How to Make Your Telematics Technology More Actionable

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Fleet managers use John Deere's telematic technology

Telematic technology has come a long way since it first appeared in heavy construction equipment two decades ago. Now standard in most new machines, fleet managers are using telematics to track machine health and performance finding the task is faster, more flexible and more accurate. Today, telematic data is the core of most fleet manager's heavy equipment maintenance and repair programs.

In 2010, John Deere, along with other construction equipment OEMs, helped develop the AEMP Telematic API (ISO 15143-3:2016), a remarkable bit of computer code that allows fleet managers to integrate new telematics digital information into existing fleet management systems. In short, the AEMP API normalizes all data collected from each respective OEM's vehicle to a consistent standard of naming convention and calculation. The result is all the information delivered from any mixed fleet's vehicles to the fleet manager's software all speaks a common 'language'.

How does Telematics Technology Work?

Utilizing a range of electronic sensors which are frequently designed with the OEM's machine and applications in mind, telematic systems can relay performance and health data for every control system on the machine. The real value, though, is found in the interpretation of the collected data. For this reason, real time actionable data tops fleet managers list of what they consider the most useful information collected by their telematics systems. From small 't' telematic data like that generated by a smart oil filler cap that detects unusual engine vibration to system-wide sensors that watch operator performance and evaluate equipment efficiency, machine control monitoring provides the stuff from which maintenance and repair decisions are made. 

In its most robust application, telematic technology can predict and alert managers to a pending catastrophic machine failure. James Leibold, John Deere's product manager for connected solutions, notes it only takes one expensive failure to convince a fleet manager to make use of John Deere's telematics. "All Deere dealers can walk fleet managers through their JDLink™ data and show how they could have avoided that larger failure through machine monitoring, and it usually only happens once before customers see the value," says Leibold. 

John Deere's machine equipment monitoring program, enabled through the company's JDLink™ connectivity as part of John Deere's Connected Support package, is an excellent example of how fleet managers are able to work with their local dealer to make the most of their telematic data.

JDLink is standard on most new John Deere construction vehicles, providing the connectivity between the fleet manager, dealer, and telematic- fitted machine. When a vehicle's machine control sensors generate a real time diagnostic trouble code, that data code flows seamlessly to both the fleet manager's dealer and Deere's Central Machine Health Monitoring Center.  

At the local dealership, a dedicated technician - who Leibold refers to as 'Top Guns' for their depth of knowledge and experience - monitors the equipment's data stream with an eye towards discovering data patterns that suggest a failure incident, is at hand. 

Upon recognizing an issue, the local Top Gun quickly analyzes the information and sends an alert message to the fleet manager, dealer, the operator, and anyone else the contractor has chosen to include in the monitoring chain of responsibility. The dealer technician's wealth of hands-on experience and extensive training allows him to prioritize the alerts by severity - blue alerts are minor issues, such as the machine's operator took his seat belt off. Yellow alerts use the analytic portion of the telematic system and speak to issues such as low fuel, rising fluid temperatures, pressures, or unusual operator performance. Red alerts are 'hot' and require immediate attention. In some cases, with the fleet manager's approval, the Top Gun tech can make real time remote adjustments to the vehicle to ward off a potential failure and down time. If a failure does occur, the Top Gun can send a field repair truck or schedule an immediate shop appointment. 

This same data is also sent to John Deere's Central Machine Health Monitoring Center where it is analyzed for possible trends in a particular model's performance and studied so as to develop the best solution and provide dealers detailed repair procedures required to correct the situation. Information from thousands of connected machines is also used to improve preventative maintenance and repair protocols.

John Deere's continuing commitment to industry-leading technology was readily apparent with recently announced unique and significant changes to its JDLink Connectivity Service

Beginning July 14, 2021, customers with active JDLink connectivity will no longer be required to renew their subscriptions. John Deere has taken the unprecedented step to make their JDLink connectivity available at no cost.

Current JDLink subscribers will find a prompt on their John Deere dashboard showing how to seamlessly merge from their current paid subscription to their new no-cost access. Once the customer enables JDLink connectivity, they can select automatic activation on all of their future JDLink compatible equipment, eliminating the need and expense of updating their connectivity subscription. 

“John Deere has offered telematics for well over a decade and the boost in machine monitoring and machine uptime has been an overwhelming benefit to our customers, “says James Leibold, Deere's product manager for connected solutions. “With the next phase of our JDLink offering, we are making it easier for customers to manage their fleets. Instead of needing to keep track renewal dates by each machine, owners and fleet managers can look at monitoring their equipment holistically and can focus on what’s important – keep their job sites running.”