A Comprehensive Guide to Fleet Tracking Systems


Chapter 7

The recommended fleet tracking devices for businesses with less than 10 fleets

If you have a very small fleet, you might want to get a standalone tracking device for each of your vehicles. You could even consider a tracking systems that uses satellites instead of cellular data transmission.

A satellite-based tracking device makes use of satellites to transmit data, and these satellites might be more expensive than using AT&T, Verizon and other telecommunications and mobile networks to do the job. However, one advantage of using satellites is that it allows you to avoid monthly contracts and recurring costs. You are not tied to any third-party company. That means that if you are not using your fleet vehicles, then you would not have to pay for anything.

Plus, with smaller fleets, you will not be transmitting huge amounts of data. Even with the more expensive rates involved in using satellites to transmit your data, it will be cheaper in the long run.

Most standalone trackers are also very affordable, with a lot of these devices going for a little more than $50 to around $100.

You might also want to consider using a plug and play OBD II tracking device. This way, you can just install it yourself.

Furthermore, if you are not using all your vehicles all the time, it might help to use standalone trackers. For instance, if you have a rental car business, you can put the tracker from one vehicle to another. This means that you can buy fewer standalone tracking devices than the number of your vehicles, allowing you to save more.

Another type of standalone trackers are passive trackers. If you do not need real time information, you can make use of passive trackers to help save on costs.

For instance, check out Tramigo’s small fleet solutions. Tramigo gives you tracking devices such as the T23 Track and the M1 Move, which you install on your car, truck or lorry and you are good to go. You do not have to pay license fees, annual or monthly fees, or get a subscription plan. You only pay for the data connection or SMS messages sent. In short, you get all the data you need out of the box, and you do not need to deal with any third parties.

The recommended fleet tracking devices for businesses with 10 to 30 fleets

For mid-sized fleets, you must consider that using satellites to transmit data is going to become more and more expensive for fleets with 10 to 30 vehicles.

You might want to consider those hard drive tracker systems. These fleet tracking devices usually makes use of a mobile network and comes with a monthly fee. Think of it like a mobile network contract. On top of the cost of the tracker itself, you would also need to pay a monthly service fee for cellular transmissions.

The LMU 2720 from FoxTrax costs $115, and has a monthly fee of less than $20 per device. The tracker is hardwired onto your vehicle and works with the Verizon Network. You can get real time reporting, your maps update every second, while reports refresh every 20 seconds. If you move out of coverage, the device will cache the location data for you to access later on or for the device to transmit when it returns to Verizon’s coverage area.

Service providers, such as FoxTrax do not require you to sign a contract. You would need, however, to keep your payments current or risk getting your service discontinued.

These systems are ideal for those companies that need real-time location data and satellite-based trackers are no longer practical. With 10 to 30 vehicles, it might be more cost-efficient, spend for a monthly fee rather than using satellites to transmit the data, or to pay as you go.

The recommended fleet tracking devices for businesses with more than 30

Larger fleets with more than 30 vehicles can make use of hard drive tracker systems. However, it might prove to be very demanding in terms of computing resources. Your data center can become overwhelmed with all the data that you can receive from your tracking devices, especially if you require real time location information from each and every vehicle that you have. Imagine all of your 200 vehicles sending you piece of data per second. This will certainly take a toll on your data center. You would soon have problems with your bandwidth, and your computers would have performance slow- downs, trying to crunch all these data to create the reports you need to do your work, and give you insights. Moreover, you will have problems with storage. Over time, these little bits of data will take up so much space.

So for larger fleets, you might want to go with remote hosted systems.

Remote hosted systems save you money because you do not really purchase, host or administer any software or hardware. You just pay for the tracking unit and all the data you want or need will be gathered and processed in the service provider’s servers. You will have access to the data using a portal that the service provider gives you. From the portal, you can view the raw numbers, the reports, and the insights that are churned out by the Web based systems.

In effect, all that data is transmitted and stored in your service provider’s data center. Their computers process the data and create the report. All you need to do is log into your portal to view these reports. Your own company’s computers are then free from having to crunch these numbers and data. No slowing down of performance, no need to buy extra storage devices, and you get faster reports via a Web interface. You can even download, export, sort and create reports.

Remote hosted systems come with a contract that lasts at least a year.

A good example of this is Live Trac G5. The Live Trac G5 systems requires you to pay $239 for the tracking device itself, then a $20 activation fee and a monthly subscription of $30 to $40.