Imagine for a moment you’re a logistics co-ordinator who’s just sent a consignment of important medical supplies to a hospital, or you’re a cash-in-transit business owner with a 100 strong fleet on the ground. How would you keep track of your vehicles and ensure they get where they need to be?
Vehicle safety and security have become more than a luxury on South Africa’s roads, not only because of hijackers but also because of the tendency of late for drivers to abandon their posts and join in protest action. Don’t worry, there’s an effective way to counter these acts.
Today, fleet managers have access to technology and a system that informs them where their vehicles have been, where they are now, if their drivers are safe and even how good or bad their fleet’s fuel consumption is,
One of the features designed to help keep your drivers, vehicles, and cargo even safer is geofencing, this allows you to create virtual perimeters for a real-world geographical area. You can set up borders in which your vehicles are allowed to travel, and receive alerts the moment these borders are crossed.
Here are some key features of geofencing and how it benefits you on a business and personal level:
Geofencing works as a location-based service, with an app or other software using either GPS, WiFi Radio-Frequency Identification(RFID) or cellular data to trigger a pre-programmed action whenever a mobile device or RFID tag enters or exits the virtual boundary. A geofence can either be created as a pre-defined set of boundaries or dynamically generated as a radius around a point.
And it has a whole list of applications in other fields such as ankle bracelets for law enforcement, marketing of products to people connected to a certain business, even sequenced drone flying.
For the fleet manager though, the technology creates digital borders around specific locations in various areas such as warehouses, distribution centres, and delivery destinations. If a geofence is crossed, the system generates an alert to the manager for his or her action.
First, you need to understand that there are three different types of geofencing, namely circular, polygon and corridor and each one has its own application and means of keeping a closer eye on movement and vehicle usage.
This is the easiest to set up and is often used to simply keep a vehicle from entering or exiting a certain geographical area. It can be as quick as drawing a circle measuring a set square meterage around a location on the fleet management system’s map. The system within the vehicle is then linked to a real-time navigation system that detects when a border is crossed and sends the signal to the system.
This is similar but different in that you can define streets, parks, buildings etc as borders in which your vehicles can operate. A polygon geofence can be used for a specific customer boundary for example refuse trucks that are assigned specific routes to follow or even for law enforcement officers where municipal borders can be mapped out and adhered to.
This is used by tracking companies to keep their long-haul vehicles on the straight and narrow. This type of geofence allows for a user to set up a border along a highway and set up rules as to how far off the route the driver may go, especially in terms of needing to rest or refuel.
Hijacked vehicles often end up in areas where they shouldn’t be. The geofencing alert acts as an early warning system for the logistics owner or manager that something untoward is happening and they can dispatch the necessary assistance. Sometimes, hijacking can result in an accident, in which case, a device loaded with crash detection technology would be an added benefit for both the driver and owner, allowing help to find you quickly and efficiently.
Geofencing also has more personal benefits as it’s perfect for use in the family. Perhaps you have an au pair looking after your children who uses a family car to transport them, or a teenager just finding their freedom behind the wheel; geofencing the car in use provides you with complete peace of mind knowing that your loved ones are in the safe areas you’ve mapped out for them.
Geofencing can also be used to eliminate the unauthorised use of fleet vehicles. Illegal use of company vehicles can prove a huge hassle all round, not only in the added expense but also in repercussions should the car, truck our bike be involved in an accident. While geofencing alerts the manager about the illicit event ,the system can also be used to track the exact entry of exit of the defined border, as well as other driver information. All this data is extremely useful in not only righting any wrongs but also in expediting insurance claims should they arise.
By pairing up the data created by geofences with other information relating to driver performance, such as electronic logbooks to payroll data, fleet managers and drivers can ensure that they’re paying attention to the right key performance indicators, improving the way that you utilise resources in your business. Geofencing can ensure that vehicles stay on routes optimised for the most efficient deliveries and that clients, for the most part, get their goods at the expected times.
This same data can also be used for accurate billing, payment of workforce and even in the event of law enforcement defences. Its accurate, real-time and on-point information processes are just what’s needed for a logistics or transport company looking for a way to keep track of all their assets, on and off the road.
As we accelerate towards the future filled with autonomous fleets and trucks, geofencing and its advantages will no doubt become even more pertinent. Self-driving vehicles will be vulnerable to cyber attacks resulting in them going off route, driven by a seemingly unseen force. Geofencing technology may very well be the first sign that an attack is underway, resulting in action taken before the cargo is lost completely.
Another advantage is ensuring the self-drive or electric vehicles recharge at the correct sites – those set up within the geofence – and not at some dodgy, off-grid garage.
Keep your business on track with Cartrack enabling you to implement world-class geofencing for your fleet. Contact us today by completing your details here or discuss your options with our sales team on 011 250 3000. They are ready and waiting to tell you how our expert fleet management solutions can boost your business.
Real-world problems need real-world and real-time solutions. Cartrack’s geofencing feature allows you to draw up predefined areas of operations for your fleets, putting you in control. Here’s how geofencing helps you work smarter, not harder.