Why hardware telematics is not the right solution for some fleets and company drivers

Over the years, businesses have mostly focused on installing telematics devices (IVMS) in their vehicles to manage their driver risk. However, for a variety of reasons, traditional telematics may no longer be the right answer or the only solution that a company requires. Here we will list all the reasons why an alternative, app only solution may be a better option for some (if not all) your company vehicles. 

1. The makeup of the vehicles driven

The makeup of vehicles driven for work has changed a great deal. It’s now very rare for a company to own or lease all the vehicles that are driven for work. Many employees will have car allowances, be using their own vehicles, be sharing vehicles with colleagues or may even be renting vehicles on a regular basis. All of these reasons mean that driver centric rather than a vehicle centric safety and risk solution may be required to cover all your work drivers.  

2. What you intend to measure and improve

If your business does not need the operational track, trace and deployment features for your company drivers, then there could be a good chunk of core telematics features and functionality you will not need to utilise. You may also be interested in measuring and improving certain aspects of risk, like mobile phone distraction, which you would not be able to track with a hardware solution. 

3. One-off and ongoing costs 

The cost of a full blown telematics solution may just be prohibitive, depending on the size of your budget and the number of drivers you would like to include. By going for an app based solution you can dramatically reduce the cost associated with implementing a driver risk solution. This would mean no upfront hardware costs, no installation or servicing costs. The per-driver cost can also be significantly cheaper. When you factor these in an app-based solution could be up to 80% cheaper than a traditional telematics solution. This can especially be the case if all your workforce already have smartphone devices (either for work or personal use) for the deployment of the driver safety app.   

4. Ease of deployment

Taking all your existing drivers and vehicles off the road (even for a short period of time) to install and deploy a telematics solution across your company could be too big a logistical challenge for your business. Even self install IVMS solutions plugged into the vehicle OBD port present logistical challenges for deployment in terms of physical distribution, extension cables for specific vehicles, configuration and in-life management of lost or damaged devices. In comparison, sending an email invite to download an app from an app store or pushing the app on to all work devices could be a significantly simpler way of deploying a driver safety solution across all your company drivers. 

5. Managing IVMS as your fleet changes

Fleets change almost continuously driven by staff changes and operational practicalities. Vehicles are sold on, new vehicles are sourced for replacement or for the growing fleet as new employees join. This requires constant management to recover/decommission IVMS hardware, arrange installs for new vehicles or reconfigure driver to vehicle associations. All electronic devices are subject to certain levels of failure and IVMS is not alone especially when factoring in the harsh automotive environment and the ingenuity of man to identify and tamper.  

One solution is to pass some of this complexity over to your leasing provider where they have a strong telematics distribution partnership but that may limit your flexibility to choose the best solution for your business.  

The app based alternative can be as simple as deployment via email, support via email and chat directly between your drivers and the app provider, and decommissioning at the click of a button.


Depending on the countries your business operates in, having a fully GDPR compliant and driver privacy focused solution, which is proportionate to the business need in not reporting on the location of your drivers and giving employees complete control over their privacy could be a key requirement. In this instance, a driver privacy-first app based solution could be the easiest way of achieving the required compliance.  


If one or more of these factors are applicable to your business then you should definitely be investigating the potential of an app based driver safety solution for your drivers. Based on your business requirements they may prove to be cheaper and easier to implement across all of your drivers whilst giving you access to the most powerful IVMS device in your fleet today, the Smartphone! If you’d like to find out more about app based solutions then, please get in touch with us.     

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