, vehicles and people are currently connected to its SaaS solutions.