The GPS or Global Positioning System has become a commonplace technology these days. Until a couple of decades ago, it was something hi-tech! GPS tracking is a remote-sensing system that uses satellite-based networks to track the exact location of specific things. With an all-encompassing network of geostationary satellites that continuously transmit time and location messages, a GPS tracking system receiver can ascertain any object’s precise location. To find that out, a GPS receiver, like a smartphone, will need to use the time and location data transmitted by four satellites at a particular time.
Though such GPS location systems work with a general accuracy of approximately five meters with sole dependency on satellite data, additional signal sources like mobile phone towers shorten the range. They can amplify the accuracy to one meter or even less. When using such a GPS navigation system or any device that uses the same within a vehicle, you can accurately track its movement, location, velocity, etc.
The present automobile telematics and GPS tracking systems market data:
With the global satellite-based vehicle tracking system hitting a high in early 2020, the figures seemed to be quite promising for the next few years. Valued at USD 17.64 billion in 2020, satellite-based GPS trackers formed the core of the telematics industry and were projected to grow at a staggering 13.3% CAGR. With state-of-the-art features that not only grant superb fleet management, maintenance, and asset tracking but also driver and passenger safety along with fantastic user experience, these solutions propelled the global automobile and automotive industry sales.
But the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world, and the entire global scenario went haywire!
Not just the satellite-based GPS tracker industry, but every other faced a significant downturn. While the UAE and some other Gulf countries remained resilient, the slowdown was evident throughout the world.
Driving factors behind the automobile and the automotive industry resilience across the UAE:
The year-on-year demand for vehicle tracking systems and satellite-based trackers had been proliferating till early 2020. This has been particularly true for emerging and developed markets like the UAE, where amongst the penetration of major international players, the Teltonika GPS trackers held their base. And it is a no-brainer that the rise in smart automotive technology like telematics and satellite-based GPS trackers translates to a spike in the automobile industry.
The UAE indeed noted a sharp rise in the commercial vehicles and passenger vehicles segments. Let’s find out the factors that contributed to this growth.
- Year-on-year growth of the indigenous construction industry and other development projects
- A superb boost in the logistics and supply chain management causing a massive demand for an increased operational fleet size
- Demand for intelligent fleet analytics that implements predictive maintenance, fuel management, cost efficiency, etc.
- A sharp rise of the indigenous and international tourism industry
- The popularity of passenger vehicles amongst small and medium businesses
- Increasing adoption of EVs
- Easy availability of user-friendly financing options.
However, the industrial slump is notable across the entire 2020 and some parts of 2021. We need to understand that while stay-at-home directives will negatively impact the passenger vehicle market, the slowdown faced in end-use industries like retail, construction, manufacturing, logistics, etc., will deal a considerable blow to commercial vehicle sales.
But the industry experts and pundits say that the markets will bounce soon, and the array of upsides provided by vehicle trackers and satellite-based GPS tracking systems will ensure the telematics industry faces a windfall.
But is that all? Are the state-of-the-art satellite-based trackers all about pros? Or do they have some downsides as well? Let’s find out.
Advantages and disadvantages of satellite-based GPS tracking systems:
Now that we have a slight inkling that apart from the pros that GPS trackers offer, there might be certain cons as well; let’s not waste any moment and take a nosedive.
Pros of satellite-based GPS tracking systems:
From commercial vehicles to passenger cars, the installation of satellite-based GPS systems comes with a range of obvious upsides.
● Ease of customer/client communications:
From accurate arrival time of passenger vehicles to delivery of shipment using commercial vehicles, clients and customers can get real-time data regarding location and speed. The enhanced quality and accuracy of the information help them track their orders/requests, view the exact location and status updates through a portal, and even schedule the arrival and delivery times. It has led to reduced communication between the client and the driver/service provider, thereby improving the service’s overall quality.
● Real-time monitoring:
The above-mentioned upside is only possible because GPS tracking devices enable real-time monitoring, with less than 1/15th of a second required by a satellite to ping down the clear GPS signal. Accurate tracking of vehicles is helpful to the customer who hires a cab and an operations manager who needs to track his fleet of commercial vehicles in real-time.
● Cost-efficient services:
GPS tracking incurs no extra cost! Yes, that is absolutely true. With preloaded map data within a device, you can use it to track the movement or location status of a vehicle without any charge. But there are potential costs that come from telematics systems and fleet management software needed to use such data.
● Occupational safety benefits:
If you observe an active vehicle to be stationary for an extended period, you might understand there is a potential hazard. It could be a bad weather issue or something else that has put the driver or the user in danger. From smart route planning to help drivers avoid potential congestion to sending assistance to the location of an accident or a breakdown, a GPS tracker in vehicles saves the lives of many!
Cons of satellite-based GPS tracking systems:
Every technology has its fair share of downsides. Even a GPS management system installed within a device is not exempted from it. Let’s take a look.
● Inaccuracy and inconsistency of signals:
Erratic data and inconsistent service are common when there is no clear line of sight between the GPS signal receiver and the satellite that transmits the relevant data. Anything that blocks the signals gives rise to potential barriers like mountains, trees, tunnels, buildings, etc. However, the additional satellites and signal transponders usually eliminate such problems. Hence, these problems might only be very short-lived, though they are enough to cause confusion and miscommunication.
● Enough to create driver distraction:
Though properly mounted devices, audio instructions, safety policies, and hands-free operation would ensure driver safety, a hazard often occurs when drivers try to edit or add on-screen information on their GPS tracking devices. Distraction can be a significant concern and reason for on-road risks.
A GPS service requires a massive amount of power consumption for flawless action. If you are not using a GPS unit that works on solar power or has a stable battery life and you have forgotten to put it on ‘sleep’ mode when your vehicle is idle, it can readily drain your car battery!
People might argue that over-reliance on technological innovation like satellite-based GPS systems will render human intervention useless. Some might talk about these devices amplifying surveillance at the cost of privacy, yet the pros always outweigh the cons. Hence, getting state-of-the-art Teltonika GPS trackers installed in your vehicles could shower you with massive convenience and employment benefits.