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What is Fleet Tracking?

Tons of businesses today are looking into fleet tracking solutions when they have commercial vehicles on the road regularly. You may need to track vehicles, equipment, machinery, or assets to ensure their safety and to stay in-the-know of their location at all times. Whether you already have a fleet management company to help with fleet tracking or you’re new to the concept, you may want to know how it works. Learn about how GPS fleet tracking technology works, as well as data that it can deliver to your business.

What is Fleet Tracking?

A fleet tracking system, also known as a fleet management system or GPS fleet tracking system, is technology that helps businesses track and manage commercial vehicles, equipment and assets in real time. Most fleet management systems use a GPS to track vehicle locations, but there is other technology that can be used as well.

Other than just tracking vehicle locations, fleet tracking systems have additional benefits for businesses. They can help businesses save money on operational costs, monitor fuel levels, prevent maintenance and technical issues, improve driver safety, optimize routes, and much more. For example, many construction companies today use fleet tracking for construction equipment.

Check out the different types of fleet management software options. You can choose between web-based and cloud-based software to access your dashboard and view data.

Related: 8 Best Practices for a Fleet Management System

How does Fleet Tracking Work?

Understanding how exactly GPS fleet tracking works can be difficult, but we are here to help make it less complicated. Essentially, your fleet tracking system will use a combination of hardware, servers, and software.

Most fleet tracking systems use the following 3 types of technology to operate – 

  • Connected devices: Attach a location-detecting device to vehicles in your fleet. This includes GPS (most common), satellite, cellular, and similar technology.
  • Centralized server: Data pulled from the connected device travels to a centralized server, either at your business location or your service provider’s location
  • Software dashboard: Also known as “telematics,” this allows you to pull up locations and other data associated with vehicles in your fleet from your desktop computer, laptop, smartphone, etc.
how-does-fleet-tracking-work
How does fleet tracking work?

With this network of technology, you’ll be able to access real-time information about all the vehicles in your fleet in one location. To set up this fleet tracking system –

  1. Install a tracking device (GPS), inside your vehicles that you wish to track. This device will collect all sorts of data, including but not limited to the vehicle’s current location. It will also pick up on data such as fuel levels, mileage, driving behavior, engine usage, etc. This GPS will ping off of a nearby satellite and store the data within the device.
  2. Data from the GPS is transmitted using a wireless cellular network. It travels from your vehicle’s location through this network and to your servers. If you are using a cloud-based fleet management software, the data will use the cloud to allow you access to the data from anywhere, as long as you have an internet-friendly device.
  3. Access the data from your desktop computer, laptop, smartphone, or tablet. Your on-the-go fleet tracking software will grant you access from just about anywhere. Simply open up the software on a web browser or using a mobile application, access your dashboard, and get real time insights. 

Types of Fleet Tracking Devices

Businesses usually look into fleet tracking systems to track either their vehicles, equipment or assets. Based on what you are looking to track, you might use different types of tracking hardware. Types of hardware include:

  • Installed GPS: You can have a GPS device permanently installed in the vehicle.
  • OBD tracker: This is a small device that you can plug into the OBD port in your vehicle. Since it is a “plug in” solution, it can be removed and placed into a different vehicle if needed.
  • Asset tracker: This is a GPS device for equipment or machinery without an engine. Construction companies typically use asset trackers.

Examples of Transmitted Data and Features 

As we mentioned, GPS fleet tracking systems do more than just deliver information about your vehicles’ locations. Fleet management software today is very robust and makes jobs easier for both drivers and managers. Here’s just several examples of data that your GPS fleet tracking system can pick up from your vehicle in real time:

  • Exact location
  • Asset trackers
  • Location history
  • Trip reports – ie. speed, direction, fuel usage, idling
  • Fuel reports
  • Mileage reports
  • Engine reports
  • Battery voltage
  • Emergency resources
  • Idling reports
  • Driver safety tools
  • Fleet manager to driver messaging
  • Driver to customer messaging 
  • Fuel efficiency tools
  • Back-end integrations (ie. point of sale, time and attendance tracking, payroll software, and more)

Using the software, you can also set up custom dashboards and alerts based on data you want to know about. For instance, set up alerts for idling or risky driver behavior so you can contact drivers in real time. This can help you stay on top of your business’s priorities and cut costs down the road.

If you are looking to compare prices on fleet management software, 360Connect can help. We connect businesses who want to explore GPS fleet tracking software with providers that offer the best prices. Get started by filling out our free GPS fleet tracking software form and save up to 30% when you compare options.

Get free quotes from up to 5 gps fleet management suppliers!
Just answer a few questions and get matched to top suppliers near you.
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