Internet of Things is not always about that glorifying house that can do whatever you want just by one click. It is developed in more into safety such as in School Bus. The Fleet Maintenance Supervisor for the Saratoga Springs City School District has spent 35 years of his life in bus maintenance, most of it working with school buses.
Saratoga Springs City School District is a pilot user of Navistar’s (NYSE: NAV) OnCommand Connection, a remote vehicle diagnostic system. This Internet of Things technology enables Tanzer and his team to access detailed information about vehicle performance in real time, even when vehicles are on the road. The technology has been used by truck fleets for several years, but was just launched for school buses in July 2015. Saratoga Springs City School District, which serves 7000 students, many in rural locations, and runs a fleet of 110 school buses, began using OnCommand Connection last year, before the public launch.
Tanzer gives examples of how he uses remote diagnostics:
- With temperatures as low as -25 degrees last winter, his first concern is getting engines to start so drivers can start routes on time. He checks battery conditions from home, and immediately instructs staff which buses may not be ready, and what corrective action to take.
- When a check engine light comes on while a driver is on the road, Tanzer checks diagnostics to determine what action is needed, from letting the driver complete the route as usual to dispatching a tech and a substitute bus.
- Detailed diagnostics support better preventive maintenance. In the past 12 months, his buses traveled 1.5 million miles, only once requiring a tow truck.
Trish Reed, General Manager and Vice-President of Navistar’s IC Bus, discussed the turmoil that’s caused when school buses are late – parents late for work, kids waiting alone on the street, classes disrupted. She points out that school bus needs are all about on-time, in contrast to the uptime concerns of the trucking industry.
Because school buses operate and are maintained locally, local dealers benefit from data from OnCommand Connection. They can take advantage of fault codes to determine exactly what maintenance is needed. And because they have data for multiple customers, they can understand how the needs of those customers vary, using the information to improve service and stock the right parts.