Comparing Purpose-Built ELD Devices with Bringing Your Own Device (BYOD)

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The types of devices available to assist in managing your fleet generally fall into three categories:

  1. Purpose-Built / Vehicle-Installed: Designed specifically with the job in mind. Managed by the software provider, purpose-built solutions are secure, ruggedized and easy to manage.
  2. PYOD (Pick Your Own Device): Designed around popular consumer devices but still managed by the software provider, this gives you more device choices than the singular purpose-built, but is not as rugged or secure.
  3. BYOD (Bring Your Own Device): This solution is the most flexible as far as number of devices you can select from, from smart phones to tablets, since the software being used can run on whichever device the you use. However, it involves multiple vendors for a full solution, which can be problematic, as well as Mobile Device Management issues, such as additional data costs and personal use, which need to be considered.

Here’s how they compare:


Security is no place to compromise when it comes to managing your fleet. Purpose-built devices are simply designed to be more secure. They don’t require addon security software; instead, security features, such as single-sign-on capability, are built right in. Since PYOD is a managed device, it offers some of the same security benefits as a purpose-built device. However, BYOD carries additional security risk, as it requires multiple vendors be involved to reach the end goal.

Additionally, since a purpose-built device is intended for use within a particular system, it’s less appealing for would-be thieves. There’s really little benefit for someone, like a terminated employee, to walk away with it—it doesn’t carry the same value on the street as a universally used tablet or smart phone does.


With any new system implementation, there’s sure to be a learning curve. But how steep it is and how often training needs to be refreshed depends on the device you choose. With a purpose-built solution you receive implementation support up front, ongoing training, and extensive online documentation for self-service. There’s simplicity to having one device to train to—it’s the same for everyone using the system.

With PYODs, you are offered a selection of specific devices to choose from and thus training can be more complex. But since PYODs are managed devices, the software remains consistent, and support should be expected from a reliable vendor. BYODs present more of a challenge when it comes to training. With an unlimited amount of devices, training can become less and less consistent as more and more solutions are added to the device pool.

Of note: within the commercial trucking industry, FMCSA’s Electronic Logging Device mandate requires each vendor to register each platform (e.g. Android) and each device it can be used on (e.g. Galaxy.) If you consider BYODs—which release new consumer versions often—you will need to ensure your drivers are using a registered and compliant device.

Mobile Device Management (MDM) Systems

If devices are company-owned, there’s a strong case to be made for having an MDM system to limit data usage expenses. With a purpose-built device or a PYOD, MDM’s are baked into the device. BYOD’s require bringing an additional provider into the mix – another place where things can go wrong, and another vendor involved if a problem occurs. With BYOD, you’re now dealing with multiple vendors to bring together all the pieces you need to operate. In addition, MDM systems can add a costly, per-device monthly fee and need to be included in an overall comparison of new system costs. Traditionally, an MDM system is already included in the pricing of a purpose-built device, but you should always confirm and “hidden” or additional fees needed during the sales process.

Battery Power

Typically, fleet management devices are in constant use. With a purpose-built tablet through Zonar, your device stays conveniently docked throughout the day with continuous charge. There is no extra need for swapping out units with more battery power, or taking the device out of service for charging, so you will always be covered. Also, with resistance to extreme temperatures, you can be sure that your device will not drain quickly due to severe heat or cold.

It’s possible for a PYOD to be docked but, if not, both PYODs and BYODs require the purchase of in-vehicle chargers to maintain battery life with constant use. Depending on the operating conditions, it may be necessary to purchase temperature-resistant batteries with either of these solutions as well.

Business Class Power Management Accessories

Purpose Built: Since purpose-built tablets, such as the Zonar Connect™ are built with the job in mind, accessories are part of the original purchase. This will save on added costs for accessories. PYOD and BYOD devices offer accessories to assist in longer battery life and rugged exteriors for an additional charge, but despite the wide availability, add-ons are just that—added on to a product to enhance it – and not as effective as though the device were purpose-designed.


Drivers know what it’s like to withstand tough conditions on the road, and that’s what the Zonar Connect tablet was made for. Water-resistant, a durable shell able to withstand extreme operating temperatures, and a screen made up of Asahi Dragontrail™ glass are a few reasons this device is one of the most durable telematics devices on the market. PYOD and BYOD devices can be protected by purchasing additional accessories— to a point. The sure way to make certain your device can handle the weather and rigor of the road is to buy purpose-built devices that have been tested.

Life Cycle Management

Purpose-built devices from Zonar are developed and managed in-house. We design and produce all hardware and software, which makes for longer lifecycles. However, if your goal is to have cutting-edge technology, Zonar’s innovation allows you to move to the forefront of technology with our next-generation solutions.

Support Services

At Zonar, the care we provide our customers is the most important service we offer. Our U.S.-based Customer Care centers are available to you 24/7/365 to answer simple questions or help you solve complex problems. Also, when support for your device is necessary, Zonar has an easy-to-use support site available to help guide you through an issue. Having purpose-built tablets like the Connect, and worldclass customer support, you will be sure to have the resources you need to get the job done.