Over the past few decades, the socio-economic progress and purchasing power of the middle class and upper middle class in Bangladesh have significantly increased alongside rising incomes. As a result, there has been a growing inclination among the population to purchase cars, a trend that is expected to continue in the future. However, this increased car ownership has also led to a corresponding rise in car theft incidents. In fact, according to data from 2020, over 400 cars are stolen in Dhaka annually. Consequently, car owners find themselves preoccupied with concerns about the safety of their vehicles. To address this issue and alleviate such worries, car owners can consider utilizing a Vehicle Tracker System (VTS). This system can significantly reduce the risk of car theft. Today, we will explain the functionality and operation of a VTS service, highlighting one of the most prominent VTS services available in Bangladesh, Prohori VTS.
During the period from 2011 to 2021, the number of passenger cars experienced a consistent annual growth rate of over 7 percent (7.23% to be precise). Based on data from the Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA), the current count of registered passenger cars in Bangladesh stands at more than 4 lakh (401,552) as of March 2023, with almost half of them registered within the past decade. This rise can be attributed to the escalating demand for cars for both personal and commercial use in Bangladesh.
Consequently, there has been a parallel increase in car theft incidents. The detective branch department of the Bangladesh Police reports that more than 20 organized theft groups actively steal approximately 20 to 25 vehicles every month as of 2020. Additionally, there were 102 reported cases of car theft in Dhaka city during the three-month period from July to September 2020 alone (split as follows: July – 23, August – 30, and September – 49), and this number has continued to rise in recent times.
DB Police report says, These criminals typically steal the cars and then demand substantial sums of money from the owners, which varies depending on the car’s model and condition. If the owner fails to comply, the criminals proceed to dismantle various parts of the stolen vehicles and sell them to car mechanics. Law enforcement agencies attribute the increasing number of thefts to inadequate car security systems.
However, car owners can take preventive measures to safeguard their vehicles. They can opt to install a Vehicle Tracker System (VTS) along with digital number plates on their cars. This combined approach significantly reduces the risk of vehicle theft and greatly enhances car security. In the unfortunate event that a car does get stolen, the VTS can prove invaluable in facilitating its recovery.
What Is VTS
The Vehicle Tracking System (VTS) is a comprehensive system that enables continuous tracking and control of any vehicle’s location using GPS and satellite technology. It allows users to monitor and manage their vehicles via online websites, smartphones, or tablets. In addition, these systems offer users access to both historical and real-time data, including vehicle speed, traveled routes, duration and locations of stops, duration of air conditioning usage, and fuel consumption over specific distances.
VTS primarily relies on GPS, GSM/GPRS, and digital maps to provide users with various information on their devices. Typically, a VTS device (also known as Telematics) installed in the vehicle establishes communication with GPS satellites orbiting Earth to relay the vehicle’s real-time location to the user. This data is transmitted to the tracker’s main server through cellular networks. From this server, users can conveniently track their vehicles in real time using either a mobile device or computer from any location with internet connectivity.
Benefits Of VTS
The utilization of Vehicle Tracking Systems (VTS) in cars offers numerous advantages, including real-time location tracking and enhanced safety features. Through the VTS device, the vehicle’s location can be accurately tracked and displayed on a map, facilitating quick and easy recovery in the event of theft. Additionally, the VTS device is equipped with an SOS button, enabling the vehicle owner or designated emergency contact person to receive notifications in case of any road-related dangers. Another noteworthy feature of the VTS device is geofencing, which allows the vehicle owner to define specific areas or routes for their vehicle. This functionality alerts the vehicle owner whenever the vehicle deviates from the designated route or area. Additional features of VTS devices encompass maintenance alerts and efficient route mapping.
According to data from the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC), there are currently 48 licensed VTS providers in Bangladesh. Furthermore, the three major telecom operators in the country, namely Grameenphone, Robi Aziata, and Banglalink, have received VTS Service Provider Approval. Among these various providers, one notable service provider is Prohori.
Prohori is originally developed by Pi Labs Bangladesh Ltd, a subsidiary of the Different Group and the parent company of the popular online bookshop Rokomari.com. The development of the Vehicle Tracking Service – Prohori’s R&D began in 2012, leading to the initial launch of the first version of Prohori in 2014. Prohori stands out as the only Vehicle Tracking System developed entirely by a Bangladeshi in-house R&D team.
In 2016, the mobile app for both Android and iOS versions of the Prohori was launched alongside the device’s commercial launch. The Prohori Vehicle Tracking System holds licenses from BTRC and ISO certification. It offers tracking capabilities for various vehicles, including private cars, CNG vehicles, microbuses, buses, trucks, pickups, tractors, and even commercial vehicles like excavators.
For nearly a decade, the Prohori services have been utilized by individual car owners and organizations such as rent-a-car companies, logistics service providers, courier services, and delivery services. In addition, logistics service providers utilize Prohori VTS services for their buses, covered vans, pickups, tractors, and trucks. According to the company, Pahari is used as a tracking system for road vehicles as well as water vessels like launches, ferries, and ships in rivers. Prohori’s mobile app and web portal interface are designed with user-friendliness in mind, catering to domestic customers. The company provides installation support for the device through its dedicated team when customers subscribe to Prohori’s service. Prohori also offers 24/7 dedicated customer care, long-term data backup, and a reliable cellular network.
Similar to other VTS service providers, Prohori offers a range of services, including real-time tracking and notifications. One noteworthy feature is the loud horn, which can be activated by the car owner in the event of a theft, and it will continuously sound the horn intermittently until the car is turned off, preventing the perpetrators from disabling it. Additionally, the engine lock feature automatically disables the engine when the vehicle is stopped, preventing it from being restarted.
Many car drivers often drop off their owners and may engage in ride-sharing services to earn extra income. The Guard’s door notification alert system is useful in verifying such activities. The car owner receives notifications regarding the number of times the car door has been opened and closed and the location of these occurrences. Through the geofencing feature, the car owner can restrict the driver’s movements outside the predefined route, preventing unauthorized ride-sharing. Another notable feature is the panic button, which allows the driver to request rescue if they encounter any danger. Prohori VTS notifies the vehicle owner about regular maintenance, documentation, and up-to-date paperwork, saving them from unexpected costs and hassles. For corporate clients, the VTS service provides features like monitoring and tracking multiple vehicles, multiple control numbers, and a convenient search function within different groups and subgroups.
Initially, many Bangladeshi car owners were unaware of the benefits of using the tracking system, resulting in limited interest. However, according to the Prohori, over 50 organizations, including Unilever Bangladesh, Biman Bangladesh, Sundarban Courier Service, Energypack, Youngone Hi-tech, HAMS Group, ERI, and BRRI, are currently utilizing Prohori’s VTS service.
Apart from corporate customers, Pahari offers four pricing packages, namely Lite Package (BDT.450/month), Basic Package (BDT.499/month), Standard Package (BDT.599/month), and Premium Package (BDT.699/month). Additionally, customized packages are available based on customer requirements. The company’s dedicated installation team installs the device in customers’ vehicles through home service or at one of their 25 installation points across the country.
In the future, the company aims to introduce tracking devices for both four-wheeler vehicles and motorcycles, ensuring the use of guards in every sector of the country’s automobile industry. Prohori is also planning to provide additional online support required by the motor transport industry in recent times.