GPS Tracking Software: Should You Go With Passive or Real-Time?
Posted by business on February 28, 2013 in Business Technology [ 4 Comments ]
It isn’t just transportation and delivery businesses that use GPS fleet tracking software. Home service providers like landscaping companies, plumbers, and cleaning services use GPS tracking to determine optimal delivery routes and make it easy for employees to report mileage.
Heavy equipment companies use GPS tracking to prevent theft of their equipment. In fact, some insurers require heavy equipment providers to install GPS tracking due to vehicle theft.
Restaurants that deliver use this technology to provide delivery estimates and create routes that are the most cost-efficient.
Some elder care businesses even use GPS tracking bracelets for Alzheimer’s patients to help locate them if they wander off. But any business interested in maximizing cost effectiveness of business transportation can benefit from GPS fleet tracking software.
So now that you know that you need GPS tracking software, the question arises: should you go with passive or real-time? Here’s what you need to know.
How Passive GPS Tracking Works
Passive GPS tracking software does not monitor vehicle or employee movement in real time. In other words, with passive GPS tracking, you cannot go online and get a live data point telling you where a vehicle is. Instead, the tracking information is stored inside a device within the vehicle, and can then be downloaded to a computer for analysis.
Information you can get from passive GPS tracking software includes time and date information, routes that were traveled, and where stops were made. Data may be transmitted electronically with passive systems, so you don’t necessarily have to remove a device from the vehicle and connect it to a computer to access the data. It’s just not done in real time.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Passive
- Perhaps the major benefit of passive tracking systems is that they do not require you to pay a monthly subscription fee. These systems are perfect for industries such as long-haul trucking, where drivers used to having to keep handwritten mileage and delivery records. A passive GPS tracking system does a much more accurate job of this, and saves massive amounts of time.
- Reports from passive GPS systems can be used for payroll, billing, tax preparation, and financial audits. The time saved over handwritten records can improve profit margins. Some of these systems even report on speeding and other questionable driving habits. Businesses can crack down on offenders and may lower their insurance premiums as a result.
How Real-Time GPS Tracking Software Works
Real-time GPS tracking software collects very similar data to that collected by passive systems, but this data can be transmitted in real time over satellite or cellular networks to a single computer or data center. Real-time tracking information can be extremely beneficial to delivery businesses, because it allows dispatchers or other office workers to be able to pinpoint where a particular vehicle is and predict how long it will take to reach a customer.
Public transit agencies use it for things like monitoring bus schedule adherence, and even giving passengers information about when public transport vehicles will arrive at a certain stop.
Advantages and Disadvantages
- For some businesses, having access to real-time GPS tracking information is the whole purpose of using GPS software. Not only can dispatchers know in an instant where any fleet vehicle is located, information from real-time GPS tracking software can help track down stolen vehicles.
- Access to real-time tracking information allows businesses to correct problems quickly and maximize efficiency. For example, if an emergency service call comes in, a dispatcher can look at where each vehicle is located and assign it to the most appropriate one.
- The main disadvantage of real time software is that it carries monthly data subscription charges. While these costs can be offset by the increased productivity that results from using GPS tracking, some businesses simply don’t need real-time tracking and can get what they need from passive GPS systems without monthly subscription charges.
Determining exactly what type of tracking data you need and when you need it will steer you toward the right GPS system. GPS tracking can save companies up to 20% in transportation costs, so they’re well worth considering.