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3 Challenges and 3 Benefits of Telematics

Articles - Sep 23

3 Challenges and 3 Benefits of Telematics

Ara Eckel
Director, Product Management, Connected Solutions
JLG Industries

Telematics has become table stakes industrywide — today, everyone expects standard connectivity to all their lift and access equipment. 

In the early days of telematics, customers wanted to access all of the data from the machine. Then, there was a period of time when customers said they were getting too much data and requested less. Today, the pendulum has swung back in the other direction, and users are again wanting more data from the machine, asking for even more than ever before. 
Challenges and Benefits of Telematics at a GlanceTo meet this demand, OEMs like JLG need to structure their telematics solutions in a way that is more efficient for customers to navigate, more meaningful in the way the system provides the data and more effective for them to use the data to proactively manage and maintain their fleets. 


3 Challenges

There isn’t one industry over another that benefits more from using telematics. If the application requires the use of machinery that moves, it benefits from telematics. 

A trend that has re-emerged from this is customers asking again for deeper machine insights, three challenges face the access equipment industry today when it comes to data and telematics. They are:
1. The actionability of data
2. Confusion about what to do with telematics and how to manage it 
3. The availability of connectivity on job sites

Here’s a closer look at these challenges...

Actionable data
Historically, customers have been overwhelmed by the amount of data available through telematics, so they asked to receive less – resulting in too little data being provided. Customers want more data, but they want it in a way that makes the data actionable and digestible. 

That means customers need a way to access the data through their telematics systems that enable them to manage the data and prioritize the information they most want to view, including equipment maintenance pages, maps that include machine location, geofences and reports on many other data points, including Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTC).

It also means that telematics systems need to be more effective to use. For example, it’s always been a challenge with certain functionality like geofences, which are great tools to have but are operationally difficult to develop and maintain.

The industry gives equipment owners and operators mixed messages about telematics, creating a lot of confusion about what users should do with telematics and how their businesses should manage it. On one side, OEM-specific solutions offer rich insights about a brand’s equipment, but sourcing telematics from multiple OEMs can be a lot of effort to manage. On the other side, investing in one 3rd-party telematics solution may be easier to manage but with fewer data points and equipment insights. 

To be honest, trade-offs will always come with this decision because there is no one-size-fits-all answer. The right telematics solution will be the one that meets each business’s unique needs and goals.

Connected job sites
When considering how telematics can be — or will be — used on job sites, the decision isn’t all about weighing the pros and cons of a program’s specific benefit. It’s also about the logistics of working on a connected job site. A couple of questions users need to ask are: 1) Is there connectivity infrastructure available on site (i.e. cellular or WIFI service)? 2) If so, can work crews have connected devices on sites to access telematics information? 

JLG Telehandler Equipped with ClearSky Telematics

3 Benefits

Because telematics enables users to streamline access to important machine information quickly and effectively through digital channels, three benefits of using it on a job site are:
1. Increased machine uptime and utilization, 
2. Boosted productivity and machine performance 
3. Reduced downtime

Here’s a closer look at these benefits...

More uptime
Telematics can show fleet managers where and how equipment is operating by providing high-level or finite details on several machine systems, including:

  • Location to help with service planning and cuts on downtime for field techs
  • DTCs to address machine issues and get them back on rent quicker
  • Machine hours to help with billing and knowing when to service the machine
  • Battery status
  • Machine utilization
  • Setting geofences/time fences to protect investment and to be notified on machine usage (leaving a particular area or being used before/after a designated time)
  • Schedule maintenance tasks

Access to this type of information allows users to manage machine usage more efficiently and effectively.

Enhanced productivity
Many telematics solutions also have tools to analyze fleet and operator data, as well as determine the overall effectiveness of a machine in a particular situation. Sharing utilization and operator data can significantly improve on-site efficiencies. And, by using telematics in conjunction with other digital tools, such as building information models (BIM), users can streamline the planning phase of projects to select the right machine for the job.

Less downtime
Telematics can also help to manage the servicing and maintenance of machines. For example, analyzers to remotely diagnose machine issues and coordinate the tools and parts needed for on-site repairs.

Telematics solutions can also provide users with the opportunity to receive automated reports and immediate notifications when issues arise. And, fleet managers can use telematics programs to proactively schedule maintenance, reducing unnecessary service calls. 

Telematics can also help equipment owners and users plan ahead for site visits and rental services, such as equipment deliveries.


Telematics is changing job sites

As connected construction sites continue to evolve, telematics provides a foundation and infrastructure for other technological advancements in safety and productivity. For example, historically telematics offered more data points from machines with combustion engines, but today, JLG’s ClearSky API also offers extensive information on electric equipment. This has opened opportunities for more customers to use our program. 

Over the next decade, we see telematics continuing to evolve to include even more machine information on electrified products, more finite details from the equipment’s integrated sensor suites, live/real-time video feed footage, in-the-moment servicing of machines, additional semi-autonomous functionality and so much more.

The Future of Telematics

Yesterday’s telematics can only do so much. Today, the next generation of telematics is an Internet of Things (IoT) platform, offering true, two-way fleet connectivity and machine interactivity.

With the introduction of ClearSky Smart Fleet, JLG reimagines what’s possible, paving the way to a new frontier for connectivity solutions in the industry. More than yet another singular piece of software, it’s built as a robust, constantly evolving IoT platform capable of delivering new functionality, new insights and new ways to run cost-effective operations.

This new generation of ClearSky is a ground-up redesign, adding innovative elements to transform the way customers work. Key features include:

  • Digitized daily processes for operational efficiencies
  • Accurate and efficient machine location
  • Additional equipment service capabilities
  • Streamlined logistics with Automated Site Networks
  • Actionable, on-demand machine and fleet insights

Let’s take a closer look…
Fleet Manager Analyzing Telematics Data on Tablet

An overview of the new ClearSky Smart Fleet

Rebuilt from top to bottom, JLG’s ClearSky Smart Fleet™ IoT platform launches the industry toward a bold, new frontier in fleet management and communication. Industry-first two-way data transmission evolves one-way connectivity into true fleet interactivity helps to unlock record-breaking levels of productivity and profitability from anywhere, at any time.

With ClearSky Smart Fleet, customers can get their fleets talking with the platforms:

State-of-the-art beacon
A single beacon, soon to be standard on most JLG equipment, houses as many as 25 unique features — including analyzers, telematics and productivity apps — all working in concert to unlock two-way data transmission between the ClearSky user and your fleet whether you work at the office or the job site.

Dedicated mobile app
Perform wireless diagnostics on the job site with built-in analyzer functionality or activate clear visual and auditory cues to find a specific machine and identify its fuel level, battery level or status.

Comprehensive web portal
Digitize your daily processes, simplify equipment tracking and receive robust, real-time information about the health and performance data of your fleet visually customized to your needs.

Enhanced API
ClearSky Smart Fleet can be incorporated into your current, in-house telematics solution allowing access to the JLG-rich data you need for seamless mixed-fleet management from a single screen.

Lessons learned from working with telematics

One of the most important lessons I’ve learned is that telematics is critical for putting the customer at the center of an OEM’s digital experiences. It needs to be simple to use, adopt and understand. In my opinion, to be successful with telematics, OEMs need to remove the pain points of entry for customers using their solution. Also, telematics has to not only be a value-added benefit but also a value differentiator for a brand.

It’s really exciting that we’re finally at a point in the industry with telematics where digital infrastructure and digital demand are coming together. As the journey continues, I look forward to seeing how advancements in data, data analytics and data science will make telematics more valuable every day.

Want to learn more about how telematics can help manage and maintain a JLG equipment fleet? Find information on JLG’s ClearSky Smart Fleet here.

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