With fleet-management technology, construction companies can track both vehicle performance and driver performance, saving money on everything from fuel consumption and maintenance costs to insurance rates. This has been especially true of larger fleets, which have the resources and staff to support vehicle tracking. However, more recently, smaller fleets have also started to use the technology.

With affordable in-vehicle tracking devices and cloud-based analytic software, companies of all sizes are using fleet telematics, making the technology the rule more than the exception for today’s construction fleet managers.

Perhaps the biggest indication that fleet telematics is moving mainstream has been the growing number of solutions being offered by big-name carriers. Sprint, www.sprint.com, Overland Park, Kan., for example, has been ramping up its fleet solutions under its Emerging Solutions Group. Recently, the carrier partnered with ActSoft, www.actsoft.com, Tampa, Fla., to provide wireless tracking devices for electrical contractor Brooks-Berry-Haynie, www.bbhelectric.com, Mableton, Ga. The small 4-inch by 4-inch tracking device uses a Sprint CDMA modem to provide high-speed wireless connectivity in 150 electric utility trucks.

Another big name carrier, Verizon Wireless, www.verizon.com, Basking Ridge, N.J., recently announced a new telematics device with partner Wireless Matrix Corp., www.wirelessmatrix.com, Herndon, Va., called the Reporter 30. It is a plug-and-play OBD-II device certified on the Verizon Network for GPS fleet tracking business applications.

In addition to offering fleet managers critical GPS location data, it also offers additional information such as diagnostic trouble codes and data critical to fuel efficiency reporting. The key feature, however, is how the device caters to fleets of all sizes. The direct connection to the vehicle’s on-board computer port eliminates the need for installation services and vehicle wiring, giving smaller fleets the option of self installation. The low price point of the device also reduces the barrier to adoption for smaller fleets.

Maria Izurieta, acting CEO of Wireless Matrix, says partnering with a big name company like Verizon was critical to offering fleet operators the best possible solution. O’Kelley of Brooks-Berry-Haynie had similar sentiments about Sprint, adding that its pervious network connection was slow and unreliable.

As more companies continue to see and experience all of the advantages of fleet telematics, one can only expect wireless carriers to form more of these types of partnerships. And that, of course, only means there will be more solutions customized to the specific needs of construction fleet managers, both big and small.