Samsara is a company founded in 2015 by MIT researchers, and may not be a name you are familiar with. The company provides a range of hardware including vehicle trackers and in-vehicle recorders to small business owners and mid-size fleet managers.
The in-vehicle recorders are useful for viewing accidents from the driver’s perspective, helping with liability coverage in the event of an accident. Each device from Samsara provides real-time tracking with second-by-second updates. This is in contrast to the tracking other telematics services provide where “real-time” may only mean once every few minutes.
Pricing and Contract
Prices and contracts are worked out individually for each customer and are not specified online. Samsara’s sales team will help you find the best plan for your business, and contracts are usually between one and three years.
This is quite standard in comparison to the rest of the industry, and prices are structured to meet the needs of various kinds of fleets.
Features and Services
Demo videos are available so you can see exactly how the software behaves. Samsara offers ELD compliance and can support HoS (hours of service) functionality.
Installation complexity varies depending on the device being used. OBD II port devices are plug and play, while in-cab cameras and other devices may be more complex. Samsara may offer installation services for each device, which is something you need to discuss with the sales team.
Driver safety scorecards are provided in real-time, and dashcams can be installed so you can re-watch incidents and help drivers to improve their safety. The dashcam can offer a view of the driver as well as just the road ahead.
All unsafe driving practices are covered, including harsh braking, acceleration, turning, and speeding. Harsh turning monitoring is the least common feature among other manufacturers.
Fuel performance is monitored with the ability to analyze fuel consumption and utilization. This helps you to plan better routes and to encourage your drivers to manage their vehicles in a more fuel-efficient manner. It is even possible to log fuel receipts.
Information relating to vehicle diagnostics and fault-codes is also provided in real-time which can help you to manage your fleet more efficiently, dealing with accidents quickly and potentially avoiding breakdowns.
Reporting and alert features are complete and robust, and text/email alerts can easily be configured to keep you up to date with everything that is happening with your fleet.
Samsara consistently receives good reviews but is not accredited with the Better Business Bureau. It received a “D” grade, which is among the lowest across the industry. This does not necessarily reflect every aspect of the business or its hardware/software but is worth keeping in mind.
Pros and Cons
- Excellent fleet tracking is always provided by Samsara with virtually instant updates on vehicles
- Great safety features and alerts
- A poor rating for Samsara with the Better Business Bureau doesn’t look great
Ease of Use
Samsara produces devices that are very easy to use and update quickly. The creation of geofences is simple, and traffic data can be shown on the map. Very polished, simple to use, and always keeps you in control.
Overall, Samsara provides great software that is packed full of features, but the reviews with the Better Business Bureau might be a cause for concern.