School bus tracking is among the leading growth drivers for mobile telematics solutions in commercial vehicles, according to a recent study from Research and Markets. In fact, the commercial vehicle telematics market is expected to more than double from $7.3 billion today to $18.4 billion by 2022. Some experts believe telematics is quickly becoming an integral if not essential component of today’s vehicles.

Telematics uses communications and information technology devices to send, receive and store data about remote assets, such as vehicles, over a network. According to Gartner, “telematics refers to the use of wireless devices and ‘black box’ technologies to transmit data in real time back to an organization.”

Telematics essentially began with location-based GPS systems that could be used to locate a car and track the time and distance of a trip. As Gartner points out, telematics solutions are used in personal automobiles to provide data related to vehicle usage, maintenance and safety, and can provide a platform for usage-based insurance. For example, a smartphone can pull data from a vehicle and send it to the insurer.

However, telematics is also revolutionizing fleet management. Telematics enables organizations to monitor the location, movement, status and behavior of its vehicles in real time. Telematics can tell you when a vehicle starts and shuts down, when it’s idling, when it’s moving and how fast, when the driver hits the breaks and how hard, when an air bag is deployed, and how much fuel is left.

The greatest benefit of telematics for the management of school bus fleets is enhanced safety. Telematics allows driving habits to be monitored, which can then be used during performance reviews and driver training. In addition to optimizing bus routes, telematics can help you determine the safest drop-off and pick-up points. Proactive maintenance based on telematics data can reduce the risk of poor vehicle performance, accidents and breakdowns. Some schools have installed video cameras on buses to monitor student and driver behavior.

Telematics can also improve the cost-efficiency of school bus operations in several ways. It can tell you when a small fix or part replacement is necessary so you can avoid far more expensive repairs. It can recognize the arrival and departure times at each stop, and how long the doors are open and closed at each stop. By improving the speed of each stop, you can reduce idling and conserve fuel. Telematics can monitor driving time, which can improve accountability and reduce unnecessary travel.

IPC’s cloud-based telematics solution for fleet management enables real-time tracking of vehicles from any desktop or mobile device. Delivered through IPC’s Internet of Things Division, the system provides critical information about vehicle performance and utilization, status updates, temperature, and other metrics to maximize safety and security. The speed monitoring feature can detect high-speed driving and quick starts and stops. Alerts are then sent to multiple devices via email or text to report unsafe driving behavior or even recover a stolen vehicle. Intuitive dashboards and automated reporting provide real-time insights info fleet performance and costs.

Telematics is a valuable tool for improving the safety and efficiency of school bus operations. Contact IPC to request a demo of our cloud-based telematics solution for fleet management.