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  March 18th, 2024 | Written by

What Drives the Evolution of IoT in Fleet Management Today?

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The Internet of Things (IoT) has thoroughly disrupted the logistics industry. Many fleets have already adopted and seen promising results from connected technologies, but this transformation is far from over. The use of the IoT in fleet management is still evolving.

Despite rapid growth in a relatively short time, IoT fleet management technologies are still in their infancy. As they mature and related innovations advance, so will the benefits, uses and concerns around tech-driven fleet management.

Predictive Maintenance

The biggest drivers of IoT adoption in fleet management today will continue to grow. Predictive maintenance is the perfect example.

Some fleets have saved as much as $1 million in just four months after implementing IoT-driven predictive maintenance practices. Across the board, adopters of this technology typically see 25% reductions in unscheduled downtime and savings of $2,000 per vehicle annually. With ROIs that high, this IoT use case will likely be around for a while.

As more organizations catch on to these benefits, predictive maintenance will become less of a competitive advantage and more of an industry standard. Those savings are impossible to ignore and will only become more enticing as IoT sensors improve. With significant savings achievable today, this use case will lay the foundation for future IoT applications.

Driver Monitoring

Many fleet managers have also discovered IoT technologies provide an ideal tool for driver monitoring. After years of frequent disruptions, logistics companies can’t afford preventable delays or costs. That means cutting down on unsafe driving behaviors and the IoT provides the means to do so.

On top of tracking truck maintenance factors, IoT sensors can also detect noncompliance with some safety policies. These include seatbelt use, speeding, harsh braking or driving for extended periods without breaks. Real-time insight into these practices helps enforce safe driving protocols.

This IoT application can help fleets prevent accidents and avoid tickets to ensure safe, efficient, and cost-effective transport. It’s also an easy jump for companies already using telematics systems for maintenance or insurance reasons.


As the IoT in fleet management grows, it’ll also see a shift towards sustainability. Supply chains already face increasing pressure to go green, but that’s hard to balance with simultaneous demands for efficiency. Packing more on one vehicle to run fewer trips could reduce emissions and save time, but with some roof racks holding up to 1,000 pounds, those trucks will burn more gas per mile.

IoT-driven insights help balance these complex considerations. Data from routes and real-time insight into vehicle emissions provide the information fleets need to find the ideal middle ground between fuel efficiency and throughput. More efficient routing would address both sides.

The IoT can also improve sustainability by enabling more efficient maintenance practices. As electric trucks become more common, IoT connectivity could help drivers find nearby chargers to plan routes around these stops. Those benefits will become more enticing as green initiatives grow.

5G Connectivity

Specific applications aren’t the only parts of IoT fleet management evolving today. Improvements and expansion in complementary technologies will spur further IoT adoption in the sector. 5G connectivity is one of the most prominent examples.

While many fleets recognize the IoT’s benefits, implementing it can be tricky. All the data these systems create needs a reliable platform to support it going back and forth between devices. Many existing network technologies fall short, but 5G promises the speed, latency and bandwidth necessary for large-scale IoT adoption.

Technologists have made big promises about 5G’s potential for some time, but these networks are finally becoming widespread enough to deliver on that potential. Consequently, logistics companies should expect IoT adoption within the industry to grow in size and complexity now that they have the necessary network infrastructure to support it.

Edge Computing

As 5G promotes faster IoT data transmission, edge computing will push fleet management technology further. The edge refers to splitting computing tasks between nearby devices. It lets relatively simple, low-power gadgets perform impressive work and enables faster data-driven actions. However, it requires fast and highly reliable networks.

Those networks are now here, thanks to 5G. Improvements in IoT device functionality make edge computing even more practical. As these trends continue, they’ll take IoT applications in fleet management to new heights.

Edge computing will enable almost instantaneous analysis of vehicle data. That means faster maintenance alerts, immediate safety warnings about emerging traffic concerns and even opening the door to more reliable driverless functions.

Autonomous Driving

That last benefit of edge computing will undoubtedly drive IoT fleet management’s evolution in the future. Autonomous trucks aren’t a reality yet, but IoT connectivity and edge computing are keys to enabling them.

Driverless vehicles need extensive real-time data to navigate and recognize obstacles safely. A larger network of IoT sensors provides this capability. They also need to analyze and act on that data in an instant — edge computing enables those processing speeds.

Fleet managers can capitalize on the benefits of autonomous driving features before fully self-driving trucks become a reality, too. High-level driverless features reduce fatal traffic accidents by letting human drivers rest more, even if they sometimes need to take the wheel. Features like this could also attract less experienced or younger, tech-savvy employees, addressing the ongoing trucker shortage.

Cybersecurity Concerns

Of course, the negative side effects of IoT fleet management will push further evolution in this field, too. Most notably, increased IoT adoption will bring IoT-related security concerns into the spotlight.

Transportation is among the top 10 most-attacked industries and IoT vulnerabilities account for much of this cybercrime. For all their benefits, IoT systems are notoriously difficult to secure, thanks to their interconnected nature and typically weak built-in protections. Evolving IoT usage will put more emphasis on these risks, driving a focus on cybersecurity for future IoT fleet management initiatives.

While the cause behind this shift is bad, the change itself is ultimately good. The logistics sector will take cybercrime more seriously and, hopefully, adopt better security practices, such as data encryption, multi-factor authentication and real-time monitoring. Fleets may also become choosier about the kinds of IoT devices they use, looking for those with better built-in security.

The IoT in Fleet Management Is Evolving

Including the IoT in fleet management has already changed the game for many logistics companies. As this technology grows and related trends evolve, the extent and way this sector uses the IoT will likewise shift.

Getting ahead of these trends will help fleets get more out of their tech adoption. Evolving IoT usage may be tricky to navigate, but adapting alongside these considerations could be key to remaining competitive.