The very word "Tracking" conjures up "Big Brother" and the image of someone, somewhere, spying on what you are doing...and in some cases that is correct...but not here at AcuTrac - read on.
There are four basic uses of tracking devices:
- To find the current position of an asset and track its recent movements
- To set up safe areas and early warning systems around your asset
- To locate and recover an asset post theft
- To manage large fleets of assets to optimise their efficiency
Whilst the use of the word asset is a little impersonal, it does cover a multitude of things: cars, motorcycles, scooters, vans, lorries, boats, personal watercraft, all-terrain vehicles, quads, plant & machinery and of course, people. For that reason we use it here!
At Acutrac, we are primarily concerned with items 1 to 3 above.
It is important not to get confused (but sadly, very easy!) by all the terms used in the tracking industry. To keep it simple, we break them into two groups:
- Locating your asset/device
- Communicating with your asset/device
Let’s examine them in a little more detail.
To position (or find) your asset, location technology uses one or a combination of three systems:
- GPS – Global Positioning System – Satellite tracking in other words
- GSM – Global System for Mobile Communications – Mobile phone tracking
- RFID – Radio Frequency Identification – A radio bar code system really which requires a ‘reader’ to receive a positional ‘fix’
All Acutrac devices use both GPS and GSM technology whilst the top of the range Premier unit also incorporates RFID technology.
Communicating with your asset/device can also utilise one or a combination of three systems:
- Email – Communication via your laptop or Smartphone
- GPRS – General Packet Radio Service – A system for sending and receiving short bursts of data, there are drawbacks to this system, see below
- SMS – Short Message Service – Text messaging
All Acutrac devices use both Email and SMS communications, and here’s why…
GPRS versus SMS
- GPRS is live all the time so the current drain is high - anyone with a Smartphone will know what we mean
- GPRS requires a high monthly (or annual) fee. If your asset is in, say, winter storage, you are still having to pay the fee every month
- GPRS handles a lot of data and as any Smartphone user will know, in poor signal areas GPRS will be the first to fail. So, if your GPRS phone doesn't work, your GPRS tracking device won’t work either
- SMS is more expensive per message BUT unless you want more than 200 (average) position fixes per month it is cheaper overall
All Acutrac devices use SMS text messaging to ensure lower battery consumption and greater signal reliability coupled with lower (average) user costs.
Contract SIM card versus Pay As You Go
If you are a light user of mobile phones and have bought a PAYG mobile which you haven’t used for a period, you may have found the number has been re-allocated by the system provider or the credit has expired. This would be a disaster if the SIM card was in your tracking device just at the time you need it most: to find your stolen asset!
All Acutrac devices are sold with an inclusive 2 or 3 year contract SIM card (dependant on product) which protects the number from re-allocation. At the end of the contract you can renew via Acutrac, for a small fee. There are no monthly contract fees!
When you buy your Acutrac device, it will be already loaded with a number of ‘credits’ (text messages in other words). After you have established your usage pattern, you can then buy more credits via your personalised, secure web panel to suit your specific needs.
Again, unlike some mobile phone contracts where you receive ‘use or lose’ inclusive talk time and texts, you do not lose unused texts at the end of each month.*
*Acutrac credits have a lifespan of 4 months before expiry. You can set up a low credit alert via your personalised, secure web panel to ensure you do not run out.
But, what if your credits have expired and your asset is stolen? Simply log on to your personalised, secure web panel, buy £5 worth of credits and start tracking your kit! Simple.
Want to see videos of the User Web Panel?
For Login Information and basic use for all models, click here,
For Locator Standard use click here,
For Locator PLUS use click here.