Wireless multi-technology tracking

Issue 7 2020 Transport (Industry)

Tracking vehicles and/or cargo is nothing new in South Africa where the industry is mature, and due to the rampant crime in the country, also innovative. Mtrack is one of the asset protection and recovery companies that has been operating for years.

Despite the economic conditions we face, securing the transportation sector is still important, even though business did slow during the initial lockdown period. However, the market is changing. Leon Mynhardt, technical manager at Mtrack says the trend in the market nowadays is to implement solutions instead of independent products. You still get people who simply want a GPS to track their vehicles, but the majority of fleet owners want a complete solution that offers more.

One of the reasons for this is the ability to collect large amounts of data which can be used to improve operations and reduce running costs. While a ‘dot on a map’ was useful in the past (and still is to an extent), Mynhardt says the critical factor today is collecting and analysing data, the results of which will be used to reduce costs. Specifically, useful data that has been analysed and sifted into smaller, valuable bits of information will allow management to make informed decisions to enhance efficiency.

As most in the industry have noticed, he adds that cloud services are becoming the norm in the local market in order to permit management to obtain relevant information that has been analysed and filtered into relevant action items. It also, as above, reduces the costs and other overheads required to run the appropriate servers and software onsite. It also means that upgrades and updates are immediately available without having someone take systems offline to install them. Fleets therefore obtain the benefits of a service providing the information they need, without the infrastructure hassles.

And what is also becoming more important in today’s environment, this information can be made available via smart devices to allow management to keep tabs on their fleets in real time.

Mtrack has been in business for 17 years, starting off with a wireless asset tracking and recovery solution as its sole focus. The company recently released its latest wireless product – Mtrack 7 which has a battery that can last up to 12 months.

Mynhardt explains that the new device includes three technologies – GSM, GPS and RF. The benefit is that vehicles with this tracker can be traced even if one of the technologies is not available. For example, GPS will be unavailable if a criminal parks the vehicle underground, but the GSM location can still provide information on the area the vehicle is in and the RF beacon can provide more accurate information.

Being a wireless solution, it is also easier to place the device anywhere on a vehicle, and it can be moved to another vehicle or cargo container, for example, easily. Version 7 also includes an accelerometer to detect movement or tampering.


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