Tech Time: Cool Car Tech: Vehicle Tracking

Once reserved for commercial applications, real-time, 24/7 vehicle tracking is now a practical security option for private individuals.

The process starts with the discrete installation of a tracking device in the car. The device can take up to two to three hours to install and uses GPS and mobile phone technology (meaning a dedicated SIM card) to monitor and transmit the location of the vehicle to a base station. Thanks to the internet, that base station can be just about any internet enabled device.

Service is offered island wide, save for a few black spots due to Jamaica’s hilly terrain.

Several local companies offer the service with various benefits and costs including King Alarm, Hawkeye and Guardsman. Each provides real time monitoring and once an alarm has been sounded, will dispatch a team working with local police to retrieve the lost vehicle. Recovery rates vary, but are high in all cases with some clearing 100%. The quick response also leaves very little time to strip or damage the vehicle, so cars, SUV’s, mini vans and buses are often recovered in good condition.

The alarm may be triggered by a panic button in the car or may be trigged by a phone call or special emergency call signal from outside the vehicle as well. This includes an authorized third party.

In addition to the obvious benefits, like peace of mind and reduced insurance costs, vehicle tracking has some special benefits as well. Using the internet tracking options, parents can see exactly where children go when they borrow the car, children can afford elderly parents and sense of security when on the road and husbands can quickly assist wives who may be lost, have a flat tire or otherwise disabled on the road.

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