There’s an accelerating growth rate in the real-time location tracking technology market. The widespread product awareness, raw material affluence, and stable financial structure are all contributing to the increasing demand for it.
In this day and age, there are three tracking systems employed both for personal and business use. The question is which among the three is the best? To start with, here’s a curated list of tracking systems comparison including pros and cons.
Tracking Systems Comparison: GPS
Global positioning system (GPS) trackers were first used somewhere in the mid-’90s after the U.S. military opened a network of satellites for public use. Since then, this technology has been used to trace something or someone’s location in proximity to a specified area, which is called geofencing.
- Active locator
- Real-time notification
- Unlimited range
- Higher energy and data consumption
- GPS interference
GPS is an active locator. Unlike other trackers, it uses satellites, so you don’t have to search for the location of the tag actively. Instead, it directly notifies your electronic device where the tracker is in real-time, which is time-efficient. What’s more, its use isn’t limited to a specific geographic area. Meaning, you can track your assets, people, or things anywhere at most.
As it requires constant communication with satellites, it consumes your data internet connection and gadget’s battery life more compared to other passive trackers. Despite its unlimited scope, there are instances where the tracker cannot connect with the satellites, which is referred to as GPS interference.
Environmental components like trees, clouds, or mountains and infrastructures like tunnels, bridges, or skyscrapers can impede satellite signals. If not loss of service, this said interference can dramatically decrease the tracking accuracy.
Tracking Systems Comparison: Bluetooth
Bluetooth is used in today’s trendy phone and key tracking devices. These trackers are typically synced with any Bluetooth enabled electronic gadgets, such as smartphones or computers.
- Two-way communication
- Used preferably indoors
- Has lower range
Bluetooth allows you to pair up a network of tags on your keys, dogs, bag, remote, or purse with any electronic gadgets. For instance, you placed a tracker on your wallet, and somebody stole it, you can easily trace it via smartphone. Alternatively, if the one you lose is your phone, you can activate the tag on your bag to track your phone.
This two-way communication can’t be done with GPS trackers, which, in turn, makes it a Bluetooth tracking system’s advantage. That being said, this strength contributes to its downside. To find all of these devices, you have to purchase several tags, which can be quite costly.
Another is that most Bluetooth trackers are often used indoors rather than outdoors. Other Bluetooth trackers are conjugated with the cellular technology system, though. It may alert you of the specific locations of a tagged object or person. This, however, requires your Bluetooth to stay on all the time, which would quickly drain your phone.
Further, it’s worth mentioning the dawning of a new technology that can fix this higher battery life consumption of Bluetooth. This system is called Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE or Bluetooth LE) or Bluetooth 4.0. It’s a power-friendly version of Bluetooth that doesn’t only offer connectivity between various devices but also function in tandem with a few applications.
Tracking Systems Comparison: WiFi
WiFi tracking system traces approximate location by utilizing signal strength and hotspot’s geography. The term “hotspot” is a physical location determined by a media access control (MAC) address via wireless local area network (WLAN).
- Has higher accuracy
- Has a higher range
- Prone to malicious cyberattacks
Unlike GPS, WiFi isn’t hampered by any environmental factors and other infrastructures. Hence, it can provide more precise tracking. What’s more, compared to Bluetooth and GPS, WiFI has a broader range. It can operate both indoors and outdoors with large spaces.
This system may not work well in rural areas, where hotspots are almost unavailable, though. Even if you’re in urban cities with a more stable and stronger signal, it doesn’t mean you’re at an advantage. Areas with densely packed hotspots are often unsecured, which means your devices are susceptible to malicious cyberattacks, which can compromise your devices.
The best tracker depends on your needs and current situation. For instance, if you’re offline, GPS and Bluetooth are the only trackers that can work for you, whereas WiFi tracking is the best for more accurate tracking information. Ideally, a combination of the three systems would be excellent.
Tyler Pack is a content marketer, specializing in technology, lifestyle, home remodeling, and home security topics. When not working, he spends time with his family and friends.