Some weeks ago, two gentlemen from a company called Ingoma Telecom, came to our offices to show us a car tracking product they’re distributing in Zimbabwe. The product itself is called Tramigo and it’s manufactured by a Finland based company going by the same name. We have been using the device for about 2 weeks now, testing and seeing if it’s as amazing as the gentleman claimed.
First, the actual tracking the device provides is nothing different from your everyday vehicle tracking systems. It tracks the GPS coordinates of a vehicle, the speed, route history, says when the vehicle stops and how long it’s stayed in one place etc… Your typical.
But there are a few things the device does very well and remarkably different from most systems on the market. The first is that it’s a GPS/GSM tracker, which means that it can communicate with the owner of a tracked asset via basic SMS. You can actually send the device an instruction to immobilize a vehicle via SMS. The device also provides location information through what it calls Tramigo TLD Landmarks, which are actual names of landmarks in the area the vehicle is in. For example, when we ‘asked’ it where it was, it told us accurately through SMS that the car was parked close to the Dominican Convent School in Harare.
The device is not only about tracking cars, parents can track their kids by just having them carry the device in a backpack. The device has a panic button to alert parents with details of the child’s location via SMS. A parent can also dial in to the unit to hear what’s going on.
The device is not without downsides. It has one major downside actually; While you can buy it with no strings attached (unlike other tracking services) at US $550, you continuously pay for the service through the SMS messages that the device sends you and the ones you send it. The frequency of the messages the devices sends can of course be set to specific situations and times.
Ingoma says they have managed to secure partnership with NetOne (one of the country’s mobile operators) so that all SMS from the device’s line are charged a single monthly flat rate, but the condition is the line used needs to be a contract (post paid) line. NetOne contract lines are not easy to get for the typical (not formally employed) Zimbabwean and getting one is a process.
Ingoma has not been able to secure a similar deal with Econet so far, the country’s largest mobile operator. Econet has almost half the country’s population on its network and any service that relies on mobile networks has to involve them somehow in order to make available to enough people.
The other downside is that if the asset you’re tracking is taken to an area that doesn’t have your operator’s network coverage, there’s virtually no way of telling (or controlling) what’s going on there.
Overall, we think the device is quite useful, especially for the vehicle tracking features.