Fleet News

Telematics: How plug-in data collection can save money

FLEET News editor Martyn Moore has been trialling the Visca system

Most vehicle tracking systems transmit data back to base constantly or at very regular intervals. Real-time reporting is a strong selling point for many.

But it’s this aspect of data reporting that pushes up the costs, according to Visca Systems (www.viscasystems.com.). And not everybody needs it.

‘Plugging a device into a computer is easier than filling in a time sheet,’ says Visca’s Alexander Andover, ‘and taking out the significant cost of real-time reporting allows us to offer practical vehicle tracking at a substantially lower cost.’

The concept is simple. A black box device sits on the dashboard or parcel shelf where it has a clear view of navigation satellites. The unit has an on-board battery but benefits from a supplementary 12v power supply and comes with a cigarette lighter adapter.

All journeys are recorded and the box has two settings – business and private. When set to business, the route, speed and time are recorded. When set to private, these details are not logged, but the fact that a journey was made is registered.

At the end of a shift, a day, a week or even on a trip-by-trip basis, the unit is removed from the car and connected to a PC via a standard USB cable. If the Visca software has been downloaded and an internet account set up correctly, simply plugging the unit in will initiate a data download – everything is automatic.

An internet connection is essential because all the journey data is viewed on a secure website. Accounts are created on this website and a fleet manager can view all the data from all the fleet’s black boxes by simply logging on to the account and navigating through the journey information.

The mapping quality is good and the speed and time graphs provide the kind of monitoring that many fleet managers will find valuable.

If you need to be able to look at a screen and see where your vehicles are right now, this is not the system for you. But if you simply need to record journeys, times and speeds for archiving and possibly analysis at a later date, Visca Systems is a viable and affordable option.

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