Telematics Data: How Real-time Scoring Affects Battery Drain

telematics-dataIn an earlier post, we discussed Progressive’s Lead Foot Report, and the revealing underwriting data made possible for usage based insurance data collection.

Today, we’re taking a different angle on data. We’re talking about what it takes for a smartphone battery to transmit data from the phone to the cloud.

Why? Because telematics apps that don’t calculate driving events in real time must store large chunks of data until the end of each trip, at which time they then upload data to the cloud for processing.

Take a closer look at the chart below which shows actual data for a smartphone app without real-time data calculation and for the Driveway telematics app, which calculates driver scores in real time.

 Upload Size Comparison: Real-Time Scoring vs. Cloud Scoring

Type of UBI App1 hr. trip2 hr. trip3 hr. trip4 hr. trip
Upload size of data transfer to cloud for app without real time calculations20.9 MB41.7 MB62.6 MB83.5 MB
Upload size of data transfer to cloud for Driveway app with real time calculations0.2 MB0.4 MB0.6 MB0.8 MB

As you can see, real-time scoring makes a very significant difference. For telematics apps that delay scoring until after transmission to the cloud, the data load is exponentially larger. The longer the trip, the larger the data load, because data continues to accumulate until the trip’s conclusion.

Additionally, the battery power used to transmit large chunks of data can get much worse if the cellular reception is weak. In other words, the weaker the signal, the more power the phone has to apply to the signal strength and the more times it has to retransmit chunks of data (dropped because of a weak signal).

If you have any question about how large data transmissions might impact phone performance, try sending a friend 41.7 MB of photo files and see how it depletes your battery. Yikes!

Of course, there’s more to the real-time question than just battery drain. Real-time scoring also makes real-time driver feedback possible, which is the whole point of a telematics initiative for many insurers.

The takeaway: When you set out to forge your telematics strategy, there are a few crucial decisions to be made:

  1. Will you use an OBD dongle or a smartphone?
  2. Will usage based insurance serve merely as a vehicle for discount delivery or will it serve a larger purpose of continuously engaging and delighting policyholders and helping them become safer drivers?
  3. Depending on your answer to #2, which app configuration better achieves your goals: real-time driving score calculation or delayed in-cloud driver score calculation?

To learn more about how Driveway Software works, download our Fact Sheet here.

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