Using the built-in GPS on your driver’s smartphone and a mobile app is one way to track mileage, but it’s not the best solution for the long-term. While there’s no doubt this method gets the job done, using an OBD tracking device offers a few distinct advantages you’ll want to consider.
Not All Tracking Solutions Are Created Equal
As most field service business owners and fleet managers know, there are a few ways to track mileage, starting with the traditional paper-and-pencil method. Thanks to mobile technology and cloud computing, automation is the ticket to “tracking freedom” today and manual trip logging is quickly falling out of favor.
Some businesses ask their drivers to use their smartphone GPS and a mobile app to track mileage. But when compared with an IoT device-based solution, they tend to run into some unnecessary costs as well as opportunity costs. Let’s take a closer look at what makes an OBD tracking device a more viable permanent solution to meeting field service business’s vehicle tracking needs:
- Always-on tracking.
An OBD tracking device uses built-in GPS technology that isn’t dependent on a user’s smartphone or tablet—it’s plugged into the vehicle itself. It “stays put” and tracks vehicle and driving behavior activity no matter what. This is especially important in the event of the unthinkable, like when a tire on one of Elevation Solar’s trucks blew out on the road on the way to a customer’s site. Rob Jones explains, “With Automile, we were able to track down the exact location and sent another truck and the installers was able to continue on their way and we made arrangements to have the other truck towed.”
- No Smartphone Battery Drain.
When running the GPS on a driver’s mobile device, battery gets used up—fast. An OBD device is powered by the vehicle’s battery without draining it. In fact, the device is remarkably power-efficient. It senses voltage drops in its “host vehicle” and places itself in standby mode—and later, in deep sleep mode—after the ignition is turned off, helping to protect the vehicle’s battery from getting drained. Read The Myth That OBD-II Devices Void The Warranty to learn more.
- No Impact on Smartphone’s Data Plan
Likewise, running mileage tracking tools on a driver’s mobile device uses up data, whereas an OBD device has a built-in SIM card. In fact, with Automile, all data usage is included in the monthly subscription, which also includes all IT and user support as well as device costs, depending on the plan you select.
- Accuracy of Mileage Tracking
A customer example helps to explain this benefit. Prior to adopting Automile’s solution, Green Ride was using tablets for GPS location, which Tate Freundlich explains, “wasn’t always accurate. All it takes is the driver tapping the wrong icon,” he says, “and the data is inaccurate.” With Automile’s tracking and Live Map GPS functionality, on the other hand, Freundlich has more confidence in his ability to manage the trip details and whereabouts of his vehicles on a daily basis.
- Real-time Tracking Gets Very Close to Real
With GPS technology, real-time means close to real time, depending on the collective processing speed of the tracking device, the GPS tool’s servers, and the user’s computer or mobile app. It can be difficult to optimize this speed because there are many (fast-moving) parts. A unified solution like Automile is able to provide tracking data that updates every 15 seconds, representing the industry’s fastest processing speed. We’ve achieved the most efficient data transfer between our OBD device, our servers, and the tools our customers access. “Automile shows us exactly where our vehicles are at any given time,” reports Scott France of Macrina Bakery. If a driver is on the road and not able to respond to a text or a phone call—or they don’t have their mobile device with them—France can locate them right away using his Live Map tool.
- More Robust Set of Features
Vehicle tracking tools that are part of a vehicle telematics solution offers features that go well beyond tracking miles and GPS locating. Tom Kissane of Tiger Mechanical Services explains that before Automile, their GPS tracking system was “rudimentary.” The challenge, he says, was that “we had to dig through a lot of data and it was not as friendly as Automile.” Today, they take advantage of instant speeding notifications and monitor the fuel consumption for every trip. “Now have a tool that will help me analyze this type of stuff,” he says.
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