Selecting the right technology is crucial to ensuring reliable and effective monitoring of assets. Two prominent options, satellite and cellular devices, each bring their own set of advantages and considerations to the table. If you don’t know the difference, that’s okay, we will be discussing the pros and cons of each. To help you make an informed decision based on your specific needs.
Understanding Data Collection:
Collecting useful data for assets, whether remotely or on-site, is a paramount undertaking. The selection between satellite and cellular devices depends on having an understanding of their operational disparities. Both technologies encompass fundamental data gathering capabilities, gathering real-time location, engine run time, service alerts, and battery voltage. However, what truly makes them different is the range of service and suitability for different job site conditions.
Satellite Devices: Connecting Beyond Boundaries
Global Coverage: One of the standout features of satellite devices is their global coverage. They operate independently of cellular networks, relying on a constellation of satellites that span the entire globe. This makes them ideal for tracking assets in remote or off-the-grid locations where cellular signals might be weak or non-existent. It covers about 96% of the world.
Reliability in Remote Areas: Satellite devices shine in areas with limited infrastructure. Whether it’s tracking assets through desolate terrains, monitoring equipment in remote Chukar areas, or keeping tabs on your assets that are moving back and forth from job site to job site, satellite connectivity ensures a consistent and reliable link to GPS satellites.
High Initial Costs: However, the expansive coverage and reliability of satellite devices often come with higher initial costs. The hardware is typically between $199-$249, the subscription plans tend to be pricier compared to their cellular counterparts.
Extended Battery Life: Satellite devices often feature longer battery life, a critical factor for assets in motion or distant locations. We have some that will use three AAA batteries that last a couple years and some that are solar module driven that can last 8 years. The ability to operate on minimal power ensures that these devices can keep tracking for extended periods without frequent batter replacements.
Cellular Devices: Real-Time Tracking with Network Support
Cost-Effectiveness: Cellular devices leverage existing cellular networks, making them a cost-effective choice for tracking assets in areas with reliable network coverage. Initial costs are typically lower, and subscription plans may offer competitive pricing.
Real-Time Tracking: In areas with robust cellular coverage, these devices provide real-time tracking updates. This is advantageous for applications where immediate location information is crucial, such as fleet management or monitoring shipments in urban areas.
Limited Coverage in Remote Areas: The primary limitation of cellular devices is their dependence on cellular networks. In remote or rural locations with weak or no signal, tracking accuracy and reliability may be compromised. This makes them less suitable for applications requiring global coverage or operation in isolated environments.
Regular Charging Requirements: Cellular devices may have shorter battery life if real-time data is needed compared to their satellite counterparts. Regular charging or connection to a power source is often necessary, particularly for assets in constant motion or frequent use.
Choosing the Right Fit: Considerations for Decision-Making
- Satellite: Ideal for global or remote tracking where cellular coverage is limited.
- Cellular: Suited for urban or well-connected environments with reliable cellular networks.
- Satellite: Higher upfront costs, potentially offset by extended battery life.
- Cellular: Generally more cost-effective upfront, with ongoing subscription fees.
- Satellite: Offers reliable tracking even in areas with weak or no cellular signal.
- Cellular: Provides real-time updates in areas with strong cellular coverage.
- Satellite: Longer battery life if using ones with solar modules, suitable for assets in distant locations.
- Cellular: Battery can be managed via two way communication to last longer.
The selection between satellite and cellular GPS technologies represents a strategic decision that’s based upon the requirements of asset monitoring. By discussing the distinctive attributes of each technology, businesses can tailor their choices to align seamlessly with their operational needs. Geographical considerations, budget constraints, and the imperative for real-time updates make an impact on your decision making process. Ensuring not only accurate data collection but also making it easy to monitor and collect data in any terrain.