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Pros and Cons of GPS Trackers

Pros and Cons of GPS Trackers

Every technology has its good and bad aspects. Here are some pros and cons to consider when evaluating GPS trackers.

Pro: GPS Trackers Improve Supply Chain Visibility

Companies have struggled with inconsistent supply chains since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. GPS can’t necessarily solve global supply chain problems, but commercial GPS trackers can improve visibility.

A GPS tracker like the LandAirSea 54 can help you find more efficient driving routes between suppliers, factories, warehouses, and retail stores. Track your vehicles so you can explore alternatives and make routes more efficient.

Con: GPS Trackers Don’t Provide On-Screen Directions

GPS trackers don’t have display screens that show drivers how to reach their destinations. Instead, you need someone to update their instructions when driving conditions change. For example, if you know you have a truck heading toward traffic congestion caused by a wreck, you can redirect them to an option with less traffic.

Pro: GPS Trackers Are More Accurate Than Smartphone Apps

For the most part, the average person gets the features they need from smartphone GPS apps. If you want precise measurements and locations, though, you shouldn’t trust smartphones. They just don’t offer the level of accuracy businesses need.

GPS trackers have better accuracy that lets you monitor shipments, reckless driving, asset locations, and employee efficiency.

Con: GPS Trackers Might Not Collect as Much Traffic Data as Smartphone Apps

Millions of people get driving directions from smartphone apps like Google Maps. All the smartphones using Maps contribute real-time information about traffic conditions, which helps the app find efficient routes for time, distance, and fuel consumption.

GPS trackers don’t have the luxury of collecting as much data from nearby users. They can still help drivers reach their destinations quickly, but the path might not avoid recent traffic jams like a route chosen by a smartphone app.

Pro: GPS Trackers Meet Business and Individual Needs

Smartphone GPS apps can work well in some situations, but they rarely meet the needs of businesses and individuals. However, GPS trackers can give practically anyone useful features.

Businesses might use GPS trackers to:

  • Monitor several vehicles in their fleets.

  • Prepare for arriving deliveries.

  • Track assets to prevent theft and improve recovery efforts.

  • Hold drivers accountable for their behaviors on the road.

Individuals and families can use GPS trackers to:

  • Create boundaries that send alerts when a vehicle or other valuable item crosses the preset line.

  • Track young drivers to make sure they follow the rules you set for them.

  • Give law enforcement information about the locations of stolen items.

Con: GPS Trackers Usually Require Paid Subscriptions

Expect to pay a monthly fee for GPS tracker services. The cost of your subscription depends on how often you want to receive updates from your GPS trackers. You might also save money by paying in advance.

For example, LAS charges $19.95 when you pay month-to-month for updates every 3 minutes. If you prepay for two years, you save 50%. Paying month-to-month would cost about $479. A two-year plan costs about $239.

Pros and Cons of Smartphones with GPS Apps

What about the pros and cons of using smartphones with GPS apps installed?

Pro: Most Smartphone GPS Apps Are Free to Install

As mentioned above, you can download and install popular smartphone GPS apps for free. Very few of them require a subscription.

Con: Data Collection Could Increase Your Monthly Service Bill

The opportunity to save money on monthly expenses seems pretty attractive until you realize that GPS apps use a lot of data. Waze and Google Maps constantly collect data from devices to optimize driving routes. If you exceed your data plan, your service provider could charge hefty fees. Suddenly, that “free” app doesn’t seem so free.

Pro: Smartphone GPS Can Give You Efficient Driving Directions

The advantage of collecting massive amounts of data from drivers is that smartphones can use real-time information to optimize driving routes. If you just want to get to work on time, it makes sense to use your smartphone to avoid traffic.

If you wanted to coordinate or manage multiple drivers, though, you would need GPS trackers connected to a central account with an "overhead" view.

Con: In-App Advertisements Can Distract Drivers

Distracted driving remains a growing problem around the US, especially as more people buy smartphones. Unfortunately, the smarpthone app you use to get driving directions might contribute to those distractions.

Apps like Waze don’t charge money to use. However, they need to generate revenue. They often reach this goal by displaying advertisements on smartphone screens. An ad that pops up at the wrong time could distract drivers during a critical moment and contribute to a crash.

Pro: Most People Feel Comfortable Using Smartphones

About 84% of American households own smartphones. It’s safe to say that most people feel comfortable using their mobile devices. Other than the annoyance caused by occasional software updates, you can probably pick up a new app and start using it immediately.

Con: Smartphone GPS Apps Only Work with One Vehicle at a Time

If you drive a car, you can rely on smartphone GPS apps to get you where you’re going. However, businesses often need to manage fleets of vehicles. They need software and GPS trackers that can show dozens of vehicle locations on a map.

The LAS SilverCloud app makes that possible. You can switch between devices to see their specific locations or look at a map showing all of them. SilverCloud also lets you take control of your GPS trackers. You can create alerts, establish geo-fences, and view historical data for employee performance reviews.

Keep in mind that GPS trackers can also meet this need for families. If you have several young drivers heading out for the night, an app like SilverCloud lets you keep an eye on everyone.

How LAS Can Help

LAS works with dozens of industries to ensure individuals, families, and businesses get the features they need. Plus, we design and build all of our GPS units in the United States to ensure quality.

Still unsure whether you need GPS trackers or smartphone apps? Take a look at our catalog or contact ian.conley@landairsea.com for expert advice about the best option for your application.

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