OBD Telematics Devices Being Replaced by Connected Car APIs

April 28, 2023
Almost all new cars sold today are in some way ‘connected’. Telematics devices are now being pushed out of the market with in-built technology that does not require additional hardware. Strategic partnerships with brands allow end-user access to live vehicle data directly from the manufacturer, paving the way for an endless amount of use cases for car telematics data when managing a fleet.

Let’s explore the reasons why telematics devices are being replaced with Connected Car APIs, how High Mobility is a vital partner with brands, and how we harness live vehicle data.

What is a Connected Car API and how does it help with Managing a fleet?

API stands for Application Programming Interface and is the go-between for accessing information from a source and loading it onto a bespoke piece of software that has been created to solve a problem. 

At High Mobility our APIs serve businesses who are seeking the best option for managing and monitoring their vehicle fleet. With one data model for all brands we onboard, it’s possible to connect multiple brands with our API. Allowing full integration with your fleet management solution.

A fleet management solution is a piece of software that is a tailor-made or off-the-shelf solution that allows businesses to manage a fleet. It is tied to an end-user interface and displays vital information that helps run business operations, improve efficiency and maintain a fleet of vehicles.

What is a Connected Car?

A connected car is a vehicle that is online and connected to the local mobile data networks. This has a range of benefits for businesses and vehicle owners, primarily being able to connect the vehicle to a smartphone app and monitor its location, lock status, fuel level and more with a few simple taps.

In the future, we will use connected cars as part of our infrastructure. To accurately monitor traffic, safety conditions, other road users and data analytics for companies and local governments. Check out our What is a Connected Car? Article for deeper dive into Connected cars.

What is an OBD Telematics Device?

As an aftermarket solution, OBD telematics devices plug into the OBD port of the vehicle and allow fleet management software to connect and receive live vehicle data. These are now becoming obsolete as brands are incorporating wireless data transmission devices within their vehicle architecture. 

An OBD telematics device also has its limitations and can be pricey to install. They are not as connected as modem in-built solutions and have to be installed, in person, by a professional. They are also expensive to upkeep with monthly subscriptions and update costs.

OBD technology has been around for several decades and is being slowly phased out.  This is especially noteworthy if you own a new EV, as an OBD port is not installed. Brands instead are opting for a wireless app approach for both owners and repair workshops. 

OBD dongles are also limited in their security. With a lack of built-in protection on OBD devices, the more affordable products have a greater chance of being hacked. This affects not only the vehicle safety, but the server that the telematics data is sent to, and the network of the device manufacturer.

How OBD Telematics Devices are Limited

The time has come to replace clunky OBD devices as they are expensive to buy and install, take a long time to implement, and need maintenance from time to time. Unlike over-the-air updates, maintenance involves a trained technician having to physically diagnose and repair units on site. 

Any time a unit fails in the field then the driver has to take the vehicle in for repair too. Costing more time and investment. Therefore it is far from ideal at a time when the economies are struggling. 

After repair and maintenance, an OBD telematics device has to be re-checked to make sure the installation was performed correctly. Plus, the hardware has to be removed at the end of business ownership. Meaning the device could be rendered useless and thrown away, or sent back to the device owner at additional cost.

Also, the limitations of data capturing for OBD devices make them less capable than in-built telematics devices. OBD device manufacturers have access to a limited set of data points too. With in-built devices, a wider range of sensor data, location, diagnostics and more can be accessed without the need for additional hardware.

Benefits of Connected Car APIs

  • More accurate data - Due to seamless integration between a vehicle ECU, its sensors and the telematics device. The API displays the data within fleet management software allowing for vehicle performance to be analysed in real-time. Enabling fleet operators to see useful insights on fuel usage, engine health and diagnostic data.
  • Tracking in real-time - location data is important during a breakdown or emergency. Connected car APIs provide fleet managers with instant location data, including direction, speed and driving time to gain accurate knowledge of the situation a driver might be facing including vehicle theft, breakdowns or accidents.
  • Enhanced Security - geofencing, remote access to windows and doors, and immobilising engines can all be part of a connected car API solution. This helps recover a vehicle after theft and limits the number of people that are allowed to use a vehicle.
  • Integration with Multiple Systems - With connected car APIs integrated into routing systems, maintenance and more, fleet managers have a streamlined workflow and improved efficiency when major components of a business work together.
  • More flexible - connected car APIs have greater flexibility when it comes to hardware and software. As OBD devices are only compatible with a certain set of vehicles and protocols, advanced APIs (including High Mobility’s) offer integration over a wide range of vehicles and programs for your complete fleet management solution.

The Solution to OBD Telematics Devices - How Embedded Hardware Helps Fleet Managers

With the eventual demise of OBD telematics devices, gone are the days of additional hardware being plugged into vehicle's OBD ports. Instead, High Mobility is the connected car API solution partner for your fleet management solution. We partner with all the major car brands including Porsche, Ford, BMW, Stellantis, Renault, Mini and more, we have the ultimate API solution to monitor your fleet. Best of all, no additional hardware is required.

Fleet managers use our API solution to create bespoke interfaces that monitor a wider range of vehicle data than OBD telematics devices. Data capabilities include geofencing, fuel level, diagnostics data and more. Our single API allows for multiple brand integration, no matter what you use in your fleet - we have one platform that covers all. 

In today’s connected world, we need to be sure our data is safe. With regulations across the globe, High Mobility handles live vehicle data and personal information securely using encryption and password protection with two-factor authentication. We even are on board with data standards agencies including TISAX, who are involved directly with the German Automotive Industry leaving nothing to chance.

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