Thursday, December 15, 2016

Vehicle Tracking - GPS Units vs Smartphone Applications

As we know now a days vehicle tracking is being important for businesses and users.

All the businesses want to know 

  • Where their vehicles are?
  • How much they travelled?
  • What route they have taken?
  • Is it cost effective route?
  • How they can reduce fuel expenses?

All the end users want to know

  • When the item will be delivered?
  • What is the current status and where it reached?
  • How much more time will it take?
So most the business are looking for GPS based tracking system for their vehicles. Now it leads to a question that what is the effective tracking solution? 

A Standalone and embedded GPS unit or A Smartphone Application

This blog will clarify more on this and help you decide the best solution for you. 

First of all lets see what is Embedded GPS Unit.

GPS unit is device with it's own operating system, display and sender and receiver to track users. It can be in the small chip that can be installed in your vehicle and that can communicate with GPS satellite and your location to predefined receiver.

It can be simple device with display and some kind of configurable panel where user can interact with it and can change settings of it. In any case stand alone GPS units are specially designed devices with it's own chip sets and all. It has to be manufactured from scratch.

What is Smartphone Application

Now a days all smart phones like Android, iOS have capability of interacting with GPS satellites so based on this there are smart phone applications which can take advantage of GPS capability and can be used to track mobile locations. This smartphone application can be developed easily and can work with any type of servers and easy to maintain. Basically this application will work on background and will send location information for tracking.
Here are some vital comparisons on both approach. 


GPS Units Smartphone Applications
Cost High No Cost to Moderate Cost
Accuracy High Moderate to High
Special Hardwares Mandatory Not required
Compatibility No Yes
Human Interference Not Possible Moderate
Maintenance Required Not Required

As you can see in above table GPS units are not cost effective as it needs special hardware and embedded system designs. However in case of mobile app your smartphone works as hardware. 

Accuracy is much higher in case of GPS units as it's built with spacial hardwares, while smart phone apps depends on phone hardware and in some devices it may not give accurate result.

Special hardware designs are required for GPS units which is not required in case of smart phone apps. Also GPS units designed with some hardware may not be compatible with other hardwares, which is not a case for smartphone apps. It works on almost all the platforms and all the devices.

Biggest advantage of stand alone GPS unit is almost no human interference, as this is the embedded systems so users can not hack or cheat with it. While smartphone apps can be hacked by user interface, For example, user can kill background services in phone or can switch off phone GPS etc. so user can not be tracked.

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