Picking the right data collection technology for your smartphone telematics programs can be an overwhelming task, but there are simple ways to narrow down your options. Start by evaluating these self-powered telematics device data collection advantages and challenges.
From an insurer’s perspective, self-powered device (wireless tags/ IoT sensors) solutions exhibit many of the best characteristics of combined telematics hardware and smartphone solutions. Self-powered devices are cost-effective, reliable and enhance mobile telematics by delivering more accurate trip detection, driving events and vehicle identification by the driver simply placing the stand-alone device in the car.
While the device identifies the vehicle used in the trip it also helps minimize mobile battery usage. Because the insured individual contributes the smartphone to the solution and pays the costs of data transmission as part of the cellular phone contract, the insurer does not bear device costs or cellular plan expenses, however, there are tradeoffs to the advantages associated with these solutions, detailed in the table below:
|SELF-POWERED DEVICE ADVANTAGES||SELF-POWERED DEVICE CHALLENGES|
|Delivers consistent, highly reliable vehicle identification and accurate trip detection: Because the battery-powered Bluetooth device is used to identify a vehicle, it enhances mobile telematics trip detection, identifying the vehicle accurately and validating the actual trips in progress, while the smartphone app identifies the driver.||Requires more involvement from the policyholder: Insured individuals must provide a compatible smartphone and then complete the steps in configuring the telematics app. The policyholders must also remember to bring along their smartphones whenever driving, with Bluetooth enabled, to complete the data transmissions.|
|Improves mobile smartphone battery consumption and privacy: With accurate driving trip detection enabled, smartphone trip recording can be turned off when a Bluetooth connection is not active, extending battery life. Policyholders gain assurance that only vehicle validated trips are being recorded, addressing privacy concerns.||Uses policyholders wireless plan for data transmission: Self-powered device solutions require that the insured individual have an active wireless data plan and maintain it in good standing over the course of the policy term.|
|Reduces operational costs for insurers: Policyholders, rather than the insurer, bear the cost of the cellular data plan that transmits collected data from the smartphone. Wireless tags/ IoT sensors devices are lower in cost than their cellular counterparts by relying on the smartphone for data transmission.||Introduces a greater need for support: Insurers will need to provide more support for insured individuals, who may need help with smartphone installations, wireless tag setup, application use, data communication issues, and so on.|
|Provides collision/crash detection data: To effectively support post-collision claims handling, self-powered device solutions capture data related to the collisions.||Requires smartphone be present and active in collisions: First notice of loss (FNOL) communications cannot be relayed unless the user has the smartphone in the vehicle, powered on.|