OBD II vs. Hardwired Fleet Tracking Device – What’s the Best Approach?

OBD vs. hardwire


Is it better to plug a fleet tracking device into your vehicle’s OBD II port or invest in a hardwired solution? It depends on your needs. But majority of Automile customers lean toward the OBD II device as the winner. Here’s why.

Technology is Taking Fleet Tracking “Wireless”

  1. All new vehicles sold after 1996 contain a standard On-Board Diagnostics (OBD) system that’s accessible through the OBD II portal.
  2. Around the same time, technology started to go mobile and wireless.
  3. And now, cloud computing is a standard way to network and the Internet of Things is booming.

Today’s fleet telematics solutions fall right into the convergence.

Even still, some customers still tend to see value in hardwiring. It might make more sense if you’re tracking only one vehicle or if you don’t want drivers or vehicle thieves to detect a tracking device (more on this later). That’s why Automile offers both options.  But we’ve found that by far, the OBD II device is the most popular option amongst Automile customers.

Wireless is the way to go. The most progressive field service businesses are going with the OBD II device because:

It Costs Less

With a hardwired solution, you have to install it or pay to have an electrician to handle the job. It’s inherently more complex. It’s wired. Wire-less OBD II devices are plug-and-play. All of the pieces (and yes, wires) are contained snugly in a little black box—you’re not doing any wiring or installing. You literally plug the device into your vehicle’s OBD II portal and start driving. It syncs with the cloud-based servers in minutes.

Read more in link to post “Don’t Pay Too Much for Vehicle Tracking

It’s Portable

Once you wire-up a hardwired solution, it’s part of that vehicle and not portable. But when there is a need – let us say you are replacing your old vehicle with new one, you can easily move an OBD II device from one vehicle to another. You just unplug it from one vehicle and plug it into the next. Again, there are no installers coming on site for hardwiring and there’s no need to pay additional costs for installation.

And another thing our customers love about the plug-in option? They get a notification if a device becomes unplugged, er, disconnected. Learn more in Automile Feature Showcase: Simple Notifications That Save Businesses And Lives.

It Enables “Transparency”

Fleet managers are also employing fleet telematics solutions to support worker productivity and safety initiatives. They’re making drivers accountable for safe driving practices and showing them how their driving relates to costs, vehicle health, and a number of other operational and client service-related issues.

This means they’re being transparent with drivers. Drivers can see that there’s a telematics device plugged into their vehicle—but it’s there to help both the employer and the employee protect company assets and ensure driver safety. If it’s about driver education and trust, it’s a win-win.

One of the reasons Rob Jones of Elevation Solar adopted Automile was to get a pulse on the whereabouts of their vehicles. He says, “It is not a secret. We have been very transparent and told (employees) that it is our vehicle and this is how we are going to manage it. I ask my employees, ‘If this was your vehicle, would you not want to keep an eye on it?’ and they understand where we are coming from.”

If you’re worried about theft, the OBD II device can help you there, too. Find out How to Avoid Unauthorized Use and Theft of Business Vehicles & Assets?


About Automile

Automile is revolutionizing fleet management with its innovative, cloud-based, mobile, and design-first experience.

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