US-based United Rentals – the largest rental company in the world by revenues – said it planned to significantly extend the use of telematics technology across its fleet.

In an earnings conference call, CEO Michael Kneeland said, “We currently have GPS on about 6,000 machines, mostly generators and select big equipment. We plan to extend telematics to another 160,000 units by the end of 2015.

“These will be units that put diesel engines and other types of powered equipment, such as electric scissor lifts, where telematics could potentially increase utilisation. The benefit is going to be in areas of preventive maintenance, employee productivity, and most of all, customer service, because telematics can reduce downtime.

“We are the industry's biggest advocate for technology, and this initiative is right in line with our focus on innovation. It also supports our strategy for rental CapEx, which is to manage and protect our assets as we move them through the rental process, in a way that generates optimum returns.”

Mr Kneeland’s comments came after a report released earlier this month suggested that demand for telematics from the North American construction equipment rental market was expected to increase between 13% and 15% over the next five years.

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