Written by BSM, a Geotab Company
on March 13, 2019

With a variety of plug-and-play hardware options, how can you ensure that you’re choosing the right one for your fleet? This week we’re focusing on some of the features you should look for when evaluating telematics hardware solutions.

On-Board Diagnostics (OBD)

First and foremost, it’s important to point out that while all plug-and-play telematics devices will plug into a vehicle’s OBD port, they don’t all capture the same level of information about what’s going on inside the vehicle. Some telematics devices use the diagnostics port for charging only, while others provide various data points about engine activity.

The Geotab GO device, for example, offers the broadest selection of protocols and can optimize fleet efficiency by providing the richest datasets available. Not only does the GO device capture all integral information, but it helps ensure you have the most productive and safe fleet possible.

Over the Air (OTA) Updates

Another essential component to the hardware is its ability to update the machine without incurring downtime for your fleet. You want your telematics hardware device to be able to capture newly deployed data capability, such as an engine trouble feature or an enhanced sharp braking data point. To do this, the hardware needs to be updated as these enhancements are developed.

Comprehensive & Clean Data

Using diagnostic fleet tracking with an OBD-connected telematics device, you’ll collect critical data from the vehicle. It is important to ensure the telematics device you choose captures all of the data points that you need to monitor your fleet, such as engine hours, check engine light status, engine faults, seat belt use, coolant temperature, true idling, fuel level, and etc.

Being able to access this data in a usable format will be of paramount importance. Geotab, for instance, has become the gold standard because of the way they clean the data, thereby simplifying it so it can be easily understood.

Device and Data Security

Data security is becoming an increasingly relevant concern for many companies, one that Geotab takes very seriously. They have built their devices with enhanced security features. Overall data security is also a primary focus for them, and they ensure access is only available to authorized parties.


More and more companies are adding hybrid and electric vehicles (EV) to their fleet mix. If doing so is on your current landscape or future roadmap, ensuring the telematics device is compatible is essential, as the data collected and monitored on these EV fleets is different than gas-powered fleets. When you’re evaluating telematics hardware choices, look for the ones from companies who have green as part of their existing product offering.

Geotab is making strategic investments in this area and offers a best-in-class telematics solution to customers with a mixed fleet of vehicles, or an entirely green fleet.

BSM, a Geotab company, makes it easy for you to manage your assets with one platform that is built to scale and drive your business forward. For an in-depth look at specific Geotab and BSM content, check out last week’s post on a large-scale Geotab deployment, and for more information on big, clean data, be sure to check out our series on big data, why it’s important, and how you can use it to benchmark your fleet diagnostics.


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