Best Practices in Big Data Telematics – Everything You Need to Know

Apr 4, 2023


In the past two decades, no single technology has made an impact on trucking like telematics. The “big data” approach to fleet management gives companies the precise location of trucks and loads, it allows to plan and optimize routes, communicate delivery times to clients, and track information as varied as maintenance updates, hours of service, and logbook details.

But a telematics solution is only as strong as its weakest link. To get the highest ROI from this major investment, companies should consider some key principles.

Watch the presentation – How Big Data and AI Enhance Fleet Management

The right input for your goals

As the expression “garbage in, garbage out” goes, what you get out of a system is only as good as what you put into it.

  • Know what data you want to capture and make sure it’s the right type and format to fit the system you’re uploading it to. A good telematics provider will help you with this.
  • Establish what your goals are. Start with the end in mind: what do you want to achieve with your telematics solution? Knowing what you want out of the system means better decisions about what to put into it.
  • Practice not only road safety, but digital safety as well. A telematics provider can provide best-in-class security for your data on its servers, but you must also consider the elements under your own control such as secure logins and strong passwords.

Intake and processing

The sheer volume of information—ISAAC, for instance, collects over 200 terabytes of data per year—means your telematics provider needs a solid infrastructure and processes.

  • Ingestion: Does your telematics solution accept all data as is, or does it intelligently manage batch loading and ETL (extract, transform, load) processes that pull data, convert it for compatibility, and move it into a central repository?
  • Processing: Is the system “cleaning” your data, validating it, and organizing it so it can be used across different platforms and let you visualize it in useful ways?
  • Scaling: Is your telematics provider bound by hardware limits, or do they have the ability to scale to cloud platforms for regulatory or performance purposes?
  • Cloud use: Is there proper monitoring of your data pipelines? Does your provider have a continuous integration and delivery philosophy, investing in R&D to keep their practices up to date?

A provider working in your interest

You can buy a $500 drill, but if the job is to drive a nail, you only need a $10 hammer. Does your provider truly understand your requirements and use the right measures for meeting them?

  • Cost management: Your provider should help you make the most of tools like group processing and keep only data you need, to avoid overscaling and being billed more than necessary.
  • Tool selection: Your provider should not only provide a solid platform, but help you bring in carefully vetted third-party tools for greater cost efficiency, rather than custom building expensive tools in isolation.
  • Leveraging expertise: Your staff is busy. A provider should offer resources that complement yours, such as cloud development engineers, software developers, and data analysis engineers.

A network to make your job easier and your fleet more effective

In aggregate, a great telematics solution should look something like this: a web of information, pulling in strands of data from across your trucking network, and converting it into actionable intelligence.

Behind this infrastructure lies thousands of crucial decisions. A telematics partner that adopts the best practices will be firing on all cylinders and make data a key to your ongoing fleet success.

Watch the presentation – How Big Data and AI Enhance Fleet Management

About the authors

Rahat Yasir, M.Sc.

Director of Data Science – AI ML, ISAAC Instruments

Rahat Yasir is Director of Data Science – AI ML at ISAAC. He leads all initiatives for building a data-driven and AI-powered transportation industry. He was selected as Canada’s top 30 software developer under 30 in 2018. He is an eight-time Microsoft Most Valuable Professional Award holder in the Artificial Intelligence category. He has years of experience in imaging and data analysis application development, cross-platform technologies and enterprise system designing. He is the author of multiple software engineering books and a number of research publications in the data science domain.

Azrul Danial Mohamad

Software Architect (Cloud), ISAAC Instruments

Azrul Danial Mohamad is a Cloud Architect at ISAAC with 8 years of professional experience in IT and Cloud Design and Architecture. As part of ISAAC’s Data and AI team, his primary responsibility is to create and oversee solution architectures of the ISAAC Big Data and AI Platform, to ensure scalability, security, and cost effectiveness. His passion lies in developing meaningful and right-fit solutions to help drive businesses forward and keep the wheels turning for our clients.

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