SaaS-based GPS tracking services offer VARs and MSPs tasty new recurring revenue opportunities, but what is the current state of the art?
GPS tracking solutions provide VARs and MSPs with an attractive source of recurring monthly revenue, but if you haven’t taken a look at tracking systems lately you’ll find a lot has changed in terms of features, flexibility, and pricing.
Back in “the day,” which is really just a few years ago, there was only one “flavor” of GPS tracking: you put a tracking device in a vehicle and every so often it sent out a “ping” telling a system where it was. Dispatchers could see the vehicle on a map and run some reports. But today, GPS tracking capabilities are available in a wide variety of “flavors” for just about any device a worker would use in the field. Smartphone, tablet, mobile computer, personal tracking device, asset tracker, and the traditional automatic vehicle location (AVL) devices — can all be tracked using GPS. And they all offer VARs and MSPs an opportunity to sell a valuable incremental service to their customers.
All GPS tracking platforms offer a basic set of features:
The best reporting systems allow configurable reports that can be customized to the customer’s requirements and other features like report subscriptions for automated delivery of reports by email. Reporting is perhaps the most important feature as it allows businesses to focus on the issues that are important to them and do it in an effective and efficient way. There is no need to stare at “dots on a map” all day to get the benefits of GPS tracking.
For customers that have mobile workers, GPS offers proven benefits including measurable fuel savings, productivity increases, and safety improvements. It’s an easy pitch to customers: add one more task per worker per month and the system pays for itself; add two tasks and you’re making money as a result of GPS tracking. Everything else is gravy.
It used to be that you had to make the choice of tracking the “man or the van” as most system only tracked vehicles or computers but not both. Now many GPS tracking systems can support any device type on the same platform so device type choice becomes an operational decision based on the worker’s role. Devices fall into two broad categories:
AVL GPS Tracking Devices. This is the traditional method of tracking vehicles. These devices include a GPS receiver and mobile data radio. They are installed in the vehicle, either hardwired or by plugging into the diagnostic (ODB-II) port.
Mobile Device Tracking Apps. These apps are available for smartphones, tablets, and mobile computers and can offer the benefits of field visibility on mobile devices used by workers.
Perhaps the sweetest thing about any flavor of GPS tacking is that it allows VARs and MSPs to expand their base of recurring revenue services. In all cases, tracking services provide monthly Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) revenue. AVL devices can also offer the opportunity for hardware sales revenue and mobile devices may produce “activation fee” revenue for new deployments.
To sum up, GPS tracking is an attractive offering for VARs and MSPs to add to their portfolio of services for its operational value to customers and for the ability to create an incremental recurring service revenue stream.