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Tracking and Monitoring Unpowered Assets
When it comes to tracking company assets like fleet vehicles, GPS devices are often wired to draw from the vehicle’s power supply. But some assets and equipment don’t have a power supply that you can connect to. The asset might be situated in an isolated location without power, or it may not be possible to connect to its power supply. Is it possible to track non-powered assets with a GPS tracker?
Verizon Connect Australia has worked with several clients who needed to do just that. For example, you may need to track the location of truck trailers and also record door opening events. Other assets such as containers or portable offices may also need to be tracked in near real-time to monitor unauthorised entry, employee start and stop times, or to simply verify when the mobile asset is on site. This non-powered (or "unpowered") equipment can be tracked and monitored using battery-powered GPS technology.
To monitor unpowered assets, you need:
- A GPS device that has its own power supply
- Rugged GPS hardware that can withstand extreme weather
- Devices that are easy to setup and install, and update over-the-air
- Hardware that requires little or no maintenance
There are several companies that supply GPS tracking hardware that meets all these requirements. Verizon Connect’s asset and vehicle tracking solutions offer the flexibility to use the hardware best suited to your business.
How GPS Tracking Devices Are Powered
If you can't attach the device to the asset's power supply, how are they powered? Most are powered by special long life batteries, which are sometimes replaceable or rechargeable, that can last up to seven years operating on low power modes. This incredible battery life can vary depending on the frequency of updates from the tracking device - the more often the GPS tracker needs to send updates, the shorter the battery life will be. If you only need one or two updates a day you can usually get an extremely long battery life before replacement is needed.
How Big Are Battery Powered Gps Tracking Devices?
The size of a battery powered GPS tracking device varies depending on the make and model. Battery GPS trackers need to pack in a lot of high performance hardware: a gsm/gprs aerial and sim card for connection to cellular networks, GPS / glonass receivers, internal storage if network connectivity is intermittent, and most importantly a long-life internal battery or 3-4 AA 1.5v lithium batteries. However they’re usually the size of a mobile phone - small enough to conceal between the corrugations of a container or on a trailer to avoid being tampered with.
How They're Being Used
GPS devices are portable, self-powered and smart enough to incorporate sensors to detect door openings or vibrations. Companies that operate fleets of vehicles and assets have found many different uses for them, particularly in the area of asset security and management.
As fleets grow, the number of assets they manage increases exponentially. This can prove to be a headache for administrative staff, particularly when it comes to asset tracking or inventory management.
With GPS devices attached, assets constantly report their location regardless of where they are in the world. A common dashboard, like that found in Verizon Connect Reveal, provides managers with global coverage and insight into their fleet, allowing them to easily monitor unpowered assets, obtain details on individual items, and receive alerts and notifications when the asset is moved or some other exception occurs.
Other Uses For GPS Monitoring
As real time GPS trackers become more widespread, and the tracking devices more adaptable, the number of different uses will continue to grow. There are already a wide variety of uses of telematics technology including:
- Specifying a geofence for an asset to verify that it stays on the job site. If it is moved from the site, a fleet manager can be automatically alerted via a mobile app.
- When equipment is moved from a job site, its movements can be tracked.
- Worker start and stop times can be confirmed, which is useful when verifying client invoicing or if that data is needed for bill recovery.
Using GPS fleet tracking, including monitoring unpowered assets, is a giant leap forward in improving office efficiency, and saving fleet managers a huge amount of time in tracking and monitoring company equipment.