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Telematics refers to the use of wireless devices and “black box” technologies to transmit data in real time back to an organization. Typically, it’s used in the context of automobiles, whereby installed or after-factory boxes collect and transmit data on vehicle use, maintenance requirements or automotive servicing. Telematics can also provide real-time information on air bag deployments or car crashes and locate stolen vehicles by using GPS technology. In addition, telematics can serve as the platform for usage-based insurance, pay-per-use insurance, pay as you drive (PAYD) insurance, pay how you drive (PHYD) programs for fleet insurance, or teen driving programs for retail business. Telematics has expanded beyond personal line deployments, and can also be used by commercial auto insurers for fleet products, driver data and vehicle monitoring. New models are emerging, however, called “mobile telematics,” in which smartphones connect to the car’s computer system to pull data and send this to the insurer using the phone’s wireless network.

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