Exploring the differences: ELDs, video telematics and asset tracking

Fleet management · Jul 5, 2024

With the rapid advancements in technology, fleet management has become more efficient and effective than ever before. Telematics has revolutionized the way businesses track and manage their fleets. This technology merges telecommunications and informatics to provide a wide range of applications like vehicle tracking, fleet management, navigation and safety management. It involves the transmission of information from a remote object, such as a car or a shipping container, to a central system via wireless networks. 
Combined with solutions such as electronic logging devices (ELDs), video telematics (e.g. AI integrated dashboard cameras) and asset tracking, these technologies provide valuable insights into driver behaviour, vehicle performance and asset location, enabling companies to make informed decisions and optimize their operations. In this article, we will explore the differences between ELD, video telematics and asset tracking, and discuss the benefits of using a combined solution. We will also provide guidance on choosing the right solution for your business. So, buckle up and get ready to take your fleet management to the next level. 

What is an ELD?

In the realm of fleet management, ELDs have emerged as indispensable tools for monitoring the hours of service (HOS) of commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers. These devices function as electronic recorders, diligently tracking the driver's driving time, on-duty time and off-duty time. By capturing this crucial data, ELDs play a pivotal role in enhancing driver safety and compliance. These devices boost driver productivity by automating record-keeping, minimizing errors, and reducing paperwork.
However, the benefits of ELDs can extend beyond mere compliance. When integrated with a more comprehensive fleet management system (or telematics solution), these versatile devices also serve as valuable tools for tracking the location of CMVs and monitoring driver behaviour such as harsh braking, cornering or excessive speed. This real-time data empowers fleet managers with actionable insights, enabling them to identify areas for improvement, address potential risks and optimize fleet operations.
ELDs have revolutionized the way fleet management is conducted, providing a wealth of information that was previously unavailable. In Canada, the use of ELDs became mandatory across the country in 2023 (
learn more about the mandate on our blog
). By leveraging this technology, businesses can make informed decisions, drive operational efficiency and ultimately elevate their fleet management practices to new heights. Discover if you have the right ELD solution for your needs with our buyers’ guide: "
Maximizing the benefits of your ELD solution: A guide to finding the right technology partner
".

What is video telematics?

Video telematics systems, which often include dashboard cameras as part of their hardware setup, use GPS technology to track the location of vehicles in real-time, recording audio and video footage in and out of the cab. Similar to ELDs, when combined with telematics, dash cams collect data that can be used to improve safety, efficiency and compliance combined with the added benefits of advanced telematics and dash camera capabilities. This powerful combination provides businesses with a comprehensive view of their fleet operations, allowing them to analyze driver behaviour, monitor vehicle performance and identify potential areas for improvement.
Modern dashboard cameras equipped with AI make it easier to detect and alert drivers and fleet managers of unsafe driving behaviours that would likely not be identified by traditional vehicle tracking solutions. These events include distracted driving, drowsiness and fatigue, seat belt usage and phone usage. 
By capturing both audio and video footage, these systems can also be used to exonerate drivers in the event of an accident or dispute, reducing claim processing times and, in some cases, even leading to
reductions in insurance premiums
. In addition, advanced telematics capabilities can help reduce fuel costs, prevent vehicle wear and tear and optimize routing and dispatching.
Video telematics can also be used to track driver productivity and identify areas where improvements can be made. Optional 2-way audio and in-cab dash cameras allow fleet operators to coach drivers in real-time and review historical footage to improve training. By recording driver activity, businesses can ensure that drivers are following all applicable laws and regulations. This can help to avoid costly fines and penalties. Overall, video telematics systems are a valuable tool for businesses of all sizes.

What is an asset tracker?

Asset tracking is used to track the location and movement of assets, such as vehicles, equipment and inventory. These systems typically consist of a GPS device that is attached to the asset being tracked, a cellular modem that transmits the GPS data to a cloud-based server and a software platform that allows users to view and analyze the data. The device collects data about the asset's location, speed and direction, and the cellular modem transmits the data to the cloud-based server.
Asset tracking systems can be used for a variety of purposes, including:
  • Optimizing fleet management: Asset tracking systems can help fleet managers to track the location and movement of their equipment or heavy “off-road” machinery, such as tractors and excavators, which can help them to optimize routing and dispatching. If integrated with advanced sensors and telematics systems, asset tracking systems can also help fleet managers track driver behaviour and identify unsafe driving habits.
  • Tracking equipment and inventory: Asset tracking systems can help businesses to track the location and movement of their equipment and inventory, which can help them to prevent theft and unauthorized use. By tracking the usage of their equipment and inventory, businesses can make better, informed decisions about purchasing and maintenance.
  • Reducing insurance costs and improving risk management: Featuring real-time alerts for incidents like route deviations and delivery tracking, this tracking technology helps prevent theft, improve delivery accuracy and reduce insurance claims through geofencing at crucial points.
  • Improving customer service: Asset tracking systems can help businesses improve customer service by providing real-time information about the location and status of their assets. This information can help businesses respond to and resolve customer inquiries quickly and efficiently.
Asset tracking systems can provide businesses with a wealth of valuable information that can help them improve their operations and efficiency. See how they could help you
improve risk management for your business
.

Choosing the right solution for your business

By combining ELD, video telematics and asset tracking, businesses can create a comprehensive fleet and asset management solution that provides a wealth of benefits. This integrated approach offers a holistic view of fleet operations, improves driver safety and compliance, increases efficiency and productivity, reduces costs and enables better business decisions. By leveraging these technologies, businesses can transform their fleet management practices and achieve greater success. However, it's not necessary to implement all of them at once.
When selecting a fleet management solution, it's crucial to assess your business's specific requirements and objectives. Consider the size of your fleet and the features you prioritize, such as driver safety monitoring, route optimization or asset tracking capabilities. Evaluate the cost of the solution, making sure it aligns with your budget and provides a substantial return on investment. Compatibility with your existing systems and infrastructure is essential to avoid disruptions and ensure seamless integration. Lastly, consider the level of customer support and training offered by the vendor to guarantee ongoing assistance and expertise. By carefully evaluating these factors, you can choose the optimal fleet management solution that drives success, efficiency and growth for your business.
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