July 31, 2015 Return to overview

Smart Connected School Bus:

How School Administrators can Leverage the Internet of Things to Satisfy Parents and Students


Students, Parents, and School Administrators are constantly at odds with each other. Students want a better learning environment, parents are concerned about the quality of the education their sons or daughters are receiving, while school administrators struggle to reach their demands with the limited funds on hand. As a result, students, parents, and school administrators often engage in a blame game that gets nowhere. However, there is one place students, parents, and school administrators can find common ground. A smart connected school bus that leverages Internet of Things (IoT) technology can provide a whole host of benefits for students, parents, and school administrators.

Why Students will agree: A smart connected school bus can be configured to provide internet service to students riding the school bus. With internet access students can complete homework on the bus ride to and from school, increasing productivity. Internet access on school buses will greatly benefit low income students. Statistics show that under 50% of all low income students have internet access at home1. With internet access on school buses, students without internet access at home will be able to complete homework that requires internet access on the commute to and from school if they are unable to finish it on campus. In the digital age, the internet has supplemented classroom learning by giving students greater access to information; therefore having internet access on school buses will greatly benefit students.

Why Parents will agree: School buses can make parents anxious; parents never know exactly what goes on during the bus ride or when the bus arrives at school or the drop off point; with a bus connected to the internet many of these parental concerns will be eliminated. For example, a smart connected school bus can provide real-time live tracking via GPS similar to what is in use in certain public transit bus applications2. The GPS data can then be transmitted via the bus’s IoT gateway; parents can then by notified when the bus has arrived at its destination or if the bus will be delayed due to unforeseen circumstances. A school bus connected to the internet can also be configured with smart CCTV cameras so parents can get a clear picture of what goes on during their child’s commute. This will alleviate some anxiety parents may have.

Why School Administrators will agree: School administrator are constantly looking for ways to reduce transportation costs and go green; a smart connected school bus can help administrators reduce the cost of operating school buses while at the same time, reduce the carbon footprints the buses leave behind. For example, school administrators can leverage Internet of Things (IoT) technology to monitor a bus driver’s driving behavior. This data can then be used to determine if the bus driver is engaging in speeding, reckless driving, or deviating from an assigned bus route. All of these detrimental behaviors will eventually cost the administrators more moneywhile also directly or indirectly creating hazardous conditions for the students onboard. Similarly, school administrators can leverage Internet of Things (IoT) technology to implement a vehicle monitoring solution to reduce maintenance costs. For example, live engine data can be transmitted back to the central authority to be analyzed. Once the analysis is complete, it can be determined if the bus’s engine is running at peak efficiency. If not, the necessary maintenance actions can be taken. Without the vehicle monitoring solution, maintenance can easily be ignored, which leads to more carbon emissions and reduced efficiency.

Conclusion: Obviously a smart connected school bus will satisfy the needs of students, parents, and school administrators. Students will be able to learn while commuting to and from school, parents can stay informed, and school administrators can reduce the operating costs of running a school bus by leveraging the Internet of Things. With the benefits that a smart connected school bus will provide to all parties involved, there is little reason to not embrace this technology.

References

1. Nott, Melissa. “Wi-Fi Wired School Buses: The Next Big Thing for Internet Access”

            Edudemic. January 30, 2015.

2. Marr, Brandon. “How Big Data And The Internet Of Things Improve Public Transport In

London.” Forbes. May 27, 2015.

3. Beach, Jim. “Explaining the Internet of [Trucking] Things.” Trucking Info. August 2014.

About the Author:

Nathan To is currently an Intern at Davra Networks. He will be a sophomore at the University of California Riverside in the fall where he is majoring in Business. In the past, Nathan was one of the leaders of his High School’s student iPad repair group. He has also moderated a panel on Student Experiences with Educational Technology at the annual Educational Learning Technology Consortium (ETLC) in Atherton CA.

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