Wed | Aug 12, 2020

Guardsman securing vehicles with tracking service

Published:Sunday | May 17, 2020 | 12:00 AM
A Guardsman technical team installing the vehicle-tracking service. Under the bonnet is Khrozley Foster, and sitting is Andre Bennett.
The Guardsman vehicle-tracking team. Front row: Rudolph Green (left), general manager, and Damion Ayton, commercial manager. Back row: Khrozley Foster (left), technician, and Andre Bennett, support specialist.
Guardsman app2.
Guardsman app.

Jamaica is estimated to have more than 500,000 vehicles registered at the Tax Administration Jamaica office, and this number is growing each year. With this fact comes the increased possibility of someone’s car being stolen. One of the options owners are now taking into consideration is vehicle tracking.

“A lot of our existing customers who we provided home security for kept asking us about extending this concept to their vehicles, so we started offering this service about four years ago to help to protect our customers’ assets,” stated Damion Ayton, commercial manager, Guardsman.

In the past, having a good alarm, like one from the Clifford brand, was enough to bring peace of mind to many persons, but as thieves evolve, so must car owners. There was a time when adding features like kill switches and panic buttons was enough to secure a vehicle. Now, owners are looking for a way to monitor their vehicles on a 24-hour basis.

“With our app, you have the ability to create geofences (virtual boundaries) around the vehicle, and if the vehicle moves out of this area without your consent, the app will notify you immediately,” said Ayton.

Maintaining the service

Many persons are wondering about the recurring cost of owning a vehicle tracker, unlike a car alarm, which is a one-time cost, as the concept is still relatively new to our market.

“To purchase and install the tracking device itself is a one-time cost, and you are able to self-monitor via the mobile app. However, we also offer 24-hour monitoring via our central station with vehicle-recovery capabilities from our response team in the case of a theft. If you opt in for this service, there is a recurring monthly fee,” said Ayton.

In light of the challenging times, Ayton also spoke about many essential workers who may have to be at work late and drive alone to their homes at night.

“During these times, where our healthcare workers are always on late-night shifts, it gives them and persons in similar situations one less thing to worry about. Sometimes we have persons who call us and say, ‘I just don’t feel safe, can someone accompany me or monitor me on my way home?’. At this point, we may dispatch a team that is close by or have someone monitor the person from our central station,” he continued.

Expanding operations to fleets

The company has now expanded its service to fleet operators who own multiple vehicles that have to travel islandwide.

“Fleet operators will be able to track where their assets are anywhere and any time, which can be extremely useful in optimising their operations and assist with accountability of their staff members,” said Ayton.

With the island’s robust transportation sector, they have also developed a package for the operators for public passenger vehicles who want to manage their taxis while on the road.

The vehicle-tracking service is heavily dependent on the app, which means that users must have a smartphone that is always connected to the Internet. Once set up, the app has some useful features:

Geofencing – which is the ability to create a virtual perimeter for a real-world geographic area. The geofence is created around your vehicle location, and once your vehicle leaves the fence, the app will notify you immediately.

Immobiliser – this feature can completely shut down your motor vehicle if stolen or prevent the engine from starting.

Trips – this records your vehicle’s movements from point A to point B. This record log is especially useful for fleet operators who want to ensure that their drivers stay on course.