Huntsville partnered with Presidio to envision what the ideal school bus looked like, and safety and connectivity were top on administrators’ wish lists, said Bob Daughrity, Presidio’s director of education solutions. Real-time access to the district’s vehicle computer system, enabling fleet managers to send and receive alerts, as well as bus monitoring, were included on the wish list.

After envisioning and outlining the solution, Presidio deployed 3G/4G connectivity for wi-fi on district school buses, along with rugged Intel processor-based tablets for student tracking and driver information.

Automatic Vehicle Location via GPS with Geo-Fencing enables precise bus tracking. Fleet managers can monitor driver behavior in real-time, and also can monitor the condition of the vehicle itself.

Guided by Presidio’s Internet of Things (IoT) Smart Transport architecture, the holistic solution integrates hardware, software, data and connectivity, which runs on technology from Cisco and other partners.

Presidio created an app that alerts parents when their children get on and off the bus. Buses also feature live video cameras to relay information in real-time to school administrators and emergency responders in case of any incidents.

Flexibility and customization according to the district’s needs were key factors in creating the solution.

“It’s not a ‘Here’s what we offer, now figure out how to make it work for what you need,’ said Tim Hookes, director of transportation for the district. “It’s ‘What do you need and how can we make our solution better for you?’”

“IoT is reminding us that technology’s purpose is to improve our quality of life,” said Shawn Rahn, vice president of IoT at Presidio. “The school bus solution here is part of our initiative around a smart and connected community. The wi-fi on the bus isn’t just about a convenience factor–it’s about quality of life. This is about enabling kids.”

Huntsville plans to park its buses in areas with high concentrations of students who lack home internet access, enabling them to gather a certain distance from the bus and use their district-issued Chromebooks to study and complete assignments.

About the Author:

Laura Ascione

Laura Ascione is the Managing Editor, Content Services at eSchool Media. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland's prestigious Philip Merrill College of Journalism. Find Laura on Twitter: @eSN_Laura