4 tips for choosing the right vehicle tracking solution
January 18, 2019
Vehicle tracking solutions come in handy for both individual customers and business organizations. However, picking the right device can be challenging, especially if you have no experience in this matter. It’s essential that you understand the differences between tracking devices to navigate between the many choices available on the market safely.
Read this article if your company needs a vehicle tracking system, but you have no idea where to start. These tips will help you pick a GPS tracker that will take your business to the next level.
1. What will you use the tracker for?
This is the first question you need to ask yourself. A vehicle tracker for business use is different from simple GPS trackers used by individual customers. Most of the time, it has to do with the availability of data companies want to monitor and the pricing expectations of your business.
A personal GPS unit usually includes functionalities such as navigation, real-time map display, and voice instructions. A business owner might want something more. It’s common to expect a vehicle tracking system to include geo-fences and a broad range of monitoring options that allow gathering and analyzing data about the fuel consumption, accident reports, driver behavior, hours of inactivity, and much more.
It’s essential that you know your objective before investing in a vehicle tracking solution. It will help you understand whether the included features allow achieving these goals. Many vehicle tracking systems can do the following:
- Locate vehicles and track their movements in real-time to guard them against theft and gather useful data.
- Monitor mileage and fuel consumption, together with equipment and maintenance issues.
- Monitor driver behavior, including speed and driving patterns, hours of inactivity, aggressive maneuvers, and many others.
- Get historical data on vehicle movements for a particular period of time together with a list of addresses the vehicle has been to.
- Set geo-fences marking the areas on a map and receiving notifications whenever a tracker crosses one of these boundaries.
- Notifications and status updates via email, SMS, or push notification.
As you can see, a GPS tracker can bring many different benefits depending on which functionalities you focus on. Note that many hardware manufacturers are flexible when it comes to creating devices and if you fail to find a solution that addresses all of your business needs (and want to buy a large number of devices), you might be able to negotiate to have a device manufactured especially for you.
3. Types of the GPS trackers
Vehicle tracking systems come in many different shapes and sizes, but there are a few things you should know about them before purchasing your solution. When it comes to data retrieval and storage, you can differentiate between three types:
- Loggers – they log the vehicle’s position at regular intervals, saving the data on a memory card or built-in memory.
- Pushers – the most common type of tracking hardware, they regularly send data about the device’s position and specific car metrics such as speed, maneuvers, and driving patterns to a server where all information is stored and analyzed.
- Pullers – GPS transponders that are always on and don’t actually send data. However, you can query them whenever necessary.
Most of the time, GPS trackers are connected to the vehicle voltage as their energy source, and they will run for as long as the vehicle itself is running, switching to the internal battery whenever necessary.
Note that a tracker can be plugged into the vehicle’s onboard diagnostic port (OBD). That type of tracker will not only report about the location and movements of the vehicle but also monitor internal car systems to provide regular diagnostic updates and statistics about the fuel consumption, among others.
4. Consider these factors
Before buying a vehicle tracking system, make sure that there exists sufficient documentation that shows how to install and use the device to make the most of it. Otherwise, you might end up having to hire professionals to help you configure and maintain your devices.
Does the vendor offer an easily accessible support system, preferably with the option of getting in touch with a real person? If anything happens to your vehicle tracking solution, you need to be able to reach out to someone to figure things out.
Data processing server
A tracking device may collect many types of data at the same time, and you probably don’t want to receive all of it. Most expert GPS tracking hardware manufacturers provide servers for data processing, so make sure that your provider offers it as well.
That’s the most convenient way of monitoring the status of GPS devices and might come in handy for your business needs.
Does the vehicle tracking solution come with an alert system that helps you to stay up-to-date with the latest metrics and events? For example, if a vehicle makes the wrong turn or an accident takes place, you need to know about it right away. Professional vehicle tracking system will send you a push notification, SMS, or email to notify you.
Use these tips to pick the best vehicle tracking system for your organization and reap the many benefits such solutions offer to businesses that have fleets of vehicles.