Limitation of IoT in Mobility for Real-time School Bus Tracking

Limitation of IoT in Mobility for Real-time School Bus Tracking

The Reality of Real-Time Tracking

If you have ever sent a courier through an international courier firm you know that they are able to deliver packages with complete perfection. This is made possible by using vehicles which are embedded with advanced Global Positioning System (GPS) technology that enables live tracking.

Academic institutions are now slowly embracing this new technology to ensure that their school buses are tracked real-time when they are on the move. Software developers are constantly trying to devise new apps to ensure that school buses can be monitored on the go ensuring peace of mind for everyone.

This traditional tracking system, a well-known example of Internet of Things (IoT) which is frequently used for insurance vehicle tracking is the latest technology being used to make sure a fleet of school buses stay safe.

School Buses Can be Scary

A 2011 study by National Transportation Safety Board inferred that buses and commercial vehicles are more likely to suffer from fatal accidents. In fact the last few years have seen the figure for the number of bases involved in fatal accidents increase.

The United States has seen 1,344 casualties between 2004 and 2013 in accidents which involved school buses. ABC News claims that about 17,000 children are taken into emergency rooms every year because of school bus related accidents.

Parents Live in Fear

Parents are constantly worried about what their children up to until they come back home. Schools are generally considered safe spaces but it’s the commute that keeps them worried. A lot of accidents related to school buses happen due to the driver over speeding or overtaking, driving under the influence of alcohol or being distracted by mobile phones.

Traditional fleet tracking systems have proven to be ineffective in this regard which is why more and more parents and educational institutions are going for more latest real-time school bus tracking technologies such as IoT and mobility.

Having said that, real-time school bus tracking is the need of the day to ensure that the children are safe. The IoT system which is supported by cloud services and mobility establishes a central point of data access which is shared by both the parents and school administration. This system is considered to be economic by most schools.

The Loopholes of GPS tracking

Although technology can only do so much and real-time school bus tracking using IoT in mobility has its share of constraints. This is exactly why schools and parents are being advised to use full software based solutions to ensure their children’s safety in school buses instead of simple GPS hardware. Let us look at some of the challenges GPS tracking faces and where it fails:

  • Cellular Coverage - It is true that GPS works based on satellites orbiting in space. But the recorded data from these signals are stored in a computer server. So if there’s no cellular coverage in a region, the GPS tracker won’t be able to communicate with the server.
  • Metal and Concrete - Although GPS can penetrate through plastic, fibreglass and glass, they are unable to penetrate metal and concrete. This means that if the tracker is placed in the trunk of a vehicle it won’t be able to receive GPS signals. This means that a lot depends on the position of the tracking hardware.

In certain tracking systems, people hard-wire the GPS to the specific school bus and only activates it in case of a calamity. This reduces costs because monthly service fee is not required. However in case of a faulty installation, the GPS tracker system will drain power and will be rendered useless within a short span of time.

Mobile Based Apps are the Way to Go

In case a school wants to ensure that their children are safe during daily commute mobile tracking apps is a better solution than GPS tracking hardware. Here’s why:

  • It saves installation costs since the driver just needs to have a Smartphone with GPS technology. It saves a lot of budget since each bus need not be fitted with an individual GPS tracker.
  • Tracking apps usually have a messaging feature using which the school and the parents can get in touch with the driver directly. This adds another layer of safety and protection to real-time school bus tracking.
  • These apps have a time logging feature which automatically tracks the time log of the entire commute which the parents can cross check and cross reference at any given time.
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