GPS Tracker Comparison

GPS Tracker Comparison

Compare GPS Trackers
GPS Tracking System
Finding the right GPS tracker can mean thousands toward your ROI.

GPS Tracker Comparison

There are a wide variety of GPS trackers on the market today. Almost anything can be tracked but not everything can be tracked well. Understanding the basics of GPS tracking technology will help you make a quicker and better decision for your asset tracking needs. Being familiar with the industry terminology and technology will actually lead to an increased ROI. If you are looking for a fleet safety tool but realize you can also benefit from productivity data, you can find a GPS tracker that can help in both areas.

Let’s get started.

 

Vehicle v. Asset Tracking
 
Vehicle Trackers

Vehicle tracking provides a consistent and generally protected environment inside the vehicle. Devices don’t need to be IP67 rated like asset trackers which are more expensive. Vehicle GPS trackers typically use cellular communication due to a desire for more data, at a lower cost, because satellite coverage is not needed. Vehicle tracking services typically update every few seconds to no more than 2 minutes depending on the monthly cost. More data means a higher monthly cost.

Asset Trackers

Asset tracking can be done with satellite tracking systems or cellular GPS trackers depending on where the assets operate. Frac tanks used in the oil and gas industry generally use satellite trackers. Skid steers in urban construction almost always use cellular GPS trackers. Customers generally choose to receive more data at a lower cost; even if they cannot track an asset live 100% of the time. All GPS trackers have dead spots where they cannot communicate for some reason.

Backup Batteries

Backup batteries (BBs) are often requested and needed for unpowered assets. GPS devices require power from the asset or from a battery to operate. Assets, such as trailers, often sit without power for extended periods until connected to a tractor where power is restored. In these cases, a backup battery is needed. In vehicles, GPS devices receive constant power from the car battery.

In vehicle tracking, backup batteries are less important. BBs don’t enable the device to function as normal. BBs put the device in a reduced performance mode so the battery lasts longer. Customers often think BB will enable them to track the driver after they remove the GPS tracker as if it were still installed. BBs range from a CR2525 watch battery to lithium ion batteries. Vehicle trackers typically use small BBs which generally show you where the employee tossed the GPS unit out the window but not much more.

We sell all of the above options and have seen every scenario over the last 16+ years.

Tracking, Telematics, Diagnostics
Tracking

Vehicle location and speed data. Where an asset went, where it stopped and how long it was there.

Telematics

Data provided by the vehicles computer network and sensors (excluding engine data). This includes RPMs, accelerometer data for jack rabbit starts, harsh breaking, and reckless driving. It is the data used in accidents. Read more

Engine Diagnostics

Data transmitted by the engine through the OBD or J-Bus port generally consisting of fault codes and status data. There is a wide range of data available and GPS companies claim to offer these if they provide one data point out of several hundred. Ask good questions.

Installation & Tampering

 

There are essentially two types of installation used today; 3-wire and plug and play. The 3-wire installation is considered more reliable but it isn’t if the plug-and-play installation is done right with a Y-harness. View more on installations. 3-wire installations can be done on small to mid-size fleet trucks by most anyone that can install a car stereo. On bigger trucks and equipment it is best to use a trained installer or mechanic. Learning to install and troubleshoot the technology can save your operation a lot of time and money.

Tampering has been an issue for over 16 years. Tampering occurs with plug-and-plan (P&P) and 3-wire devices about equally. OBD devices that are installed without a Y-harness (moves GPS into the dash) are the most likely to be tampered with. Companies that sell devices requiring 3-wire installs will tell you OBD devices are always an issue. We sell both and the tamper rate is about the same. Tampering stops when you put your foot down. Read more about introducing GPS trackers to employees.

Equipment Considerations

 

Several equipment considerations such as backup batteries and communication networks are discussed in other areas of this blog. However, there are other things to consider in the physical design and construction of the GPS device itself.

First, all GPS trackers are not made equal. Significantly more engineering goes into some devices like the Geotab GO device. Other GPS units are almost “dumb” in comparison and everything else is in between. We sell them all so we are communicating facts as we know them, not opinions.

GPS devices vary in construction quality. Some have thinner plastics and others more robust internal components. A good GPS chip set means faster acquisition time from a cold start and more accurate coordinates in tough environmental conditions. Some devices do well in heat where others shut down in the Arizona sun. Ask for the technical specification sheet and the warranty on the device.

Warranty Considerations

If you think about GPS trackers like a cell phone you will be able to easily understand the general conditions. In short, most have a limited warranty period if you are not on a perpetual lease or rental. Second, if you break it you buy it. If it breaks, you keep paying for the service until fixed. If it fails due to manufacturing the device is replaced and you are responsible for the service cost to swap the unit.

Backup Battery Size and Type

Lithium ion batteries are the only real choice for a battery due to durability and long-life. The size of the battery in milliamps determines how long the battery will last based on the draw from the GPS unit when asleep and when it wakes to transmit without constant power. Since batteries don’t last forever be sure the device will use off the shelf batteries to keep your cost down. Having to special order custom batteries drives up the operational cost. If you can replace the batteries you will save big money on service work.

ELD & Dispatching
 
Electronic Logging Device (ELD for FMSCA compliance)

ELD is a big deal which is coming at certain industries fast and furious. Selecting the right GPS tracker means you will also get ELD options, if and when needed. Those fleets not yet AOBRD compliant by December 17 2019 will be in violation and taken out of service.

Read the full 126-page ruling here.

Dispatching

Dispatching is the process of sending stop or route data to a driver. Most ELD devices will offer some type of dispatching as an additional service. If you need both getting a GPS tracker that offers both will be significantly more convenient than two systems, which aren’t integrated, from two vendors.

Cellular v. Satellite

 

There are really two types of communication technology used for GPS trackers, satellite, and cellular. Don’t confuse GPS satellite with communication satellites. GPS satellites broadcast a radio wave like an FM radio station and you cannot “talk” back to it. Cellular and satellite communication generally talks 2-ways but satellites can be 1-way.

Most GPS trackers use cellular networks to move GPS and other data from the vehicle, to a cell tower, to a server, to the Internet. Because of the low cost, most fleet operators use cellular. Understanding the carrier used and the coverage footprint will enable you to know when you will receive “live” tracking data. Cellular is also more reliable because it can communicate with the towers more easily due to the radio frequency used.

Satellite communication is more of a specialty technology used when assets are operating in very remote areas where cellular service is not an option. Communication satellite signals do not penetrate objects such as trees or buildings and costs significantly more than cellular. Satellite systems also manage battery power differently which leads to less detailed track data.

Cellular networks generally use GSM or CDMA technology. Verizon and Sprint use CDMA and are generally being phased out and replaced by 4G or LTE service which also SIM cards. GSM is the international standard and is easily identified by a SIM card. SIM cards offer some flexibility but you cannot take a GPS device from one vendor and use it on another vendors website.

Log, Update & Refresh Rates

 

Understanding the relationship is important to sort out the information from various sales reps. Unfortunately, most sales reps in call centers don’t understand these concepts so you will have to prompt them to explain each in detail so you know what you are getting.

Log Rate

The frequency which the GPS tracker logs the position of the asset. This varies from a few seconds to once per day.

Update Rate

The rate at which the log data collected is transmitted to a cellular or satellite communication tower.

Refresh Rate

The rate at which the website refreshes and displays newly received log data.

Integration

 

Integration refers to the sharing or movement of data between applications, databases or services in order to increase the overall use and value of data already paid for. If you have a need to utilize the GPS tracker data in other areas you want to be sure the GPS vendor offers APIs. APIs are an industry standard method of moving data via the Internet in a secure manner. Read more

How Much Does a Sherp Cost?

How Much Does a Sherp Cost?

So you want to know how much a Sherp costs

 

As with most vehicles, the price varies with options. For a business, the Sherp ATV is an investment in an asset just like buying a tractor-trailer, backhoe or building. Before investing in a Sherp you should define the intended use and the projected return on investment. You have to remember to budget for maintenance which fortunately is as low as any diesel power vehicle available. If you are considering a Sherp ATV for personal and recreational use, none of this matters just buy one, they are a lot of fun. Click here for Sherp ATV Sales.

 

There are two models of Sherps, the pickup, and the pro. The pickup has a removable back cover and an interior wall behind the front 1seats with a large window which opens to the back. There is an internal roll bar system that obstructs seating on the wheel wells in the back. The role bars are easily removed to free up the seating and to improve space management when the top is off the back. This flexibility can be important to special applications. Removing the top during a search and rescue mission enables people to enter and exit in various directions from the back, listen, call out and view the surrounding area for survivors, etc. The Sherp ATV Pro has an exterior roll cage and the back cannot be removed. There is no interior wall between the cab and rear area giving the appearance of more room but usable space is about the same.

 

The Sherp cost is about the same between the pickup and the Pro. The Pro starts about $125,000 because of netting, Molly strapping, and demand for the Pro model in vast very cold environments like the Canadian oil fields. The other consideration is a trailer to transport the Sherp ATV since it is not street legal. A custom Sherp trailer is available. It is lightweight and designed specifically for the Sherp to drive up on and be pulled by a typical SUV. If you want to carry other gear you will need a large trailer with ramps and spare room for tools and gear. 

 

Another investment consideration is an amphibious trailer which is pulled by the Sherp. This increases the amount of gear that can be carried in most conditions. These trailers run about $8,000 but are essential for large-scale disaster response such as Hurricane Michael, Hurrican Florence or Hurrican Harvey. 

Return on Investment Series: Proactively Manage Driver Behavior

Return on Investment Series: Proactively Manage Driver Behavior

Fleet Savings Summary

The Fleet Savings Summary Report highlights your fleets top five most valuable driver coaching opportunities by vehicle. These drivers can be interpreted as the fleets most costly drivers of spending, and therefore represent the best bang for your buck driver coaching opportunities. Driver behavior can be critical to the operations of your vehicles.

Proactive management is key. Aberdeen Group reports that top performing organizations are 96% more likely than their peers to utilize technology that alerts management, and the driver, of exceptions being made (i.e., speeding, harsh cornering, etc).

 

Conclusion

Today’s fleet managers are under extreme pressure to manage their fleet costs despite deteriorating economic conditions. These costs include the procurement and disposal of the vehicles, fixed and variable operating costs, labor costs, as well as collision and insurance claims.

Using telematics data, fleet managers can discover new cost savings opportunities across their entire fleet. By pursuing these savings opportunities, a fleet manager can reduce their COI, improve their fleets operating efficiency, and grow their bottom line. Conversely, managing a fleet without a telematics platform is likely to result in higher costs and poor visibility for improvement.

Telematics and the Fleet Savings Summary are valuable tools that fleet managers should use to better understand and proactively manage their vehicles and drivers, and ultimately run a more profitable fleet.

Click here to request more information.

 

 

 

 

Sherp ATV vs Argo Hydratrek

Sherp ATV vs Argo Hydratrek

Search and Rescue – Sherp ATV and Argo Hydratrek

 

This is a comparison between the Sherp ATV and the Argo Hydratrek. There is more to a rescue than just getting there. Getting there in a timely manner, keeping rescue workers from being fatigued in route, having the room to carry the needed equipment and protecting the patient in transport are all important factors. Fleetistics believes there is little benefit to the Argo platform other than price for search and rescue operations.

 

1. Neither vehicle has suspension but the trailer low tire pressure in the Sherp can be lowered which makes the ride smoother.

2. The Argo uses tracks and propellers. Propellers are very limited in real operations other than a clean lake. They are subject to water debris and almost never used in the demo videos. The paddle wheels on the Sherp never get clogged by water debris.

3. Hydratrek has a Max payload of 2500 lbs, the Sherp 2,000. The Sherp has an amphibious trailer which can transport more hear and supplies.

4. The Hydratrek has 6-8 tires to maintain plus tracks, the Sherp has 4.

5. The Hydratrek max speed is 14/5 mph on land/water vs Sherp at 27/4 mph.

6. The Argo has an open cockpit and no hardcover to provide protection. The Sherp has a hard top and the top can be removed on the pickup version for unique situations. Protection is important for patient care and responder fatigue.

7. The Argo product line cannot be adapted in the field to the conditions or terrain. The Sherp can inflate or deflate the ultra low-pressure tires to match the traction and driving surface needs.

8. The Argo track system is more expensive to maintain than the Sherp’s 4 large tires.

9. Any track system is less reliable, there are simply more moving parts and points of failure. If a track breaks in the field, fixing it may be impossible. Tires can be patched to get you home.

10. The seating in the Hydratrek and all Argos is limited. The videos clearly depict the few seats available and the lack of patient space. In an emergency the Sherp can transport 11 people! 2 in front, 3 either side in the area and thee on the rear floor.

11. The Argos angle of attack uphill is about half that of the Sherp at 3′. The lower angle of attack makes is more likely to get stuck exiting a river, over a frozen lake, crossing a log or traversing rocks. View the Argo on ice

12. The track system is as tough or tougher on the environment for a zero turn. Even traveling straight the large footprint is comparable to the Sherp low-pressure tire.

13. The Hydratrek cost about half that of the Sherp starting at $119,00.

14. Patient care conditions overall are far better in the Sherp. The enclosed back provides seating for rescue workers with a stretcher between them. The shelter keeps the sun, wind, rain, tree limbs and bugs off patients and responders. At -30F getting an IV started in an Argo will be almost impossible since exposed to the elements.

15. The ground clearance of the Argo is much lower than the Sherps 23″. This and 63″ tires prevent the Sherp from getting hung up in deep ruts.