6 Design Considerations for IoT-Enabled Telematics Solutions

July 21, 2022

Telematics encompasses tech that blends telecommunications and information technology with data science to deliver real-time insights for: 

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Telematics solutions enabled by Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity are used across many industries, including:  

However, one of the most common telematics uses is in freight transport. This vertical leverages onboard sensors, GPS and diagnostics systems to gather data and derive optimized operational parameters. 

6 Things to Consider for Your IoT Telematics Solution

Here are six critical things businesses must consider when designing a telematics solution for their vehicle fleets or equipment: 

1. Business Needs

Ask yourself what you want to accomplish with a telematics solution. You must identify the data that is mission-critical and determine how often you will need to receive the data. For example, construction companies leverage telematics to:  

  • Track the location of their moving assets  
  • Monitor asset use to ensure maximum output  
  • Measure usage hours and sensors (e.g., axel vibration and bearing temperature) to discover if a piece of equipment needs maintenance 

2. IoT Connectivity 

Telematic capabilities are not feasible without connectivity. Cellular data plans ensure reliable communication and data transmission is always available between vehicles and business systems regardless of location. However, another essential consideration that affects connectivity is the deployment’s scale.  

3. Deployment Area and Size 

Is your telematics solution at a global, regional or local scale? A local deployment like a construction site would still require connectivity. However, it would not need it at the same complexity level as a global operation. Worldwide telematics deployments must navigate the challenge of managing relationships with carriers globally.     

Smaller deployments are better suited for a fully certified modem. Larger deployments must take advantage of lower device costs with a module-based design and complete industry- and carrier-level certifications. 

4. Bandwidth and Throughput for Security

Video telematics — a combination of vehicle and driving data — gives companies more context on incident footage and collects driver behavior data. These cameras can also transmit real-time video evidence to improve safety and security and even map streets. New technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are being used with the video to help with accident prevention. 

A video telematics solution with multiple cameras must upload a considerable amount of data to the cloud, which requires more throughput. Improving safety, security and insurance claim accuracy is dependent on reliable, high-bandwidth connectivity, specifically on the uplink.  

5. Technology Selection

Video telematics will often use a Category (Cat) 4 LTE or higher category cellular IoT module to support higher uplink speed requirements. The overall uplink speed required will be impacted by: 

  • The number of video streams  
  • The video’s resolution
  • How quickly the video needs to be accessed 

For non-video telematics, companies must decide if LTE Cat 1 or Cat M is best for their telematics deployment. LTE Cat 1 is available worldwide for seamless global roaming. It supports higher bandwidth versus Cat M. LTE Cat 1 is also capable of supporting Voice over LTE (VoLTE). Voice is often required for various fleet and mobile asset applications.  

Cat M consumes less current and supports new low-power modes like Power Save Mode (PSM) and extended Discontinuous Reception (eDRX). These modes permit devices to operate for many years in a battery-powered application. Mobile cold chain assets need this feature to send alarms for goods’ environmental condition deviations using the device’s battery power. 

5G networks offer many exciting new features and are actively being rolled out by carriers globally. However, the current 5G chipsets and modules are primarily targeted at higher bandwidth applications that need 5G’s performance advantages.  

There are future releases of 3GPP that will address the lower-speed IoT applications in the years to come. For current telematics designs, the best solution in terms of cost and performance is often still Cat M or LTE. Carriers will continue to support LTE networks for many years. This support will continue while 5G standards evolve and the 5G chipset and module ecosystem expands to cover more use cases. 

6. Cost of the IoT Telematics Solution

Cost considerations are contingent on:  

  • The features required 
  • The deployment size 
  • The ROI required  

For instance, video telematics cameras need higher throughput and bandwidth. Therefore, video telematics cameras will need a higher category module and consume a greater data amount.  

Asset tracking may include low-power requirements when battery-operated devices are necessary. It will typically require less throughput, so it will take advantage of a lower-cost technology like Cat M. 

Telematics and IoT Connectivity

While these design considerations are vital to starting any telematics project, connectivity is the most foundational. Telit’s IoT modules and connectivity tools and resources can get your telematics deployment to market fast. 

Speak with a Telit Cinterion IoT expert to choose the right IoT module and connectivity plan for your telematics IoT solution.