What is a GPS tracker?
A GPS tracker, or black box, is a small piece of hardware, sometimes smaller than a cellphone. It typically includes a slot for a SIM card and a plug, normally OBD-II, to connect it to a vehicle.
A GPS tracker receives a GPS signal and sends location information, along with other vehicle data, back to a fleet management system via cellular 3G, 4G LTE, CDMA or satellite networks. Using your vehicle tracking system, you can then monitor your fleet in near real time.
What different vehicle tracking devices are available?
There is a range of different GPS vehicle trackers available, and they can collect different types of data. Some are powered by the vehicle itself, while others use a battery. Some devices can easily be plugged into the vehicle, while others need professional installation under the dashboard.
The hardware you use depends on what vehicles you have and what data you need.
These devices can be installed as standard or as an optional extra by the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) in new vehicles (organized by the dealer). Verizon Connect offers OEM solutions for Ford, GM, John Deere, Mack, Navistar, Volvo, Komatsu and Caterpillar trucks and equipment.
Easily purchased from most electronic stores, these mini GPS tracking devices plug in to a vehicle’s OBD-II port. They provide a basic level of near real-time location information on easy-to-use mobile apps built for Apple iOS and Android smartphones.
Normally installed by a technician, hard-wired vehicle GPS trackers are connected to a vehicle’s wiring harness in a hidden location to reduce tampering. Aftermarket devices are preferred when adding features like power takeoff (PTO) monitoring, driver monitoring and fleet dashcams to your GPS fleet tracking solution.
Although cellphones with location services enabled can be used as near real-time GPS trackers, they are most effective when paired with a dedicated car GPS tracker. Smartphone apps can streamline a worker’s daily tasks, like filling in DVIR reports or completing service calls.
Weatherproof asset tracking devices can be powered by an engine for vehicles like bulldozers and forklifts. Unpowered equipment, like dumpsters and trailers, can use a configurable battery-powered tracker. These devices can even be connected to sensors for monitoring refrigerated loads or alerting you when a trailer door is open. To extend the battery life, just set these devices to report locations less frequently.
Can assets, trailers and equipment be tracked?
It’s easy to monitor and manage your valuable powered and non-powered assets with GPS tracking devices built by Verizon Connect. Our asset tracking devices with long battery life can help improve utilization, streamline maintenance and keep your assets secure.
Is GPS tracking device installation difficult?
Depending on the tracking unit, installation can be as simple as plugging a vehicle tracking unit into a truck’s OBD-II port or can require a visit from a certified technician to connect the unit to a vehicle’s wiring harness.
Installation instructions are available for Verizon Connect Reveal, and Fleet for a range of devices. If you need help with devices made by Verizon Connect, guides are available for the Vehicle Data Device (VDD) and dashcams.
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Frequently asked questions
How do you access the data that GPS tracking devices collect?
To get the data from a GPS tracker, you need special software that can receive and display the data in an easy-to-read manner. Our GPS tracking software is hardware agnostic, which lets you access the data from a diverse range of devices.
How does the GPS tracker know where to send the data it’s collecting?
The device needs to be set to point to the correct IP address and port number of the internet server used by the GPS tracking solution. Software companies who provide trackers will generally preprogram devices to connect to the correct server.
How does the server identify each different GPS tracker?
Each GPS tracking device has a unique code, known as an International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number. This code allows the GPS tracking software to match the GPS tracker in the tracked vehicle to the moving marker you see on the screen.
What different GPS tracking devices are available?
There is a range of different GPS tracking devices available. While they all serve the same basic function, there are some differences in the data they collect, how they attach to a vehicle and how they are powered. What hardware you use depends on the specific requirements for the data you need to collect.
Can GPS tracking devices be used with geofencing?
Yes, geofences are easy to set up in fleet tracking software and can be used to generate many types of data and notifications. You can generate reports based on when a vehicle leaves and returns to the garage, or get alerted if construction equipment is removed from a work site.