Fleet Tracking: Best Options

Fleet tracking uses GPS systems on fleets of operational assets making it easier to run a business. Available real-time fleet tracking for any size business. 

Global Positioning System (GPS) technology comes standard in most new vehicles today. GPS capabilities are installed on most smart phones and other smart technology devices as well. How does this common technology benefit businesses? Fleet tracking is a type of GPS-powered management system used by companies with large amounts (fleets) of vehicles in operation simultaneously. Fleet tracking is also used to maintain contact with and ascertain location information of large employee pools and mobile/transported equipment.

Most fleets operate on land, although occasionally fleet tracking devices are used to pinpoint the arrival time and location of imported vehicles/assets. What is a fleet tracking device? How does fleet tracking help businesses and their employees? Certain companies provide the best fleet tracking devices and apps in 2021. Read ahead for beneficial information about the best options for fleet tracking services available today.

Global Positioning System (GPS) - What is it really?

GPS uses twenty-four orbiting satellites in conjunction with ground-locked devices to determine precise real-time positions of tracked persons or assets. Timing, navigation and positioning are all utilized as individual sets of data but also collectively. GPS tracking was initially a military-only technology created in the 1960s to track nuclear-equipped submarines. By the 1970s the U.S. Department of Defense (U.S. DOD) incorporated satellites into its GPS technology. The first Navigation System with Timing and Ranging (NAVSTAR) satellite was launched in 1978 and the twenty-four-satellite system used today was made operational in 1993.

GPS was made available to the public in 1983, right between the NAVSTAR launch and implementation of the twenty-four-satellite system. In spite of its common uses in everyday lives (including by children for gaming purposes) GPS tracking is under constant monitoring by a GPS Master Control Station and other ground-locked stations. GPS devices receive signals on Earth from satellites orbiting above the planet. Four or more satellites are required to triangulate and pinpoint the location of a tracked person or item. Additional satellites are usually necessary to generate more detailed information and validate the resulting accuracy.

What Is GPS Fleet Tracking?

Fleet tracking is a type of GPS-powered management system used by companies with fleets of vehicles, employees or other assets in operation for various purposes. A technology referred to as telematics is used to gather and process location data from all vehicles and/or assets in a fleet. A GPS tracking device is attached to each asset’s on-board diagnostics (OBD) port, which is used to actively collect data in real time. Most GPS fleet tracking is used in tandem with artificial intelligence (AI) to further enhance accuracy of the collected data by grouping multiple millions of datapoints and other information into logical, understandable sections of information.

What Is GPS Fleet Tracking Device?

Fleet tracking (telematics) devices comes in varieties of types and styles. Three primary types are most installed, however. Phone-based tracking, self-install and managed install devices are the three most common types of GPS fleet tracking devices used in 2021.

Phone-based tracking devices utilize apps, which transform phones into electronically modified tracking devices. Phone-based tracking devices are primarily used to manage workflow, dispatch jobs or track employee locations when away from company vehicles. This type of fleet tracking device has limited connectivity to vehicles and sensor capabilities. 

Self-install devices are plug-in fleet tracking devices with simple installation requirements. Self-install devices are also simple to relocate between various vehicles within your fleet. Data collected using self-install devices is not used for compliance purposes but rather in high vehicle/asset turnover situations, especially as applicable to rental vehicle businesses.

Managed install devices are hard-wired to all your vehicles. These tamper-resistant devices do collect data for compliance purposes. Managed install devices also collect data crucial for overall business workflow. These device types ultimately provide the most accurate/detailed experience for users, while also offering the best big-picture snapshot of your fleet data statistics.

Fleet Tracking – Benefits for Businesses

Fleet tracking data is collected in real time, which makes it useful for business owners trying to manage large fleets of operational assets around the country (or world). Collected data is used for strategic planning purposes. Real time actionable insights are provided about driver locations, but also driver behavior patterns, traffic patterns, weather impacts and more. Fleet tracking also helps monitor inventory. For example, how many forklifts are on various properties? Which property needs new/more generators? Fleet tracking provides this useful information and more. Fleet tracking helps businesses stay in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations. Fleet tracking also helps businesses save money by allowing them to:

  • Make poignant decisions in real time.

  • Improve routes.

  • Maintain profitable supply-demand ratios in all locations.

  • Eliminate wasteful and/or superfluous operations.

  • Improve employee work habits.

Fleet Tracking – How It Can Help Employees

Fleet tracking is also beneficial to employees/workers. Driver safety is improved through GPS tracking, especially during inclement weather, breakdowns or accidents. For example, emergency response time is increased significantly via fleet tracking technology. Employee risks are reduced through enhanced risk management and compliance capabilities. Fleet tracking technology also records evidence capable of clearing drivers of any wrongdoing while simultaneously monitoring systems for potential breakdowns or failures. Finally, less paperwork is required of employees because fleet tracking systems record most necessary data automatically via Electronic Logging Device (ELD)-compliant tracking software. 

Fleet Tracking Companies, Apps & Average Costs

The average costs of fleet tracking devices/services ranges between approximate $15 and $250 per asset per month, although $50 per vehicle is a more common average price point. Contract lengths, leasing vs. purchasing, fleet size & technology specifications all affect pricing. Top-tier companies such as Verizon Connect offer a free demo prior to purchase. Other companies offer pricing via private quote only. Additional top fleet tracking companies and apps in 2021 include: