Most of us are familiar with GPS trackers: they are the power behind fitness bands and running apps, services like Google Maps, and location-based product promotions. In 2021, however, the true potential of this technology is being unleashed in enterprise applications.
Businesses, struggling to maintain efficiency and security in the world of rapidly growing demands, are beginning to leverage GPS technology to enhance their fleet management, logistics transparency, return on investment rates, and regulatory compliance.
Asset tracking, enabled by GPS, is growing increasingly critical for companies across all fields. While, in the past, simple warehouse check-in procedures were enough, enterprises now need to monitor their goods on the move, optimize routes for their vehicle fleets, and keep track of heavy machinery: the tracking software market, growing at a CAGR of 15%, is rising to meet the demand.
GPS tracking software brings the essential data regarding your assets’ real-time location to your screen. Read on to learn more about how GPS technology works, what benefits it brings, and how to build your own tracking solution.
GPS stands for Global Positioning System. It’s a navigation technology with the precision of 5-7 meters, designed for accurate and real-time tracking of vehicles, objects, and people. A simple location tracking system installed on a device is capable of determining the geographical location of the device, the time of measurement, the device’s speed, and the direction of movement.
Here’s how GPS tracking works
A GPS tracking system works by receiving information from specialized satellites orbiting the Earth. The GPS module in your smartphone or tracking device picks up these signals and uses the known positioning of the satellites to calculate where the device currently is.
The satellite network for the GPS comprises 24 active units, which allows devices to receive data from multiple satellites (not all of them, however) at once. This enables users to see how the positions of cars, planes, and other moving objects change, with minimal delays.
Location-determining technology thrives in logistics and the automotive sector, but these are not the only industries that can reap the benefits of long-range asset monitoring. Here are six examples of how to use a GPS tracker to make your business or life more efficient and secure.
All companies that possess cars or trucks for corporate use have a fleet. To be profitable as an asset, a vehicle fleet requires tracking technology to achieve the best fuel efficiency, route optimization, delivery time, and employee productivity.
Here’s what fleet managers can do with the help of a GPS system:
- use telematics data to accurately locate trucks;
- monitor the locations of delivery persons;
- cut fuel consumption by optimizing routes;
- discourage misconduct and theft; and
- in case a vehicle deviates from the designated route and the driver doesn’t respond, the system can send automatic alarms to the police, reporting the accident and the dynamic location of the truck.
Control over valuable assets
A GPS asset tracking system is not limited to vehicles. Monitoring can also be beneficial for heavy equipment, industrial machinery, and other cargo on the move.
Overall, this technology is useful for
- keeping track of combines, drones, laser devices, construction units, power generators, video production equipment, and fragile items to determine where they are and how fast they’re moving; and
- creating digital twins: virtual models of the entire transportation chain for customers or analysis.
Safety for family members and pets
Small children and elderly family members frequently require supervision. Kids as well as patients with Alzheimer’s or dementia can leave the house and find themselves unable to make their way back. Even healthy grandparents may get in trouble if they’re incapacitated outside because of a sudden injury or any other reason.
A GPS tracker in a person’s smartphone or wearable device helps people connect with their loved ones and keep their families safe. The technology is also used by pet owners, rescue services, and law enforcement to monitor people on probation or under house arrest.
A classical example of a GPS tracking app is Google Maps: it helps you get from point A to point B by whichever mode of transportation you prefer. Such navigation apps are among the most popular applications of GPS technology, and the navigation market for tracking software is also extremely flexible.
In addition to those who need a GPS app for personal use, you can target commercial and private vehicle drivers, pilots, and other enterprises, depending on what type of service you wish to provide.
Deliveries in healthcare
A tracking device can be particularly useful when it’s critical to deliver cargo urgently and handle it with care. This applies mostly to medical equipment, samples traveling to laboratories, and medications. The GPS can also enhance ambulances, letting hospitals and emergency services know which vehicles to dispatch to particular locations.
Reducing the number of cars in cities relies on increasing the efficiency and convenience of public transport. GPS solutions enable commuters to see where each active vehicle on the network is and how soon it will arrive at their stop. Such apps also help plan routes by determining the location of the person and calculating the fastest ways to reach their desired destination.
Now that you’re familiar with how GPS can be applied, let’s take a look at the three most significant business advantages such systems offer.
Better asset and vehicle security
Fleet units and assets on the move that are lost due to theft typically deliver significant blows to the company’s budget. If you want to protect your assets from being stolen and prevent driver misconduct, GPS fleet tracking is the right software to implement.
A GPS system allows you to construct a geofence, separating designated routes from dangerous zones. If any vehicle crosses the geofence, the system will alert the company’s managers and, in some cases, the local police force, relaying the details of the truck’s current location, speed, and direction.
When combined with other modules (GSM, Wi-Fi, and various connected sensors), GPS can also be useful in detecting unauthorized access to a vehicle by tracking when and for how long the engine was running.
Optimized delivery routes
Using GPS asset tracking solutions helps transform your delivery processes and boost fleet efficiency. First of all, GPS takes part in optimizing delivery routes, thus cutting down fuel costs and freeing up space for additional cargo.
A GPS-based asset-tracking solution achieves this by taking in data about each vehicle’s location and comparing it to the corresponding points on digital maps, revealing traffic conditions and road availability. It enables swift rerouting in case of traffic jams or accidents, and you can leverage the accumulated data to plan future deliveries.
Asset tracking technologies also allow drivers to navigate easily, following the best combined route to several venues.
Secondly, the technology helps avoid excessive idling time and the premature depreciation of mechanical parts. A GPS system connected to your fleet can gather information about mileage covered and alert the company when a particular asset has been in use for too long.
Likewise, it enables you to relocate vehicles to different sites if they’re underused at their current stations.
Enhanced customer experience
Logistics companies and enterprises providing services or goods to end-users can utilize GPS to show their clients where the requested items come from and how soon they will arrive.
By connecting to the corresponding apps on customers’ phones, asset tracking devices can provide essential information about the path each product is taking and whether the client should expect any delays. This helps boost customer trust and loyalty, as people prefer companies with transparent and clear logistics.
When developers create a GPS tracking system, they design software for connectivity as well as functional user-oriented elements.
Overall, software elements for a GPS system include
- Data processing and connection modules: these receive and interpret the signals sent by the GPS device and all additional sensors. Processing modules are responsible for generating and displaying practical insights, such as an asset’s location, speed, status, and other parameters;
- An admin panel: it allows you to manage and customize your tracking software efficiently, particularly when it’s used for controlling multiple enterprise assets;
- A mobile app: it connects to the tracker and displays all the relevant information directly to managers, drivers, or customers;
- A web interface: it enables your clients and employees to easily access the software’s functionality through a web browser.
Creating a tracking device that can be integrated with a vehicle or attached to an object requires a combination of appropriate hardware and software pieces. Here’s a brief overview of how to make a GPS tracker solution yourself:
Choose the hardware
Start by figuring out what hardware you will need for the desired type of technology.
Asset trackers relying on GPS typically include the following parts:
- a GPS module,
- an adapter if you’re building a GPS device for a vehicle,
- a battery,
- microcontrollers for memory and peripheral devices, and
- a GSM module to connect to smartphones and other mobile devices.
Develop the software
After settling on the hardware, you need to design software that will perceive and interpret the data from your GPS device. This low-level back-end functionality is typically coded in C.
Read more about how to build a location-tracking automotive app for your business: Top 5 IoT automotive apps and how to develop one
For higher-level features, such as instilling a geofence, implementing automatic alerts, visual representations, optional route optimization features, AR/VR additions for better inventory management, and other desired pieces of functionality, developers use languages that work best with their chosen platforms.
Nothing displays a particular technology better than practical cases of its implementation. Eastern Peak has had the pleasure of working on several GPS tracking projects during the past few years, and we’d like to share our top three inventions with you.
Pawscout Pet Finder
Pawscout Pet Finder comes as a small tag that you can attach to your pet’s collar. It utilizes GPS asset tracking to help you monitor the location of your dog or cat from your phone, with the precision of 200 feet.
Pawscout also includes a virtual leash: an automatic alert system if your pet strays away from the specified safe zone.
Available for: Android
Cobra Connect is a comprehensive solution that allows you to take full control of your vehicle, monitor its condition, and operate it remotely. The GPS tracker for asset tracking that we have included enables you to receive trip reports specifying the distance and places covered, as well as whether the engine is running, and where your vehicle is at all times.
Kaftor helps boost security for your personal and corporate vehicles, and it also aids fleet management by using GPS asset tracking devices and automation. To prevent unauthorized access or course deviations, Kaftor continuously monitors each asset’s geolocation, stops, and velocity.
The system automatically contacts emergency services in case of an accident or hijacking, notifying first responders and the company’s managers of the vehicle’s location and status.
Asset tracking technology is an incredibly multifaceted solution to several business problems. By enabling you to track the movement of your assets, GPS helps increase the efficiency of operations, reduces fuel expenses, protects valuable cargo, and boosts the overall visibility and transparency of services.
If you’re thinking about getting a personalized GPS tracking software solution from the top provider in the field, book a free consultation with Eastern Peak specialists today!