Vehicle tracking is a system of monitoring the location of a
vehicle (cars, trucks, motorcycles etc), this also includes monitoring other
parameters of the vehicle in question, for instance; fuel level, speed and
driving pattern or discussions going on inside the car. All these monitoring
are usually carried out remotely, meaning that the person monitoring doesn’t
have to be near the vehicle but can achieve this by the assistance of a “Global Positioning System (GPS) of the
GLONASS technologies. Then the vehicle information can be viewed on electronic
maps via the internet or specialized software”; (Wikipedia).
Image result for car vehicle tracking system pictures
Image courtesy of Pinterest.
There has to be a device that will be used for the
monitoring and this can be a computer/laptop or an Internet-enabled mobile
phone/tablet. The tracking can be done by an individual owner of the vehicle of
by a dedicated company who might have several cars to monitor as a service
rendered to customers.
This system of monitoring is effective in checking the unauthorized
use of a vehicle, or other motorized forms of mobility, it helps to ensure the
security of the occupants of a vehicle, and it also helps to check some
parameters like to confirm that the user of a vehicle is using it in an agreed
manner, for instance; that he/she is not overspeeding, is using the fuel in the
car judiciously and is not going beyond the boundaries set for him/her.
Car tracking was introduced officially into the Nigerian
market officially by MTN in the mid-2000s and ever since, many other companies
have joined in rendering car tracking services in Nigeria.
There are different systems powering a car tracker. Some are
based solely on a GSM platform. Whereby a SIM card enabled device is installed
in a vehicle and the signals from the device is tracked just like a mobile
phone is easily tracked through the network provider. The disadvantage with
this system is that once the GSM signal from the network provider gets weak or
unavailable, monitoring the GSM enabled device becomes very slim and in some
cases outrightly impossible. But some products have a cache in their system to
store records of the car and its monitored parameters whenever there is a
disruption in the network so that once network is restored, the stored
information is called up from the cache and merged with the online real-time
Others are systems that make use of the constellation of
satellites in orbit over our earth that can pinpoint with great accuracy the
location of a GPS enabled device anywhere on the surface of the earth. The advantage
of this system is that communication between the satellite and the device is
almost 100% and can mostly only be interrupted when the device is damaged due
to a fire, crash or other forms of destruction and in most cases this has no
yearly subscription fees but a much higher installation cost.
Both systems use the GPS to execute their operations.
All these systems are available here in Nigeria though their
prices in installation and annual subscription differ because the hardware,
software and subscription and operations are different and offer different
levels of service.
For instance, it helps the owner (individual or corporate)
to monitor the exact location of the particular vehicle and not rely on the
reports given by the operator of the said vehicle which in many cases is false.
It helps the owner to monitor the speed of the operator to
ensure that they abide by speed limits prescribed by the law or the owner of
the vehicle.
It helps the owner to monitor and ensure compliance that the
fuel level in the vehicle is not tampered with especially by the operator of
the vehicle.
It helps courier companies to monitor delivery of goods to
customers online real-time.
It can also help detect road incidents faster as once the
tracked vehicle is noticed to be stationary longer than usual, other checks can
be done to ascertain the actual status of the vehicle and its occupants.
It helps the operator in monitoring the geo-fencing of the
vehicle. This is a scenario whereby the vehicle is programed not to be used
beyond pre-determined geographical location or jurisdictions.
Some systems have the capability to warn the owner of a
tampering (or defect) with the battery system of the tracked vehicle. So that
once the battery is been removed or is draining out, the tracker informs the
person monitoring so that action if taken to check or mitigate the issue.
Some systems allow the person monitoring listen to
conversations going on in the car.
Car trackers assist law enforcement officers in easily detecting,
monitoring and recovering a stolen vehicle or kidnapped person/people provided
the stolen/operational vehicle has a tracking device that is in good working
order and doesn’t have issues with its subscription.
At this point it is imperative to state that due to the
money to be made off gullible vehicle owners, many substandard companies have proliferated
the tracking business in the world and in extension, Nigeria. Most of them
advertise and sell tracking devices they claim only needs installation and no
yearly or monthly subscription. This is akin to someone buying a mobile phone
with no intention of recharging his/her phone line yet the device is not a
two-way radio.
Some others sell and install systems that have no tracking
ability or whereby they even track, their coverage is extremely limited.
Most of the companies in this category have given the tracking
business a very bad name as many consumers do not know how to differentiate
between genuine companies and charlatans in the industry. In many cases, the
said tracking companies close shop and run away once there is an incident
involving a vehicle they claim to be tracking or they find a loophole in their
contract with the customer to blame him/her for their inability to effectively
track the vehicle in question so that they can evade doing the actual tracking
of the lost vehicle or making restitution to the owner of the lost vehicle.
One sad case as shared on Nigeria’s most popular public
forum Nairaland by was the personal experience of a member named; Bababuff. He
narrated how he got robbed at gun-point and held hostage in his car. After sometime
the robbers let him off and made away with his car. He got someone’s phone and
sent commands to his ‘tracked’ car but had no access to it. He also got his
wife to call the company that sold it but they finally discovered that the
company was fake as they couldn’t trace them. He ended up advising people
against patronizing companies that claim you do not need a yearly subscription
for their tracking services to you and to consult the list by NCC before
patronizing any of them. Sadly there are many of such similar cases.
Scenarios like this led to the body regulating
telecommunication and ancillary services in Nigeria, the Nigerian
Communications Commission (NCC)to call for the registration, evaluation and
certification of the genuine companies in the business of vehicle tracking in
Nigeria. This also led to the publication of the list of companies that scaled
this accreditation process so that members of the public will equip themselves
with the list of reputable companies to do business with in the areas of car
tracking here in Nigeria.
It is also imperative to state that as there are sad cases,
there have also been thousands of cases of vehicles successfully recovered with
the aid of tracking devices.
According to Mr. C. E ( he requested anonymity due to
security concerns); MD of a digital technology company, an accredited tracking
company based in Lagos, his company had successfully installed and tracked over
3,000 vehicles in the past 5 years and they have several success stories of
recoveries they had assisted the law enforcement officers to make…….
One delighted customer is that of a man whose son ran away
from home with his car and hid for several days squandering his money with bad
friends. The car and the son were traced to Festac Town, Lagos. 
Another case is
that of a hotel who runs a car hire service; two of their cars got stolen and
were recovered outside Lagos State. In another case, the robbers were heard
over the microphone of the tracker debating whether the owner installed a tracker
or not but as the car was not shut-down, they became reassured that the car
wasn’t tracked not knowing that their movement was being monitored and their
conversation listened to so the police was at their destination patiently
waiting for their arrival, they drove into the long arms of the law.
The success of the tracking of vehicles made it an
attractive idea for insurance companies here in Nigeria who mostly offers it as
part of the package for customers who subscribe to their full package for comprehensive
insurance. This helps them give the customer more peace of mind over his prized
possession while also giving them the ability to recover stolen vehicles much
easier and mitigating their own costs of replacement of stolen cars for
Car tracking is one technology which has revolutionized
security of vehicles and its occupants all over the world and as the world
evolves, improvements are also been made to its technology, hardware and
The business is reported to be a multi-billion Naira
industry though it might be difficult to properly ascertain the correct figures
as because it bothers on security, it is difficult for many companies to
divulge figures.
Despite all these, there are millions of vehicles on
Nigerian roads yet to be tracked.

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