What is the difference between a Passive vs. Real Time Fleet Tracking Device for fleet management?
What Is A Passive GPS Fleet Tracking Device?
A Passive Tracking system is a reactive method of transmitting data rather than a proactive method. A passive tracking unit will collect data and store the information on the box, but it will only transmit the data once the vehicle returns to headquarters. A Wi-Fi hotspot is required to download the data onto a local server. From there a fleet manager would be able to access the stored data provided by a passive solution.
Memory – Passive tracking solutions must store data on the modem until it can be transmitted at headquarters. The selection of a passive tracking solution is often dependant on how frequently the information is gathered and therefore how much memory is available for storage. Since most passive tracking solutions update information every 30 seconds, a considerable amount of information is gathered. Some tracking devices will only hold data for 7 days; some solutions have enough memory to hold the data for up to 60 days. However, if the vehicle stays out of coverage for an extended period of time and the data has exceeded the memory capacity the new data will typically override the old data causing valuable data loss.
Myth – A Passive Tracking solution is more affordable than a Real Time solution. Wrong! Data for a real time solution has become very affordable over the past few years, and cost of a Real Time GPS Tracking solution has dropped substantially. One significant cost of a passive tracking solution is the Wi-Fi infrastructure, which requires regular maintenance and can become very costly.
What Is A Real Time Fleet Tracking Device?
A Real Time Tracking solution has a cellular and/or satellite modem(s) within the GPS device and will continually update the location, status, sensor data and vehicle information on a predetermined frequency. Update frequency can vary from once a day to once every 15 seconds, depending on the provider.
A Real Time Solution uses wireless commercial carriers to send the data from the fleet tracking devices in real-time to the solutions servers. This information can be accessed online via the solutions web interface anytime and from anywhere (with access to an internet connected device).
With the use of a real time solution a fleet manager is able to view status and speed of a vehicle, engine diagnostic, driving behavior including harsh speeding or breaking, and up to date fuel consumption instantly.
Additionally, a real-time solution allows users to setup real-time notifications and alerts to monitor vehicle activity 24/7 even when you’re not in the office. This allows you to monitor, respond and even prevent costly and unsafe activity in real time.
Five Things to Consider When Choosing Between Passive and Real Time Fleet Tracking Devices?
1. Cost – The cost of a Real Time solution versus a Passive solution is comparable. Many people believe that a real-time solution is more costly than a passive solution due to the monthly wireless fees. However, this is not the case as data plans from the wireless carriers have significantly decreased over the last few years and become very affordable thus playing a role in the notable decrease in cost of a real-time tracking solution.
2. Dispatching – Real-time solutions provide the added benefit of effective dispatching. Know where your drivers are live and the status of each vehicle on a map. This allows you to quickly respond to different scenarios and emergency situations to effectively manage your daily operations.
3. Alerts & Notifications – Real-time notifications and alerts are critical features in a tracking solution and only available with a real-time solution. With a passive GPS tracking device, the vehicle must come back into the yard or area with the Wi-Fi hotspot to be able to transmit the data. Real-time notifications and alerts allow fleet managers to monitor their fleet 24/7 without having to be chained to a desk all day. Types of notifications and alerts include real-time engine diagnostics such as trouble codes, speeding and excess idling events, driver performance, entering/exiting a geozone (specific location), and much more! Upon receiving these alerts, fleet managers can quickly respond to and even prevent costly and unsafe activity. For example, If a vehicle or truck breaks down on the road a fleet manager can view the DTC alerts for that unit and prepare information for the mechanic to address the issue promptly. The real-time fleet tracking devices will also give dispatch full fleet visibility reducing operational downtime.
4. Accidents – if the vehicle is in an accident and the unit is damaged, you may be at risk in losing your data with a passive solution. With the use of a real time solution, information is transmitted until the very last moment before the accident, and if still in working condition would continually update live data.
5. Theft Prevention – Many companies will choose to implement a GPS tracking solution into their fleet for theft prevention benefits. When a vehicle is stolen the real-time fleet tracking devices will continually update position so retrieval of the vehicle is faster than with a passive GPS solution.