Telematics is beginning to become a little bit more common on the construction jobsite, as fleet operators are gradually starting to realize the benefits of having connectivity as a standard feature on vehicles.

Telematics is a term for a wireless network that supports the collection and dissemination of data in vehicle tracking and positioning, online navigation, and emergency assistance. These days, the construction industry is beginning to see an uptick in telematics.

ABI Research, www.abiresearch.com, Oyster Bay, N.Y., says most operators cite the tracking capability of the telematics systems as providing the most immediate initial benefit to the business, as it helps reduce vehicle theft and misuse, while also reducing insurance premiums. However, the analyst firm indicates telematics can also improve machine use, reduce fuel consumption, enable a more efficient maintenance and repair schedule, and help with safety compliance by enabling operators to control site access with geofencing.

In a recent report, ABI Research finds telematics penetration in the construction equipment sector will exceed 30% globally by 2019, and says standardization across a mixed fleet continues to be a key challenge that is holding back the adoption of telematics in the construction equipment sector.

Gareth Owen, principal analyst, ABI Research, says some progress has been made in recent years with the OEMs (original-equipment manufacturers) working with aftermarket suppliers, and industry bodies working to develop standard APIs (application programming interfaces) for some of the basic data such as identification, location, and hours of use. Still, many of the fleet operators are increasingly demanding more standardization, easier interfacing, and a single-source site for all OEM API data, according to Owen.

Companies such as Caterpillar, www.cat.com, Peoria, Ill., and Trimble Navigation, www.trimble.com, Sunnyvale, Calif., have developed a brand-agnostic fleet management and site productivity solution designed for contractors with mixed equipment fleets. Having a standardized solution will be key to helping move the construction industry toward telematics in the future.

Interested in learning more about how telematics, M2M, and the Internet of Things is impacting the construction industry? Don’t miss the Connected World Conference, taking place within the Chicago Auto Show this week.