Types Of Vehicle Tracking Equipment Used For Fleet Management
You have several options for vehicle tracking equipment when setting up a fleet management system for your business. Ideally, you should be looking for a perfect mixture of affordability, practicality, and features. A fleet tracking device, after all, is not simply a location tracker. It is much more than that. The best way to pick up a product will be to assess the pros and cons, weigh the applications in a given scenario, and then see which tracking equipment suits your needs the most.
Here are the three most important fleet tracking equipment types for you to consider:
Mobile Phone-Based Trackers
The first option is the simplest of the lot, though it does come with limited features when compared to other vehicle tracking equipment. You can use a regular smartphone for tracking your fleet vehicles just as you would use an actual fleet tracking device. All modern smartphones have GPS functionality which allows users to remotely track their phones in case they are stolen. This “Find My Phone” feature is a perfect anti-theft device that makes phones traceable over long distances via the internet.
Of course, the locational updates are far from being perfectly accurate, and you don’t get live updates either. However, if you want fleet tracking stripped of its sophisticated features, this may work for you.
There is no need for you to buy something – if you already have a phone, a relatively modern one, with GPS functionality and remote tracking features, you should be fine. You can either use the native “Find My Phone” feature from your phone, just as you would do for finding a lost phone, or you can install a third-party mobile application to it for GPS tracking. In both cases, you’ll get locational updates of your phone from inside one of your fleet vehicles and be able to use that data as a statement on the location of your fleet vehicles.
Note that this is not the same as tracking your vehicles because you are, in reality, tracking your phone placed inside your vehicle. Losing track of your company asset is quite easy in this scenario – if your driver leaves their phone back at home, for instance, you’ll have no idea about the location of your vehicle. The only reason you might want to go for this mode of vehicle tracking would be if you’re unsure about whether or not you want to dive deeper into fleet tracking or if you just want a taste of location tracking and fleet management before you commit to an existing system.
The features are limited, and apart from getting updates about the location of your cellphone, and that too, not perfectly accurate, there isn’t much you’ll get from using your mobile phone for vehicle tracking and fleet management.
Plug-and-Play Tracking Equipment
If you’re serious about getting trackers involved to track your fleet vehicles, then this is the option for you. Of the two types of vehicle trackers, the plug-and-play type is the simpler one in that it does not require any installation and is ready to use from day one. Both the plug-and-play kind and hardwired trackers draw in their energy supply directly from the vehicle, which means you won’t have to replace the batteries. The former is plugged straight into the OBD panel and starts transmitting data as soon as it is plugged into the relevant port.
In contrast, hardwired trackers have to be installed before use. Once plugged in, the first kind of trackers start reading the onboard diagnosis data coming from the vehicle through the OBD port and begin transmitting it wirelessly. The locational updates are transmitted almost continuously as the vehicle moves, but apart from that, the data also contains details about the way the car is being driven, the state of the vehicle, and other assorted details. In short, fleet managers will know the full picture, just as if they were sitting in the car themselves.
Fleet management systems that rely on plug-and-play devices are comparatively less expensive and simpler but work with the same efficiency as those using hardwired trackers. The information being transmitted is the same, the merits of employing the system are also the same, what changes are the degree of security offered. Hardwired devices are more difficult to install and harder to take off; they are better suited for offering a more fool-proof security measure for your fleet cars. But other than this, plug-and-play devices are more or less the same.
Hardwired Tracking Equipment
As the name suggests, this type of fleet tracking equipment is installed inside every fleet vehicle. It continuously transmits data about the location, speed, travel history, and overall conditions of the car. Some people prefer hardwired devices because they are harder to take off. In contrast, a plug-and-play device can be removed with ease. Of course, this only factors in when you want to create a fool-proof security protocol for your fleet vehicles, i.e., if they travel long-distance or if there is an elevated risk of auto crimes in your service area.
But this also means that setting up hardwired devices is also harder, and it is not free. Unlike the first kind, these devices need to be installed by trained professionals. You can’t handle the installation on your own. After installation and setup, you’ll be free to use the tracker just as you would do with a plug-and-play device. The details of the operation and the information shared is the same. More or less, the only bonus is the enhanced asset security in the event of theft. But all of this comes with a bigger price tag, an installation fee, and some other binding contractual agreements.
The only downside to installing hardwired devices is the installation process and the extra cost. Just like plug-and-play trackers, hardwired devices also draw their electricity directly from the fleet vehicle and thus don’t need to be hooked up with batteries. Other than that, these devices work rather well and deliver excellently on all fronts.
This type is very different from all three trackers or tracking equipment described so far because it is battery-powered and not installed or set up out in the open. To deliver flawless security for your fleet vehicles, you’ll need to use a hidden tracker as a backup/retrieval gadget. This type of device is even more effective than a hardwired tracking device because it is not lying out there in the open to be seen but instead transmits data out of sight. There are a ton of ways these trackers can be installed but make sure to keep them well hidden – that is the point.
On top of this, you’ll have to give some time to your thoughts about placing the tracker smartly, and secretively. Note that this type of tracker can’t be used for fleet management – fleet tracking must be disclosed to the drivers, otherwise, it will lead to legal trouble. Instead, such trackers are a contingency plan for security reasons. Plus, hidden trackers require batteries for power, unlike the plug-and-play devices and hardwired tracking equipment discussed so far.
You can disclose the presence of such a tracker to your drivers, but tell them why it is hidden and how it will help your company respond to auto crime.
This last entry of fleet tracking equipment is not what you would conventionally define as trackers – dash cams are cameras. But they do fit in very excellently and do much more than simply record your driving experience. Dashcams also come with Parking Mode, which will help protect your fleet vehicles against theft and vandalism. Many dash cams integrate with fleet tracking systems to help you track your cars and see from the perspective of your drivers. This is not a must-have component but will help your fleet tracking efforts a lot.
Dash cams are quite affordable nowadays and come with HD quality video footage which is good enough to make your dashcam footage admissible evidence in the case of accident or theft, and so on. Plus, you can live-monitor the performance of your drivers, preempting any troubles on the road – a perfect win-win!
Fleetr Is The Perfect Vehicle Tracking Equipment Package For Small Fleets
Affordability and premium features are the perfect way of describing what Fleetr brings to the table. Fleetr is high-end enough to be useful in more ways than an average fleet tracking solution, especially for smaller fleets, but at the same time, it offers everything for affordable rent – only $9.99 per vehicle per month. The tracker is shipped for free once you buy our subscription, and there are no extra or hidden charges. It is a piece of plug-and-play tracking equipment which means that it goes straight into the OBD panel and can be used from day one. After installing the device, just download the Fleetr app on your smartphone and PC, set it up with the tracker device, and get started with fleet tracking.
If you’re still unsure about how Fleetr is the perfect solution for all of your fleet management needs, give us a call, and we’ll show you why our product excels in the competition.