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5 Tips for Choosing the Right GPS Fleet Trackers for Your Needs Brian Dziuk | Aug 22, 2018 2:20:32 PM

Using global positioning system (GPS) technology as part of your fleet management toolkit is a cost-effective way to make your organization and fleet operations more efficient.

However, choosing the right GPS fleet tracking devices for your organization’s asset or vehicle tracking system can be challenging because there are so many options available on the market today. As the use of this technology by fleet managers continues to increase across various industries, it’s imperative to ensure that you’re using the right type of devices for your organization’s fleet management needs.

Here are a few things to consider when evaluating GPS fleet trackers for fleet management:

1. Know What You Want to Track with GPS Fleet Tracking

The first step is to decide what you’re tracking. Are you trying to track the locations of small vehicles, such as rental cars? Are you trying to track and monitor a fleet of big rigs and semis for long-haul freights? Are you monitoring the conditions of construction equipment or even oil and gas fleet vehicles? Or, are you trying to track rental equipment such as portable generators or even refrigerated trailers? All of these fleet management needs require different fleet tracking device functionalities.

Or, if you need to track something different such as a person or another individual asset in a wet or moist environment, the GL300VC may be a good option because it is water resistant and features a thumb-sized button that enables the user to send out emergency alerts and their location using geofencing. It also is highly versatile because it can use either battery power or an external DC power supply.

2. Choose Between Real-Time Tracking or Periodic Updates

Real-time tracking for fleet management is an incredible advantage for many organizations. A real-time GPS tracker enables you to know precisely where your vehicle or asset is located at any time 24 hours a day, seven days a week. With intermittent updates, the devices will periodically transmit new locations as an asset moves.

Real-time tracking is particularly useful for law enforcement, emergency management, and other local or municipal government agencies. When you equip fleet vehicles with GPS tracking devices and use a fleet management software tool like geofencing to track them, you can receive a notification every time a tagged vehicle enters or leaves specific areas.

If, on the other hand, your fleet management needs require battery life more than continuous location updates, the TTU-700 is a solution to consider. This fleet tracking device is designed for long-term tracking, communicating periodic updates rather than provide real-time tracking. The device can last about seven years when configured to only send one daily location update per day.

Some GPS tracking devices are equipped with motion sensors, which helps to minimize power usage when the asset or vehicle is stationary or deactivated.

3. Decide If You Need Short-Term or Long-Term Tracking

A photo of GPS fleet trackers from Rastrac, which organizations can use to improve efficiency and safe money.Are you looking for something that would be ideal for tracking of a few days or weeks, or are you looking for a GPS fleet tracking device that can track for months or years at a time? Your answer will help you to determine the type of power supply you will need for your GPS tracker.

Battery life can vary between fleet management trackers, which makes being able to choose from portable, battery-powered trackers, hard-wired trackers, or even solar power trackers particularly helpful.

Battery-Powered GPS fleet trackers

If you need a portable GPS tracking device that provides frequent updates for short-term tracking, you may want to consider a battery-powered unit. Battery-powered units can run on either rechargeable batteries or even a few alkaline batteries. With adjustable settings, these devices typically can be set to provide more or less frequent location updates to conserve battery life.

Hard-Wired GPS Fleet Tracking Devices

If you need to track a vehicle or asset for an extended period, it may be best to go with a hard-wired fleet tracking device. A hard-wired fleet tracker is one that pulls its power from your vehicle’s power system, which means that no battery is required.

Hybrid Fleet Tracking Devices

Some asset-powered GPS fleet tracking devices, such as the TTU-2800, offer the best of both worlds. The TTU-2800 comes equipped with an internal rechargeable battery to provide a little versatility for your fleet management needs. It is a fleet tracking device that is beneficial for assets that are continually in transition. For example, you can track the locations of cargo trailers or flatbeds that are disconnected from a truck for days, weeks, or months.

Solar-Powered GPS Fleet Trackers

A solar-based fleet tracking device is another great option for assets that can have an externally-mounted fleet tracking device. The XT-4970, for example, is a solar-powered unit that draws its power from the sun using a highly efficient solar cell. It’s also highly configurable concerning its reporting capabilities, which helps to extend its battery life for long-term tracking. With its over-the-air application firmware upgrade, you don't have to worry about your fleet tracking device firmware becoming out of date or vulnerable.

4. Monitor the Condition of the Vehicle, Equipment, or Cargo

Modern, high-quality GPS fleet trackers for fleet management allow you to track more than just the location of your vehicles or assets. Do you need to stay informed and have access to reports about how your drivers are performing concerning driver safety? Is there a need to remotely monitor the cold interior of a refrigerated truck’s cargo hold? Or, do you need to keep an eye on and monitor the performance of your vehicles? Now you can.

Devices like the LMU-2600 enable you to monitor hard braking, rapid acceleration, and other noteworthy driver behaviors using its three-axis accelerometer. Another model, the LMU-3000, measures only 1.5” x 2.5” x 0.98”, packs a lot of punch for its small size. The fleet tracking device plugs directly into your vehicle’s onboard diagnostics (OBD) interface and can detect and monitor driver behaviors and vehicle impacts.

The previously mentioned TTU-2800 also features a built-in accelerometer that enables you to not only track driver data, but vehicular diagnostic information as well. This way, you can monitor any changes in conditions of your assets.

5. Choose Between Proprietary and Non-Proprietary Technology

Many companies offer a wide array of GPS tracking devices for fleet management. However, what they may not bother to tell you is that their devices are proprietary, meaning that their devices can only be used with their specific, branded software. This results in hundreds or thousands of dollars you spend on GPS fleet tracking devices that will only be useful as long as you keep using their software.

Rastrac’s GPS fleet trackers are non-proprietary technology, meaning that they are compatible and can be used in conjunction with a third-party vendor’s fleet management software (or vice versa).

To learn more about fleet tracking devices, or to get a free ROI estimate, feel free to contact us now by clicking on the link below.

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