fleet tracking

How to Choose the Right Trailer Tracking Solution

March 22, 2018

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It’s 11 p.m. Do you know where your trailers are?

Trailers aren’t very interesting when you get right down to it. Ideally, they just do their jobs with a minimum of fuss. The trailer tracking solution you choose to help manage your assets and keep up with their maintenance should be just as simple and efficient as the trailer itself.

Of all trailer-tracking products currently on the market, some are better-equipped for the real, practical world of trailers than others. It pays to shop around.

Let’s consider a few things you should be looking for in a trailer-tracking solution that’s just as practical as a trailer itself.

Battery Life

Your trailer tracker needs to operate independently of any power source. Most trailers don’t have their own built-in generators, and being occasionally disconnected from truck power (as they are at depot) would render them useless.

Choose a solution with enough battery reserve to last a few years, at least. The best trailer trackers last up to five years with no maintenance at all — not even charging.

To help better manage your trailers, the tracker should also include a low-battery alert and monitoring options so that your team never has to worry about losing visibility of your trailers.

Network Access

Trailer trackers require cell networks to “phone home.” Be sure your tracker can use at minimum the 3G digital cell network — the one still installed and active throughout the country. The old 2G network was recently retired, a development that made some previous-generation trackers instantly obsolete.

Your tracker should take advantage of HSPA, or High Speed Packet Access. This protocol is customized to extend the range provided by 3G. It allows data interchange to occur at signal levels that might not support voice communication or web browsing.

In addition, look for over-the-air (OTA) serviceability. You shouldn’t need to track down your tracker and plug into it (or remove it from the trailer) whenever it’s necessary to update a minor parameter.

Durability

Look for a device that can stand up to everything the world might throw at it. Trailers lead tough lives, so you need a tough device. Your trailer tracker should meet or exceed IP67 standards for moisture and dust rejection.

One can’t expect a trailer to even be insulated, much less climate-controlled. That means your tracker needs to be proven to operate in a temperature range from bone-shattering cold to blood-boiling hot, and everything in between.

Make sure your tracker has protected, internal cell, and GPS antennas.

Completeness

Your trailer tracker should have everything needed to get started tracking your trailer from day one.

You’re looking for a tough built-in mounting bracket, an activation magnet to get it started (there are no external controls to break off or get clogged with dirt), and easy, intuitive operation. It should integrate seamlessly with your fleet management software.

In short, your trailer tracker should be plug-and-play, and as easy to understand as the function of your trailer itself.

Conclusion

The fleet tracking revolution has made it from the tractor all the way back to the trailer. You now have options to help track a trailer — any trailer — just as efficiently as your fleet tracking solution allows you to manage the truck hauling it.

Trailers deserve their own special solution, given their needs. Make sure the one you choose keeps things simple, easy, and efficient.

 

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