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4 Reasons the "Connected School Bus" is a Game-Changer for K-12

Posted by Brandon Kuras on 4/6/16 10:29 AM

Welcome to our ever increasing world of the Internet of Things (IoT), where network-enabled objects communicate and exchange data. The key to IoT is that the “objects” aren’t always electronic gizmos and next-generation gadgets; they can be practically anything, mobile or fixed, like a school bus for instance.

In today’s digital age, nearly every modern electronic device is network-connected. Whether it be a mobile consumer device or a commercial HVAC controller, the expectation is that access to the Internet is always available.

In the K-12 market, Connected School Bus is a holistic solution that combines safety, security, and network access, offering benefits to students, parents, district staff, and their fleet managers. Here's how: 

1. Students Want 24x7 Internet Access

Let’s face it, traveling with children can be made easier with technology. How many times have you turned on the mobile hotspot for your kids during a road trip? This same principle applies for the school commute.

By utilizing 4G VPN backhaul back to the district data center, students can have the same wireless access on the bus that they have on campus. This also means that the same web filtering used on campus will be active on the school bus to shield from dangerous content.

2. Parents Gain Greater Visibility into Bus Route

How great would it be to know if your child's school bus will be arriving on time or will be delayed? Having the ability to know if the school bus was running ten minutes late would make a big difference to that child waiting outside in the cold.

Connected School Bus integrates to popular social media applications and mail servers so that these types of notifications can be disseminated out to parents in real-time.

[Get the one-page Connected School Bus solution spotlight]

3. District Staff Identify New Opportunities for Remote Learning 

District staff need to know if any incidents occur onboard the school bus and must also have the ability to offer remote learning during long commutes. Connected School Bus can serve both these needs.

The solution includes a comprehensive surveillance system which monitors both the interior and exterior of the school bus. HD video recording and two-way audio capabilities allow district staff to remotely view the live stream and respond to incidents much faster.

With some school commutes lasting upwards of 45 minutes, instructors can take advantage of that time to present content to students remotely rather than extending the length of the school day. Immersive learning rooms with HD video conferencing technology will enable a life-like experience for remote students and bridge the gap between the classroom and the commute. 

4. Fleet Managers Can Better Ensure Reliable and Safe Transportation 

Fleet Managers need to have real-time communication with their bus drivers to ensure a reliable and safe experience for students. While district staff and administrators may be looking for incidents that pertain specifically to students, the fleet managers have their eyes open for many other things. The interior and exterior cameras will help to identify a reckless driver—not only for the school bus driver but also for civilian traffic, such as someone ignoring a school bus stop sign or a car driving past the red flashing lights.

The Connected School Bus solution also integrates into the bus' onboard engine computer to monitor and identify any issues with the vehicle itself. Some examples of the types of information that can be relayed back to the bus garage are: tire pressure, fuel economy information, engine fault codes, or if the bus driver exceeds a certain speed threshold. GPS information is also transmitted and can identify if a school bus travels outside a designated area. 

Integration is Everything

The true value in this end-to-end solution is the integration of wireless, IP-enabled cameras, security, transportation data, and other components, onto one powerful networking platform. 

Learn More About This Solution  Hop on a live webinar to learn how the Connected School Bus solution is  driving innovation in the K-12 learning experience. Sign up!

Topics: Mobility, Education

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the author

Brandon Kuras

Brandon Kuras is a Solutions Architect based in Buffalo. He is responsible for providing solutions to technical problems, and for the installation and project data collection on a customer site. In his spare time, you can find Brandon snowmobiling, jet skiing, and four wheeling.

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