Telematics—the ability to pull data from a machine in the field—is a growing source of headaches for equipment fleet managers, surpassing even diesel engine emissions as the industry's major migraine, some say. A massive effort to set standards is under way, though, and stakeholders hope a deal may be only months away.
Managers at Hertz Equipment Rental Co., which operates a fleet of more than 60,000 pieces of equipment across some 260 branches, are on the front lines of the telematics war. Checking on a vehicle's location, utilization, engine health or maintenance schedule is no easy task, as each manufacturer has its own data protocol and web portal. A fleet manager at a company like Hertz needs to coordinate with hundreds of vendors to gain access to its data—with scores of user names and passwords to maintain—then spend countless hours cleaning up the numbers.