Telematics – the future of intelligent business management?

Like it or not, technology is becoming an ever-increasing part of modern day life.  We’ve been through the Stone Age, the middle age, and we’re now…

Like it or not, technology is becoming an ever-increasing part of modern day life. We've been through the Stone Age, the middle age, and we're now well and truly into the digital age. 'Tomorrow's world' is here today. From controlling your home heating from your mobile 'phone to ordering groceries on-line - or even from your fridge - technology is becoming increasingly integrated into our everyday lives and even affecting how we work. But what is telematics ? And how can it help you achieve clear business advantages ? Kurt Rowe explains…

Technology is being used to augment our lives in new and exciting ways, providing companies and other organisations with unique insights into how we live our lives and allowing them to provide us with increasingly targeted products and services. So how can technology be harnessed for more effective fleet management? The clear answer is telematics.

So what is telematics?

Telematics is essentially an electronic way of collating data monitoring behaviours and patterns and can be considered in terms of motor telematics and non-motor telematics.

Data is an extremely valuable commodity for insurers and modern commercial businesses. The acquisition and interrogation of data is about good business intelligence. The more data you have about your business, the more you can understand what is really going on, turning your data into fully informed business strategy. Imagine a transport and logistics company being able to gather data on their entire fleet of vehicles and what an in-depth analysis of that data could mean for that business.

Non-motor telematics is currently being used by firms such as Amazon to track the movement of their employees and to ensure compliance with health and safety legislation. Health insurance and life insurance companies are looking at using smart devices (such as watches and wrist bands) to monitor activity and heart rates as a way of pricing their policies.

What is clear is that insurers, employers and other organisations want to know what we do, how we do it and when we do it and telematics is the way that they will gather the data they seek. This leads to the usual phrase 'it's an invasion of privacy' but we are living in an increasingly connected world where the smart phones in our pockets track our activity and report to any number of organisations on a regular basis. It seems that as a society we are increasingly willing to waive our right to privacy if it provides something of benefit to us, such as added value, or reduced premiums. It is important for any employer/business to understand what they can and can't do in terms of the data that they collate, as failure to understand properly could have serious repercussions in the event of a breach of data protection legislation.

There is also a need to ensure that data is used for the purpose for which consent was given, and to that end, in the employment sphere, a more collaborative approach between employers and employees should be encouraged if both are to realise the full benefits of technology. Education is the key to convincing employees that telematics technology has the potential to protect not only their employer, the employees' source of a pay cheque, but could also protect the employees themselves from injury through over-exertion, criminal or regulatory prosecution and penalty, involvement in civil proceedings and even internal disciplinary proceedings.

The potential for business is enormous and the ability to acquire data which not only provides intricate commercial insights but which can also aid in your health and safety obligations, and employment obligations is surely worth consideration.

Admittedly, introducing telematics to your business could be expensive and it comes with a variety of yet to be resolved issues as telematics technology is still relatively new and advancements in terms of capability and cost are being regularly achieved. With correct governance and effective legal advice these issues can be readily overcome. Investment in telematics is to future proof your business and give you the data to form intelligent business strategy whilst protecting your firm and your employees from unnecessary interference from others.

Weightmans has an in depth understanding of telematics and how it works best for businesses like yours. Many legal issues arise when considering implementing telematics technology in your business and we have assembled a team of legal experts who can advise on the application of telematics when it comes to the following issues:

  • claims and litigation;
  • employment;
  • data utilisation and protection;
  • policy wording;
  • regulation and compliance; and
  • analytics – analysing trending, and risk profiling.

We are the experts in this field and will be there by your side as your trusted advisor to guide you through these all issues ensuring that you get the most out of the technology and that your processes and policies are fit for purpose. Not only that, but we will be there standing with you for the bumps that may occur along the way.

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