The infrared-based SmartTAG toll collection system is over 20 years old now and it has not changed much since then. While you’re not able to buy the official SmartTAG reader from Touch ‘n Go anymore and the number of arguably better RFID-enabled toll booths are increasing, SmartTAG lanes are still a staple in virtually all toll booths in the country, especially for intercity highways. So if you want to go through a toll-booth relatively unhindered, the SmartTAG lane is still the best option.
Good thing then a local engineering firm has developed — LokaTAG — a built-in SmartTAG-compatible RFID reader that can be installed as an aftermarket accessory.
The company, LOKATECH Engineering Sdn Bhd developed LokaTAG in collaboration with EFKON, the Austrian technology provider that supplies the infrared-based toll collection system nationwide in Malaysia, so you’ll be assured that LokaTAG is compatible with all the SmartTAG lanes in the country.
The device is designed to be an integrated part of your vehicle and it draws its power directly from the car’s battery. It features a long-lasting back-lit display with card error or low credit alert and is compatible with all vehicle models.
It consists of a card reader module that works with your standard Touch ‘n Go card and an infrared antenna.
LokaTAG is priced at RM499 and the installation is easy enough that most car owners can do it themselves. For those who are looking for a portable solution that allows you to take the device from one car to another, the company also offers the MaxTAG which was released in October 2018.
RM499 from Shopee
As an introduction to the market, Lokatech has partnered with Shopee Malaysia to offer free onsite installation for customers in the Klang Valley, Penang and Johor with every purchase of LokaTAG from the official LokaTAG online store on Shopee. Lokatech tells us, customers outside the free installation areas can also enjoy free installation selected authorised dealers. You can check the list of authorised dealers here.
In addition, there’s also a 0% Easy Payment Plan (EPP) option for just RM1.
While RFID is the buzzword when it comes to toll collection systems at the moment, infrared-based systems like SmartTAG remain popular because they are mode widely available, especially for intercity highways.
“We expect the infra-red electronic toll collection system to continue playing a significant role in this country for years to come. It has proven to be the most reliable, efficient, convenient and cost-effective cashless toll collection system in facilitating multi-lane traffic flow on Malaysian highways,” EFKON Asia Sdn Bhd director Helmuth Blasch, said.
According to him, brisk sales of the MaxTAG since its launch last year and increasing orders from car manufacturers for built-in toll readers indicates that infrared-based system is still popular among road-users.
“Market response to the portable MaxTAG has been excellent with average monthly sales of about 12,000 units. As for our built-in toll readers, we currently have five major car brands featuring our customised products with more coming on board soon. The combined total monthly sales of the portable and built-in units are about 25,000 units,” he said.
Lokatech Engineering Sdn Bhd general manager Ng Shyh Kang believes that there is tremendous potential in the untapped aftermarket segment.
“LokaTAG is the first and only authorised built-in toll reader for the aftermarket and we believe there is a high number of car owners who will appreciate the peace of mind and convenience of a seamless ride. For a start, we are targeting sales of about 1,000 units a month,” he said.
Blasch added that his company is developing news features for his infrared-based toll readers, including equipping the devices with Bluetooth connectivity and voice alert capabilities in the future. Bluetooth connectivity will enable the device to users to interact with the electronic toll reader using smartphones and in-car entertainment systems.
“We expect the infra-red electronic toll collection system to continue playing a significant role in this country for years to come. It has proven to be the most reliable, efficient, convenient and cost-effective cashless toll collection system in facilitating multi-lane traffic flow on Malaysian highways,” he said.
For more information on the LokaTAG, head on over to www.lokatag.com.