There are ways fleet businesses can track their vehicles in the absence of GPS devices. They can use SIM-based tracking that uses cellular networks to monitor a vehicle’s journey.
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When we think about fleet management software, our first thought goes to GPS tracking. But is it impossible to track your drivers when you do not have a GPS device? Well, you are in the right place for answers!
Before we try to find an answer to this question, let us first understand the importance of tracking. While this requirement can be subjective to the industry a fleet works under, we can still categorise it to a large extent.
Why Should Fleet Businesses Track Their Vehicles?
The question remains, why track your vehicles in the first place? Well, the answer is very simple. For safety, visibility, optimisation, and insights! After all, precaution is better than cure. Tracking vehicles is also a precautionary step fleet businesses must take.
Fleets of all sizes can incur heavy losses in the form of accidents and theft. Having to repair or replace just a single vehicle is very loss-inducing. Imagine having to do this daily for a business with hundreds of vehicles.
Tracking allows fleets to ensure that their vehicles are in places they are expected. This means that they are in safe areas and near their destinations. This system can uproot any theft attempts when they know that the vehicle is being tracked.
Data oriented operations can help managers make better decisions for optimisations. Tracking can be the perfect source of this data. Managers can target the pain points the insights and reports highlight. Thus, giving the fleet business an overall boost.
As we have seen, one way of ensuring vehicle safety is by keeping track of vehicle locations. But technology is ever-changing and with these transformations, we have been introduced to different ways a fleet manager can track vehicles. Let us have a quick look at both of them.
GPS Tracking System: This system uses GPS satellites to find the coordinates of a vehicle. As the vehicle moves, these coordinates also change, and thus, a path is formed. Though sounding extensive, this process is a very fast, instant, and accurate way of tracking vehicles.
SIM-based Tracking System: This system fetches the location of the cellular tower closest to the vehicle to get an idea of what area the vehicle is in. As the vehicle travels between places, its connected cellular tower changes too. While it is hard to locate the exact location of vehicles with sim-based tracking, fleet managers can see what areas their vehicles traveled through.
What if There is No GPS Installed in Your Vehicle?
Well, what if your vehicle has no GPS tracking device installed? SIM-based tracking is very much possible even under such circumstances. But how does this system work for it to not use GPS for its operations? Let us have to understand this briefly.
To begin the process, the driver’s phone number is entered into the software. After being registered, drivers get a tracking request which they have to allow. As soon as they give their permission, tracking is initiated.
As the vehicle with this registered mobile phone moves from one location to another, the SIM card connects to several cellular towers. The fleet management system picks up the coordinates of the tower closest to the vehicle every 30th minute, thus highlighting which area the vehicle is passing through and at what time.
Before this entire process begins, fleet managers purchase coins in the system. With every information package they receive, the software deducts coins as payment. This means that they have the power to increase and decrease their tracking costs by choosing a custom frequency at which data enters the system.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Tracking Vehicles Without GPS
While a god sent for some businesses, SIM-based tracking comes with its own set of disadvantages as well. It depends on the type of business you run and your requirements. Let us have a look at these pros and cons of using SIM-based tracking for fleets in detail:
Advantages of Using SIM-based Tracking
We know that SIM-based tracking is an alternative to GPS tracking. But can it also prove to be advantageous to a fleet that decides to use it? Listed below are some of the best advantages of using SIM-based tracking:
Less Expensive: SIM-based tracking does not require businesses to invest in complete fleet management systems. Instead, vehicles have to pay only for the trips they decide to track. They can also regulate their expenditure by reducing the number of information packets they receive.
Easier Installation: You do not have to have any extensive equipment for tracking your vehicles. Simply accepting the tracking request sent to the phone will do the work. This is not only an easy process to understand, but also very time efficient.
No Smart Gadgets Required: for SIM-tracking, all you need is any functional phone with a SIM which might not even be smart. Simple feature phones work just fine!
Does Not Need Internet: SIM-based tracking works via the user’s cellular network. This is why, unlike GPS tracking, it does not require the internet. Thus, it can be used even in areas where there is no internet connectivity.
Integration With GPS Tracking Devices
For Your Vehicles
Well, nothing is all good without issues. Similarly, SIM-based tracking comes with its own set of challenges. Let us see what these are:
Tracks Only Location: Technology has completely changed our way of operating fleets. This means that most modern GPS tracking software have ventured into providing a holistic management system with several solutions. These solutions help optimise business operations. But SIM-based tracking is limited to location tracking.
Requires Permission From SIM Provider: For the software to track your vehicle’s location, it requires the SIM provider’s permission. While very simple and fast, it is an added step to the tracking process.
Gives Vague Locations: With a SIM-based tracking system in work, your fleet management software cannot provide you with accurate vehicle locations. Instead, it just sends the location of the nearest cellular tower the vehicle crossed the last. Thus, the path it forms showcasing a vehicle’s journey is just a general visualisation of what the actual trip must have looked like.
Can I Track Stolen Vehicles Without GPS?
In many cases when a vehicle is stolen, the thief disables the GPS tracking devices integrated with it. This means that the fleet management system cannot get hold of its location to go retrieve the stolen vehicle. So the question arises, is it possible to track a vehicle without GPS?
If we look at SIM-based tracking, it is not possible to use it in this scenario because there is no mobile phone inside the vehicle. Thus, fleet managers are at a loss in such situations. But some methods might work for your fleet in such cases.
Many fleet management systems work without the help of a GPS. This includes toll detectors that might send the system information if the vehicle passes through a toll. This can help find out where the vehicle is headed, making it easier to locate.
Can I Track My Vehicle Without an Internet Connection?
As we mentioned above, a fleet management system is capable of tracking vehicles without an internet connection only when there is a mobile phone present inside the vehicle. The GPS tracker installed in the vehicles requires an internet connection to operate.
Thus, to answer this question, tracking vehicles without the help of a GPS tracker is possible as long as the driver’s phone is present in the vehicle at all times.
TrackoBit, the Answer to Every Problem
We hope you now have a clear picture of ways in which vehicle tracking can be executed without the use of GPS. Ultimately, fleet businesses save not just their time, but also resources, both monetary and physical.
TrackoBit is a fleet management system that can help fleets track their vehicles, both via GPS and SIM. Its robust solutions allow fleet managers to optimise their fleets by using useful insights. But you will not know the system’s complete potential without watching it in action! So, request a demo and watch how the software helps you automate your fleet.