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What Does a Telematics Server do?

  • By Ryan Skidmore

Information Comes In Previously on the Carmine Blog, telematics devices send information via cell towers. Wherever there is cellular coverage, the device can send out the data it’s collecting. Cell towers send that information over the wired internet. This is the same infrastructure that allows computers to communicate with servers in different regions of the world. At this stage, there is no difference between telematics data and any other kind of information sent “over the wire.” Next, the server receives data. All that raw data enters into programs on the server and is processed into something useful.

Numbers Get Tracked Raw data can contain multitudes of information. The server is responsible for extracting information from the data so it can be served up in a sensible way to users. Data means very little to human minds until it is processed by the server. Location and GPS is the first kind of information contained in telematics data. From the time stamp and GPS coordinates of many points, much can be divined about the vehicles’ movements. Often, this information is combined with driver IDs or the locations of other vehicles to know who was in the field and what exact activities they might have been doing. When using a Plug n Play device, OBDii data is collected as well. Two uses emerge. First, troubleshooting. When something goes awry in a car and the check engine light comes on, there is usually an error code that reveals the malfunction. This code can be displayed in a telematics portal negating the vehicle being present in order to troubleshoot. Second is the ability to read what appliances are being used in-car. Some cars electronic systems sense when, say, the head lights are on or a seat belt is unbuckled. Support varies from model to model, but when its available this kind of information provides insight to what a driver is doing or how they are driving. Telematics devices can also have other kinds of sensors, such as accelerometers, that aid in painting a fuller picture of what is happening in the field.

All Served up To make information that is more than just raw numbers, the server presents this information in a visual format. At this point, there are usually multiple servers, but for simplicity we will refer to it all as the “server.” Commonly, users access their processed and served up telematics data by logging onto a portal. The portal is a dedicated web page designed to show live vehicle data and reports. Also, users can use an app to access the same information. Lastly, a server can send email and text alerts if the user desires. The server is the critical last leg that make the miracle of a telematics system possible. Most important is understanding that the Devices are the end all be all. Every piece of the system is critical.

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