While the technology behind all GPS vehicle tracking systems is to gather location-based data is the same, it’s how the tracking data is transmitted, what data is transmitted and how all that data is presented to the user that differentiates quality GPS vehicle tracking from inferior products. Here are the five most important things to consider when choosing a vehicle tracking system:
1. Passive Tracking vs. Live Tracking
For passive tracking, all the GPS tracking data is stored in the receiver and must be downloaded once all the vehicles return for the day. Avoid systems that give the appearance of 1 or 2 min updates but only move the data every 15 or 30. What you want is active GPS tracking. Active tracking means that the data from the GPS receiver is transmitted to a remote user at regular intervals. The best systems transmit data every 2 minutes. This gives you real-time location information.
Many vehicle tracking systems utilize proprietary software that requires installation on your computer. These solutions also need frequent manual upgrades and downloads. Another drawback to proprietary software is that the GPS solution can only be used on computers with the proper installation. You want to look for a GPS tracking system that provides the information securely over the Internet. The flexibility and 24/7 accessibility of an Internet-based solution makes is the way to go when deciding on a specific vehicle tracking system. Freedom to view data from any internet connected device; desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone is ideal.
3. Quality Reporting
A GPS tracking solution should provide you with the data and reporting capabilities necessary to make informed business decisions. One key to reporting is flexibility. If a vehicle tracking system doesn’t allow you to automate reports on a weekly or monthly basis while also giving you the ability to generate reports instantly, cross that one off your list. The reports should be concise and easy to understand. Reports should be available in your choice of formats: download to spreadsheet, email or online. Important reports should include vehicle starts and stops, excessive idling times, speed violations and much more. Information should be archived for at least 1 year and customizable by time and date.
4. Alerting Feature
The GPS tracking solution you choose should include alerting features to notify you of unwanted behavior. Alerts should be flagged in relevant reports and you should also have the ability to be notified of any alerts as soon as a violation occurs via email or mobile device. Alerts can be triggered for excessive speeding and when a vehicle enters or exits specific geographic areas. The vehicle tracking system should also provide alerts to notify you when vehicles are due for scheduled maintenance. These alerts can be scheduled based on miles driven or engine-on time. If the GPS tracking system you are looking at does not include alerting features, forget about it.
5. Quality Mapping
If the GPS tracking provider isn’t partnered with a well-known mapping provider – like Bing mapping – to provide you with the most accurate and up-to-date mapping available, chances are it’d be a big mistake to invest in it. A vehicle tracking system’s mapping features should allow you to zoom all the way down to street level and provide, street map, satellite and birds eye views.
Next Week: 5 more important things to consider when choosing a vehicle tracking system.