SAN ANTONIO - An investment in commercial vehicle telematics significantly helps fleets boost productivity while decreasing costs, according to a new analysis from Frost & Sullivan.

The white paper, "Commercial Vehicle Telematics is a Powerful Management Tool with a Clear Business Case and ROI for Fleet Operators," finds the market for telematics more advanced in heavy trucks than in light commercial vehicle fleets. In 2007, the penetration rate for fleet management systems (FMS) in large fleets (more than 50 trucks) was 33.2 percent; while in fleets of less than 20 trucks, the penetration rate reached 18.3 percent in the same year.

Technologies covered in the research are track and trace, fleet management systems, navigation, commercial vehicle telematics, and digital map data.

"By successfully implementing commercial vehicle telematics systems, fleets can become more competitive and improve their customer service," noted Frost & Sullivan Consulting Analyst Leonor Martinez.

The effectiveness of telematics is based on integrating more advanced map data for specific customers.

A complete FMS offers fleet operators benefits both in the field and back office. For instance, the benefits of a basic black box with track and trace features include real-time vehicle and driver tracking in addition to improved route planning. An on-board computer with a FMS offers, in addition to the above benefits, more information gathered from the vehicles as well as a large set of back-office management tools. In addition, an on-board computer offers all these benefits as well as a proper in-vehicle user interface for the driver. "A strong case for the ROI will drive telematics in heavy trucks and light commercial vehicles," said Michael Minich, Frost & Sullivan consultant. "Fleet operators should understand that ROI is progressive over time, first providing direct cost savings and then evolving to revenue increase from customer satisfaction and retention," said Martinez.

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