How Do Web-Based Vehicle Tracking Systems Work?

April 10, 2020 Published by

Web-based vehicle tracking systems are impressive pieces of technology that can deliver many benefits. This article goes over how web-based arrangements work, what other options are out there, and the cost and benefits of setting up a web-based system.

How Do Web-Based Vehicle Tracking Systems Work?

Web-based vehicle tracking systems predominantly rely on the Global Positioning System, owned by the US government.

Certain systems use the Global Navigation Satellite System, or GLONASS, which is operated by Russia. For this post, GPS is the focus. GPS makes use of a network of satellites to identify the position of various entities that use the network, including vehicle monitoring devices.

As described on Wikipedia, a tracking arrangement typically involves the monitoring device itself, the monitoring server, and the user interface.

The device is mounted on the vehicle to be tracked. GPS data is collected by the device as the vehicle moves around. The information gathered from the device makes its way to the server via satellite or cellular means.

Then, it goes to the UI, where the user can view it via the internet. The end result is real-time monitoring.

Along with the vehicle’s physical position, systems can harvest and report on data such as speed, fuel usage, and maintenance status.

This data can be delivered quite frequently. For instance, some networks deliver updated information every two minutes. Additionally, the use of multiple satellites means that web-based GPS setups have a very robust coverage area, which is a huge plus for fleets that operate in otherwise remote areas.

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What Other Types of Tracking Systems are There?

Though the aforementioned type of arrangement is very effective for monitoring vehicles, there are other arrangements in use as well.

For instance, It Still Works describes radio frequency identification tracking in detail here. An RFID tracker uses “small tags containing a microchip or transistor,” which include “encoded information.” The arrangement also uses an antenna.

The tag scans for signals, and when it picks up the right one, it responds with the information that is encoded. It is effective for detecting items from a distance of several feet, which is why RFID mechanisms are commonly used to deter shoplifting.

Interestingly, trackers have an additional retail application beyond detecting traditional shoplifters: They can also prevent people from stealing entire shopping carts!

Additionally, trackers in supermarket shopping carts can be used in conjunction with loyalty cards to deliver data on a customer’s habits to advertising teams.
Personal trackers are another species of monitoring device.

These use GPS to keep tabs on the location of people or pets. They are often contained in something small like a bracelet. In the case of pets, a common application is outfitting a dog with a GPS-equipped collar. If the dog escapes, the owner can easily find its whereabouts and rescue it.

Companies that make use of contractors and their personal cars sometimes use cellular-based arrangements, that is, arrangements installed on contractors’ phones with an app.

These are somewhat limited compared to the capabilities of full monitoring systems installed in company-owned vehicles. However, if a contractor feels uncomfortable with having a system installed in their car, this can allow for some monitoring.

How Do Web-Based Vehicle Tracking Systems Work - Other Types of Systems

Is a GPS Tracker Expensive?

There will be some up-front costs associated with getting a GPS tracking arrangement up and running. These costs vary from system to system. For instance, renting GPS devices will reduce the money needed up front to put the system in use.

Purchasing, however, allows for permanent ownership and control over the devices. Another factor is how frequently the arrangement provides updates. For vehicles, updates generally arrive every two to five minutes.

The installation of the devices also has an effect on the price. The price is affected by the type of vehicle and special requirements like hiding the tracking device.

To save money in this area, some companies opt for self-installation, which manuals can help with.

The range of data provided by the tracking system plays a role as well, according to Julia Watts at Expert Market.

An arrangement that tracks location alone will likely be less expensive than one that monitors additional information such as maintenance status and incidents. Another factor to look into is whether or not the supplier charges any early termination fees: These can sting if you later decide the supplier isn’t the right fit.

Watts recommends doing your research and selecting a supplier that can ramp up their services as your business grows.

While the costs are a reality of setting up a web-based vehicle system, there are many long-term benefits to doing so. For example, the safety boons alone can make an arrangement worth it: Systems may provide alerts on overtaxed drivers who need a break or those who are speeding and need a warning.

Networks can also track other erratic behavior, like drivers making unscheduled stops or meandering off their routes. And they can make it possible to identify your company’s best drivers, which means you can reward them to keep them on board.

These networks can also increase efficiency by helping to plan optimal routes, help with record keeping, and cut down on fuel costs. Additionally, maintenance alerts can signal when a vehicle needs to come off the road for routine care, heading off the need for larger repairs in the future.

How Do Web-Based Vehicle Tracking Systems Work - How Expensive

Securing Your Assets Easily

If those benefits have helped convince you to outfit your company’s fleet with web-based monitoring capabilities, GPS Technologies would love to help. To learn more about pricing and what we can do for you, just use our contact form to send a message or call us at 847-382-5107 for a consultation.

We have experience assisting a variety of clients in the transportation industry, so let us put that experience to work for you!

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