There’s no doubt that the popularity of installing tracking devices in business vehicles continues to grow but not every business needs the extensive suite of reporting data nor the expense that comes with some of the best known trackers on the market.
That’s the premise for one small firm which is offering businesses with between three and 10 vehicles (though they can cater for more or fewer!) a novel approach that is suited to their needs.
Essentially, the Back2You system will give real-time data of where a vehicle is and its speed and also the historical data of the vehicle’s route on a given day.
Back2You started life 12 years ago as a business offering tracking tags to enable people to track their luggage via the internet no matter where it was in the world.
They’ve since moved on and are now offering its own tracking software and they host the service on their own servers.
Run by Chris Truelove, he says: “Our trackers track, record the journey of the vehicle and will do just about what everyone wants a tracker to do.
“Some trackers will produce endless reports but most firms just want to know where their vehicles are, know where they have been and know where they are if they get nicked.”
Back2You trackers will track and record data
While some trackers will also recognise the driver and highlight any aggressive driving techniques, the offering from Back2You won’t and it also will not, like most of its competitors, offer tips to improve driving style for better fuel economy.
The system offers mileage reports along with a full detailed history of stop, start, idle and over-speed.
There’s also reports for fuel consumption or harsh braking analysis though most business owners will not have the time to monitor their fleet all the time so the compromise offered by Chris and his firm is the best of both worlds.
Back2You will sell a tracker that is wired – which is a separate charge – into a firm’s van or other vehicle for £200 which includes a year’s tracking; subsequent years are charged at £60 a year. That’s a lot lower than most of the competition is charging.
Chris says the saving in fuel consumption alone for a small business ‘will easily outweigh the cost of one of our trackers’.
He adds that when drivers know that they are being tracked, their driving standard will improve and many clients report a 20% boost in fuel economy too as well as driver efficiencies.
The benefits if installing a Back2You tracker
The benefits of installing a tracker have been well documented here on commercialvehicle.com and Back2You have developed their software in partnership with an Australian telecoms firm and the costs of running a tracker, which depends on the amount of data being processed and broadcast to the server, has come down in recent times.
The software will track live in real time (it updates every 60 seconds), records a full history of vehicle routes, speeds, stop-start times and idle times. It will also send email alerts for over-speed or Geofence incidents. Full reporting of mileage and stop-start times are also available and the data is stored on the firm’s servers for 60 days for exporting or storing locally, if required.
This is an impressive offering and undercuts most competitors – many tracking companies are still charging £20-£30 a month for their tracker.
Chris says: “Our USP is that our commercial tracking devices don’t have a UK SIM card in them – in fact the newest devices don’t have a card but a SIM chip instead.
“Most of our competitors are using Vodafone or O2 SIMs which are restricted to UK networks whereas our SIM will roam onto any available network.
“So when it loses a signal on O2, for instance, it will switch to Vodafone or EE or whichever signal it finds.”
Obviously this ability to roam also means it can be used anywhere in the world with a mobile phone signal and the firm does not charge any extra for this facility.
Costs for using a tracker abroad
Chris says: “If a business vehicle goes into France, for instance, they will have to pay a hefty fee for the roaming data but with our system there are no extra charges.”
Indeed, the cost of a tracker from Back2You is just £5 a month.
There are some drawbacks to this as detailed above but these compromises are for the types of information that most firms will not be using anyway and the basic offering will suit most needs.
Back2You is an ideal for solution for businesses looking for a cheaper solution and who don’t want to get tied into a three year long contract.
The firm also offers a free trial of their tracker to allow a potential client to enjoy the potential of it and Back2You, as yet, haven’t had any returned.
This is something of a unique offering which hasn’t gone unnoticed by a growing number of boat owners and charter fleet businesses who can add a tracker discreetly to a boat and know it will report its whereabouts wherever it is in the world.
Geo-fence your tracker’s offering
Firms can also use Google’s Street View to get a better view of where their vehicle is and they can easily create a geo-fence to detect when the vehicle leaves or enters a designated area (especially popular with firms wanting to know if drivers are entering London’s congestion charge area).
One of the reasons why this particular system is proving to be popular is that there’s no subscription charge; it works on a pay-as-you-go SIM.
Chris explains: “With most trackers, and with some we do, you have to pay an annual subscription but once someone or a business has bought this it will only cost the price of a text message.”
Essentially, the pay-as-you-go tracker option from Back2You will cost the owner just 6p to find their vehicle. Chris also highlights there is a way of putting a SIM card with the same phone number as the owner’s and they won’t have to pay for the text charges if they have a bundled contract offering free calls and texts.
The magnet makes these trackers quite heavy and they are especially popular with plant hire, quad bikes, horse box and caravan owners since it can be placed anywhere without needing a power supply.
Chris explains: “Really this tracker is more for anti-theft and not for commercial tracking.”
Cheap tracker solution for business
Another popular option for small firms wanting a tracker is that Back2You offers a ‘plug ’n’ play’ option that simply plugs into a vehicle’s on board diagnostics – OBD – port (every vehicle since 2000 has such a port and most people will only see them being used when a mechanic or roadside rescue service plugs a laptop into the car via the port to diagnose a fault).
These trackers are discreet and offer the same level of cover as the wired-in contract versions. The firm also offers trackers on a monthly rental option.
Essentially, our review team found the tracking offering from Back2You capable and impressive for the costs involved – it’s a boon to small firms who haven’t got time to constantly monitor what their vehicles are doing and the reports that can be produced cover most needs.
The offer of a free trail also underlines the impressive offering.