There is no shortage of telematics providers in South Africa. With such a selection before you, this leaves many wondering how to choose a provider. The managing director of Legratron Electronics, Itumaleng Matshego, provides 10 ten tips on how to choose a telematics provider for your individual needs or for your business.

1. Proven track records
Research the companies that you are considering. What is the online sentiment towards their services? This can provide a strong indication of the strength of their products and service. Do they appear to be a fly-by-night organisation or an organisation with an innovative and effective product? While you are sure to find some negative feedback on every company, the overall picture created should create an accurate idea of who to consider and who to avoid.

2. Customised solution
Not every company is the same and nor should their telematics solution be the same. A company with a large fleet of trucks does not need the same solution as one that only has a few cars in their fleet. Does the tracking provider have a solution that meets your specific fleet or do they have a one-size-fits-all option for everyone? Legratron Electronics spends time with their customers developing a solution specific to their needs.

3. More than just vehicle telematics
As technology grows, telematics can provide users with much more than just a way to recover stolen vehicles. Chief among these are features to help your business save money through recovery of other assets besides vehicles and by providing data that can be used to improve efficiencies. Investigate all the services that telematics should be providing users in South Africa and ensure that the provider you select can give you access to the uses you need to improve your business’ efficiency. Legratron Electronics offers clients a wide range of services.

4. Does it include recovery?
A telematics provider without a recovery partner is equivalent to an ice-cream without a stick. Be sure that once you locate your stolen items and assets that you can recover them within the confines of the law and with as minimal damage to your assets as possible. Speak to your desired telematics provider and find out who their recovery partner is. Research their track records as well and be sure they can deliver on one of the most important aspects in the telematics business.

5. Up-to-date technology
Telematics is a field that is showing rapid growth, especially in technological development. Research suggests South Africa only makes use of 20% of the capabilities of telematics. You want to ensure your service provider is on the edge of technology and ready to adopt new technology as it becomes available in South Africa.

6 . Inside the mind of he criminal
Unfortunately, one area where South Africa is advanced is in its criminal network. As technology advances, criminals find ever more ways to overcome the barriers they encounter. For telematics providers, it means they need to have a thorough understanding of how criminals operate in the country and be able to predict how they operate. Legratron Electronics operates with a full understanding of this and adds an extra layer of security to their products.

7. A Southern African footprint
A large percentage of the vehicles stolen in South Africa are taken across the border to our neighbouring countries. This means you should select a tracking provider that operates beyond South African borders and has a recovery team that has the necessary skills and requirements to recover vehicles outside of the country.

8. The personal touch
Legratron Electronics is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to their clients. Crime does not take a break and neither should your telematics provider. Should you alert your provider that you have been hijacked on Christmas Eve, their response needs to be just as fast and efficient as what it would be during the week in the middle of the year. Smaller companies, where individuals juggle multiple roles at once, can also benefit from a company that has a personal touch and that is always ready to assist.

9 . Cost always counts
Compare the cost of the services providers that you have identified as your top choices. This is not to say that you should look for the cheapest provider but be sure that you are receiving all the features that warrant the cost they charge. If you are an individual, ensure you are not paying for a service geared more toward large fleets and not an individual and vice versa.

10. A South African perspective
While South Africa may only be using 20% of telematics functionality, the country also has its own unique circumstances and requirements for telematics. Determine where the telematics system was developed and whether it accounts for South African circumstances. Not only is crime a major issue here but as a country with some of the highest road fatalities, monitoring driver behaviour is another essential’.