GPS vs. Mobile vs. SIM-Based Vehicle Tracking: The Best Choice to Track Fleet Vehicles

Author: Kumar Siddhant

Author: Kumar Siddhant

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Published date: Jan 31, 2024

Published date: Jan 31, 2024

Table of Contents

Vehicle fleets are a core component of every industry. Whether you are a transportation company, a manufacturing or even a service-based company, vehicle fleets play a crucial role in day-to-day operations.

However, tracking fleet vehicles can be challenging, considering the numerous business-specific variables you must consider. The value or nature of consignments you are shipping, the type of fleet you use (market, dedicated), the route you take, network, and geographical complications are some parameters every business needs to consider.

Well, the first thought that comes to mind with respect to tracking vehicles is GPS, right? But did you know that only 40% of commercial trucks in India have GPS integrations? Depending upon whether these are market fleets or dedicated fleets, extracting this tracking data can be a herculean task!

So, how do you track fleet vehicles?

SIM-based tracking, GPS-based tracking (wired/portable), and mobile app-based tracking are some viable options for you to track fleet vehicles.

In this blog, we delve into the nitty-gritty of fleet vehicle tracking, exploring the various solutions available and figuring out the ideal tracking solution for different use cases. But before that, let’s first understand what a vehicle fleet is.

What is a Fleet Vehicle?

A fleet vehicle refers to any motorized vehicle owned and used by a business, organization, or government agency and is primarily used for transporting either goods or people. This could include delivery trucks, service vehicles, or even a company's sales cars.

Having said that, efficient fleet vehicle management is crucial for operational success, cost-effectiveness, and timely delivery.

Exploring Different Fleet Vehicle Tracking Solutions

Visibility is the most crucial cog in transportation logistics. Depending upon the aforementioned variables and parameters, here are the best vehicle fleet tracking solutions that would be ideal for your business.

  1. SIM-Based Vehicle Tracking

    Tracking vehicles via SIM cards requires only a basic cell phone and a cellular network. This technology leverages the existing cellular infrastructure to triangulate real-time location updates every 15 minutes and with an accuracy of 100-150 m. All you need is the driver’s consent, post which we can procure the data directly from the respective service providers.

    Benefits
    • Capture driver’s whereabouts in real-time and keep checks on disruptions across logistics

    • Track fleet vehicle idling or overuse issues on a unified dashboard

    • Record delivery time to keep tabs on SLA breaches and levy appropriate penalties when required

    • Ideal for tracking long-haul movements like inter-state transportation

    • Works best when using market fleet vehicles for shipping needs.

    • Zero-dependency on Internet availability for real-time tracking

    • Low-cost tracking solution with zero hardware cost


    Challenges
    • Tracking accuracy is comparatively low (up to 100-150m)

    • Tracking stops when the driver switches off their cell phone

    • Errors in cell tower codes at ground level can cause data issues, especially when using SIM-based tracking that triangulates locations based on nearby towers. This happens if a tower has the same code as one far away, resulting in sudden location jumps. 

      A basic backend logic can be used to analyze vehicle speed and negate unrealistically distant pings to fix this.

  2. GPS Tracking Software

    Three different forms of GPS trackers can be used to track fleet vehicles.


    In-Built GPS Trackers

    A huge chunk of commercial vehicles come with built-in GPS that the vehicle owner can use to track vehicle whereabouts. This tracking solution leverages data captured by GPS satellites and provides real-time visibility accurate up to 20 meters in urban areas and up to 50 meters in rural areas with low reception.

    However, for shippers who arrange vehicles from vendors, it is very difficult to access this tracking data, considering a major chunk of their vehicles could belong to market fleets.

    Wired GPS Integration

    Wired GPS is a highly feasible and accurate means of tracking vehicle fleets. They are easily integrated with the shipper’s Transportation Management System/Fleet Management System, and data points are captured as soon as the ignition is on.


    Benefits
    • Provides real-time visibility with heightened accuracy

    • Captures ignition data that helps identify vehicle idling issues

    • Provides accurate time stamps to and vehicle usage data like overspending, halts, ignition data, and more

    • Cost-effective as it entails zero hardware cost

    • Zero dependencies on drivers for capturing tracking data


    Challenges
    • Not an ideal solution for market fleet vehicles that are used only for a short period of time

    Portable GPS Devices

    Portable GPS Installation (Expensive) uses internal SIM cards for network connectivity and tracks location data from GPS satellites


    Benefits
    • Real-time accuracy of under 20m in urban areas to under 50m in rural areas

    • Ready-to-use portable devices that are easy to carry around

    • Seamless integration with ERM platforms for channeling data captured from GPS devices


    Challenges
    • Historic Pings could cause minor delays in curating tracking data. This mostly occurs when the vehicle passes through a no-network reception zone and cannot push the data forward. So, it collects the location data from the GPS satellite and stores it within the device until network reception is re-established.

    • Not ideal for market fleet vehicles

  3. Mobile-Based Vehicle Tracking Solution

    Mobile-based solutions use apps that leverage the GPS capabilities of smartphones to track vehicles. While convenient, this solution may suffer from accuracy issues due to potential signal loss, especially in areas with weak network coverage. Mobile-based tracking also poses challenges in terms of battery life and the need for employees to have a smartphone with them at all times.


    Benefits
    • No additional hardware expenses for integration

    • Heightened accuracy of up to 10m

    • Easy-to-use interface (can be used by non-techies as well)


    Challenges
    • App-device compatibility is the biggest challenge for tracking fleet vehicles via mobile applications. (A major chunk of Indian truck drivers do not use smartphones)

    • Drains mobile battery at a rapid rate

    • Tracking stops if the device is switched off or shut down in the background


Not sure which method is ideal for you to track fleet vehicles? Compare them at a glance!!

SIM v/s Mobile v/s GPS-Based Vehicle Tracking Software: A Detailed Comparison

Who Wins by Comparison?

Tracking fleet vehicles via each of the three solutions—SIM-Based, GPS-Based, and Mobile-Based—brings its own set of advantages and considerations. SIM-based tracking could be a reliable option for you if you prioritize consistent visibility, cost-effectiveness, ease of use, and seamless integration. GPS-based tracking excels in scenarios where pinpoint accuracy is critical, even if it comes with potentially higher initial costs. Mobile-based tracking, while cost-effective and accurate, may face challenges related to connectivity or device compatibility. 

Whether it's the seamless integration and consistency of SIM-based tracking or the precision and ease of use of GPS-based and mobile-based tracking, the choice ultimately hinges on the specific priorities and operational requirements of each enterprise.


So, what’s your inclination?? Need help figuring out what works best for your business? We could be of help!

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Copyright @2023, All rights reserved.

Registered Address: Intugine Technologies Private Limited, Attic Space Karna, 4th floor, No 9, Sarjapur - Marathahalli Rd, 1st Block Koramangala, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560034

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Intugine Technologies Private Limited

Attic Space Karna, 4th floor
No 9, Sarjapur - Marathahalli Rd, 1st Block, Koramangala, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560034

Copyright @2023, All rights reserved.

Registered Address: Intugine Technologies Private Limited, Attic Space Karna, 4th floor, No 9, Sarjapur - Marathahalli Rd, 1st Block Koramangala, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560034

CIN: U74999KA2013PTC168682

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