Synovia Solutions Blog

Student Ridership: Tracking Your Bus Riders

Posted by Christina Dieckmeyer on Tue, Sep 19, 2017 @ 09:00 AM

One solution that gives you the visibility you need.

9.19.17_Student_ridership.pngDid all of your students get picked up this morning? Were they picked up and dropped off at the assigned stops? Which students are on bus 11 at this moment?

Transportation departments are often asked questions exactly like these. Luckily, there’s a way to easily answer these questions and many more. Because when schools use a student tracking system on their buses, they know exactly where and when students board and exit the bus.

Student tracking software gives school administrators and parents comfort in knowing their children made it safely on and off the right bus at the right locations. The software uses a barcode or RFID proximity reader on the bus. Students scan their ID card as they board and leave the bus, giving the district actionable information in the event that a student attempts to exit at the wrong stop. Additionally, the reporting features in the software are especially helpful to those in transportation. Those reports include:

  • Accurate rider manifests for each bus in the event of an accident or emergency
  • Rider counts for state audits, Medicaid reimbursement, or utilization assessments
  • High-level summaries for a single day or longer time period
  • Detailed daily reports on total routes, single runs, or individual stops

9.19.17_Student_ridership_2.pngGet the Big Picture

Transportation folks can search by school or itinerary to see a complete view of the district, or they can drill down even farther for more detailed reports and compare the planned and actual capacity.

Know Who is Where

9.19.17_Student_ridership_3.pngStudent tracking software is an easy-to-use solution as well. No time is lost in the process, as students can quickly check in and out when entering and leaving the bus. This simple action gives fleet managers relief in knowing that students are boarding the bus at the right stops in the morning and arriving at the right stops in the afternoon.

9.19.17_Student_ridership_4.pngGet Instant Visibility

With mornings becoming more and more hectic for parents and schools alike, a student tracking software solution is just one more way you can bring instant visibility and peace of mind to everyone. Districts with this solution in place never again have to ask themselves, “Where are my bus riders?”

You can learn more about our GPS tracking solutions, including student tracking by downloading your free copy of our magazine, Ridealong with Synovia Solutions. We'll help you stay on top of the latest fleet management trends. 

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SEEING IS BELIEVING: VIDEO SURVEILLANCE

Posted by Christina Dieckmeyer on Tue, Sep 12, 2017 @ 09:00 AM

Uncovering the many benefits of cameras in the K12 industry.

gps tracking and video surveillanceThe installation and use of video camera monitoring systems on buses is an emerging trend that enhances both the rider’s experience and their safety in a number of ways.

Let’s start with the overall bus experience. No parent wants to hear that their child has been bullied or harassed while riding the bus. Luckily, the mere presence of interior cameras on the bus is often enough on its own to deter this type of behavior.

Without the cameras, it’s a single bus driver trying to keep track of a bus full of children. It’s difficult enough to simply drive the correct route safely, not to mention also trying to keep an eye on what’s going on onboard behind the driver. This all-too-typical scenario, where the driver needs to keep his or her eyes on the road and not the kids, lends itself to bullying, vandalism, and other misbehavior. And in this scenario, if there was an incident, it would likely go unseen by the driver and no one would be held accountable.

Luckily, when cameras are in play, this is not the case. The entire bus ride is captured on video, meaning that schools are able to easily monitor on-board student activity to help promote and maintain a safe environment. Capturing everything on video means a better trip for students and drivers alike.

In addition to interior cameras, exterior school bus cameras provide many benefits as well. Without exterior cameras, bus drivers must rely solely on what they can see with their own two eyes. Despite the network of mirrors a driver has at their disposal, many obstacles can still easily be missed in this situation. This is where cameras come in. Back-up cameras allow drivers to be 100% sure there is nothing – and no one – in a blind spot behind them before reversing. They can be confident in their ability to navigate their bus without the worry of an accident. Other exterior cameras on a bus’ sides and other locations allow drivers to have a comprehensive view of their exterior surroundings.

As an added benefit, in the event of an accident, schools with video surveillance on their buses have the ability to accurately document the chain of events leading to the incident. Ultimately, video provides indisputable evidence and allows schools to quickly dismiss false claims against their drivers.

To keep up with this emerging trend, Synovia has partnered with Safety Vision, one of the top vendors in video surveillance. This partnership allows our clients to stay on top of this demand with video surveillance systems specifically engineered for tough and lasting performance in any school bus environment.

You can learn more about our GPS tracking solutions, including video surveillance by downloading your free copy of our magazine, Ridealong with Synovia Solutions. We'll help you stay on top of the latest fleet management trends. 

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TURN THE BUS INTO A ROLLING STUDY HALL

Posted by Christina Dieckmeyer on Tue, Sep 05, 2017 @ 09:00 AM

How student mobile broadband is changing the way students study.

A great number of students spend quite a bit of time on the bus traveling to and from school each year. In fact, the American School Bus Council reports that 55% of all students travel to and from school on buses, making a staggering 26 million students riding buses per year. With some students spending up to 90 minutes a day commuting, it adds up to students spending 520 million school days going back and forth on buses each year. That’s a lot of time spent just sitting and doing nothing – or worse, getting into trouble.9.5.17_blog.png

How can educators ensure these kids are making the most of their commute time? One way is to extend the classroom to the school bus with Wi-Fi connectivity. To accomplish this, Synovia has partnered with Kajeet in order to offer our clients the ability to provide their students a “rolling study hall.”

Now, students can continue to do their schoolwork on the bus. With online connectivity they can safely learn, study, and even collaborate with other students on their assignments. Not only does this benefit the students by allowing them the opportunity to continue to learn while in transit, but it also helps to keep students occupied with things other than causing disturbances or getting in trouble, which means drivers can concentrate on the road rather than unruly kids.

But knowing that “kids will be kids,” what happens if instead of schoolwork, they’re visiting sites they’re not supposed to? Not to worry. With Kajeet, each bus can have 4G LTE connectivity preconfigured with safe CIPA compliant/education-content filters to keep students focused on schoolwork and to eliminate distractions. All of the routers are controlled in the cloud, so there is no need to create a private network back to the district. There are also time-of-day management and access controls, so schools can control when the network is in use and which URLs students are allowed to access.

As more and more school assignments and learning programs are becoming digital, this trend benefits students immensely – especially those who have limited or no access to broadband internet at home. Roughly seven in ten teachers assign homework requiring internet access, but according to the Federal Communications Commission, up to one third of students lack home access. Student mobile broadband helps to mitigate this issue and helps level the playing field.

Wi-fi on buses is a great way to keep kids occupied during a busy bus ride to and from school. You may want to consider this trend for your school, and provide a way to improve your students’ productivity and overall academic achievement while keeping the bus ride as uneventful as possible.

To learn more about our partnership with Kajeet and GPS tracking solutions, download your free copy of our magazine, Ridealong with Synovia Solutions. We'll help you stay on top of the latest fleet management trends, and decide what's right for your team. 

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THE UNTAPPED TOOLS OF FLEET MANAGEMENT

Posted by Christina Dieckmeyer on Tue, Aug 29, 2017 @ 09:00 AM

Your guide to the latest and greatest transportation solutions.

8.30.17_Fleet_Management_tools.pngNo matter your district’s needs, whether it’s back-up cameras or Wi-Fi connectivity on buses, there’s a solution out there for you. That’s why it’s important for transportation departments to stay on top of all the latest and greatest options available. Below is a quick list – a cheat sheet, if you will – of just a few of the tools out there.

GPS tracking: Track your buses, map your routes, and create meaningful transportation reports. This is one of the most common and most helpful tools for transportation departments. It’s an easy way to help save money and provide added safety as well.

Electronic time tracking: Solutions like Synovia’s Time and Attendance allow your drivers to clock in and out within their vehicles. This eliminates paying for non-driving time, and can save you up to 15 minutes per driver per vehicle per day – time that really adds up.

Maintenance management: Be proactive in your approach to maintenance, and avoid unexpected and costly fixes. This solution offers detailed engine data, allowing you to protect one of your largest investments – your buses.

Bus routing software: Design the most efficient routes for your district. Integrate with your GPS and you’ll have a comprehensive transportation management system; compare planned routes to actual, and know when each bus should be at its next stop.

Student ridership: Track exactly where and when your students board and exit their bus. Take it a step further and combine with a mobile app, such as Here Comes the Bus®, to allow parents and students visibility into exactly where their bus is.

Video surveillance: Keep kids safer with cameras in and around the bus, allowing you to see and capture what was invisible before. It’s a great deterrent to prevent bullying, and increased visibility helps drivers prevent accidents.

Wi-Fi connectivity: Give your students the ability to make the most of their bus ride. Offer broadband service so that students can complete assignments easily while on the move.

This list isn’t comprehensive, but it gives you a good place to start. There is a solution out there for almost any need you can think of. The key is to understand what’s important to your transportation department, and to stay on top of trends to know what is available and which solution will best suit your needs.

To learn more about our software and GPS tracking, download your free copy of our magazine, Ridealong with Synovia Solutions. We'll help you stay on top of the latest fleet management trends, and decide what's right for your team. 

Download Now

Trends of the Transportation Department

Posted by Christina Dieckmeyer on Tue, Aug 22, 2017 @ 09:00 AM

Understanding which tools you need.

As a fleet manMap.jpgager, it’s your job to make sure your fleet stays safe and arrives on time.  And in today’s technology-focused world, there are many tools at your disposal to help you make this a reality. It’s important to examine each new trend to determine if it’s one your business or school district should follow. There are many things to consider when evaluating a potential new tool, but the following two considerations are some of the more important ones:

Will this really make my job easier?

New tools often come with lots of bells and whistles. It can be overwhelming. How will you use each feature? And more importantly, do you have the manpower to take advantage of all of them? This can be a big concern for many businesses and school districts.

In order to overcome this, look for tools that do the work for you. One example would be a GPS system that automates the reports and alerts you need. This way you don’t have to be actively working in the software to get the full value of the tool. 

Instead, you can have the information delivered via email or text, and then use it to drive your next actions.

What are our top problems and how will these tools solve them?

Different people have different priorities. Maybe your payroll is an issue. Or maybe students are missing the bus for a variety of reasons, and parents are upset. Depending on your specific needs, you will need to weed through the tools to determine which will best solve your problem.

Some questions to ask yourself here include:

  • What are my needs vs. my wants? This helps you determine what the “must haves” of the solution are.
  • Is it easy to use? No matter how great a tool is, if it’s difficult to understand, no one will use it.
  • What kind of training and support are offered? In order to solve your problems effectively, you need to make sure your team is properly prepared.

Ultimately, take the time to understand your needs first. And then evaluate the top trends and tools available to find a solution that works the best for your transportation team.

To learn more about our software and GPS tracking, download your free copy of our magazine, Ridealong with Synovia Solutions. We'll help you stay on top of the latest fleet management trends, and decide what's right for your team. 

Download Now

FEEL SAFE WITH SYNOVIA SOLUTIONS

Posted by Christina Dieckmeyer on Tue, Aug 08, 2017 @ 09:00 AM

8.8.17_student_tracking_app.pngIt’s been a long, hot summer, but the days of children chasing fireflies, riding bikes and coming home with pockets full of dirt, rocks and empty candy wrappers are about to come to an end, because there’s something lurking just around the corner.

It’s the first day of school.

The students are nervous, and so are the parents. Getting on that bus for the first time can be especially nerve-wracking for everyone. What time is the bus going to get there? When should mom or dad send their child to the stop? Will the bus be here before mom or dad needs to leave for work? If they leave for work before the bus arrives, how will they know if their child got on board?

Schools can eliminate questions like these with a bus tracker app such as Synovia’s Here Comes the Bus®.

“I don’t have that worry or have the built-up frustration anymore,” explains one parent. Instead, they pull out their phone and know exactly where the bus is in real time and how long it will be until it reaches the designated stop.

“I know that this is where my bus is, where my child is, and what time I can leave,” was another quote from a parent

in one of our customer school districts. This is the kind of clarity that Here Comes the Bus app users enjoy.

Furthermore, gone is the need for parents to call the transportation department to ask where the bus is when it’s late, or to complain when it’s missed altogether if it comes early. Parents are alerted when the bus is near, and they can find its location at any time. That means schools deal with fewer and fewer frustrated parents, and your staff spends less time on the phone answering questions.

Mark Anderson, the Transportation Director at Decatur Township, says: “We’ve had less phone calls and they are not complaining about the bus anymore.”

With Here Comes the Bus, worries are gone for parents, and therefore for school transportation departments as well.

NO MORE LONG WAITS

In the past, waiting at the bus stop was simply a fact of life for students, no matter what the weather was like. With a bus tracker app, parents and students both know exactly where the bus is, so they can better gauge when it’s time to send their children to the stop. No longer do kids need to wait in the rain, cold, or scorching heat. They simply go to the stop exactly when they need to.

As Rochell Brester-Diablo, a parent at Avon Community Schools, puts it, “We can sit warmly in the house until right before the bus arrives.”

Ultimately, less stress and fewer missed buses leads to happier parents and students in your district. Giving your families real-time GPS tracking capabilities makes everyone’s mornings a little less crazy.

“I don’t know how I survived as a parent without this app last year. It times my whole morning,” said Kelli Knisley, a parent from Avon Community Schools.

The Here Comes the Bus app can drastically improve mornings for everyone involved. Bus pick-up times don’t have to be a challenge. Take the guesswork out of it by giving your parents and students the visibility and safety they need.

If you'd like to learn more about Here Comes the Bus, download our newest edition of our magazine, Ridealong with Synovia Solutins. In this edition, we help make sure your transportation team is ready for the new school year. 

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Chief Differentiators for the Top Transportation Solutions

Posted by Christina Dieckmeyer on Tue, Aug 01, 2017 @ 09:00 AM

HOW TO SELECT A VENDOR THAT STANDS OUT FROM THE REST

8.1.17_GPS_Tracking.pngThere are many GPS tracking solutions out there, and it can be overwhelming to understand the differences between each. Why is one company better than another? What, if anything, makes one vendor stand out among the rest? Because at the end of the day, aren’t all tracking systems the same?

Though it’s easy to reach that conclusion, it is not correct. In fact, there are many things that differentiate the top transportation solutions from the rest of the competition. When partnering with a company for a GPS tracking solution, there are several things you want to make sure they have in order to ensure you’ve got the best solution – and partner – out there.

Experience

One of the best differentiators is experience. What is the company’s history? Their past is a good indication of how they’ll perform in the future. In Synovia’s case, we have been successfully implementing GPS telematics in school districts and businesses across the country for over 15 years. That kind of track record puts our customers at ease. They know Synovia is in it for the long haul, and understand that the company is always looking for ways to move fleet management forward.

Another key piece of information to consider is the size of the company’s install base. How many buses and vehicles currently have their GPS tracking systems installed? In Synovia’s case, we have GPS tracking in over 100,000 vehicles across North America, tracking fleets with more than 5,000 vehicles. For every customer we work with, our goal is to build tracking solutions that revolutionize the way our clients manage their fleets. This is why we have built a company of problem solvers. We are constantly developing leading-edge tools and analytics for our customers.

Powerful Software

One of the biggest advantages a company can have is their software. Is the software simple to implement? Is it easy to use, and does it provide the kind of reporting options that will make your job easier? The platform you select needs to address the real-world challenges that your school district experiences and do so in a way that isn’t cumbersome, providing you with insight that allows you to make better decisions for your transportation department. At Synovia, we provide our clients with a simple-to-use yet robust software-as-a-service platform. It allows our customers to quickly look at and analyze data on the spot.

Another aspect to consider is the company’s level of innovation. Are they continuously trying to make their software better and more powerful? Be sure to partner with a GPS vendor that has industry-leading technology and enhances and extends their product on an ongoing basis. Take it one step further, and make sure they ask for and use customer input for their product enhancements. As an end-user, you should have the opportunity to give valuable input to help consistently improve or add on to the solution.

Level of Risk

Any investment can be risky. But there are vendors out there that take on much of the risk so you don’t have to. At Synovia, there are several ways we try to reduce the risk for school districts. One is our service model. Our all-inclusive turnkey service plan provides you with everything you need to track your vehicle fleet. Hardware, software, installation, training and more are all included. And if you need support, there’s no need to worry. Everything is covered under the service plan. Our goal is to help you keep your buses on the road. This is why we also provide spare hardware to our customers and strive to fix any software issues within four hours or less.

Another piece of the risk puzzle is cost. What is the solution going to cost you, and how are you going to pay for it? Budgets are tight. We understand that our customers need to get as much as they can for as little cost as possible. In fact, Synovia led the industry in changing the standard pricing model to eliminate upfront costs for new customers, making GPS more affordable. Additionally, to help even more, we have many ways to help finance the solution

to your fleet management challenges. Our service cost is guaranteed not to increase in price over the lifetime of your agreement, and we set up payment plans to meet your needs. You can pay monthly, quarterly, yearly or pre-pay. And as a school district, if your funds are no longer appropriated, you can cancel your contract without penalty.

Versatility

Another key advantage to look for is the ability to provide a wide array of solutions. Schools have many different needs when it comes to transportation management. You want to partner with a vendor where all your needs can be addressed in one place. At Synovia, we do everything we can to ensure this is the case for our customers. This includes building strategic partnerships with industry leaders to expand our capabilities and transform the way you manage your fleet. The result is a complete solution set and a one stop shop for our customers.

Ultimately, your GPS tracking solution needs to provide value. When you look at all elements of the solution versus the cost, are you getting the value you need? Will the solution help you save time? Will it help you save money? Will it help you provide a safer way for students to get to and from school each day? And will the system help you provide better and more information to parents? Because at the end of the day, that’s what matters: safety, savings, and service.

Every transportation director in the country deserves a safer, more efficient way to manage their fleet. Be sure to partner with a fleet management solution vendor that is a step above the rest. One that is committed to doing what it takes to make your fleet succeed while also giving you the biggest return on your investment.

To learn more about how Synovia stands out from the competition, download our magazineRidealong with Synovia Solutions. We'll help you stay on top of the latest fleet management trends, and decide what's right for your team. 

Download Now

 

Paving the Way

Posted by Christina Dieckmeyer on Tue, Jul 25, 2017 @ 09:00 AM

How Synovia partners to solve some of the biggest challenges faced by school systems

7.26.17_GPS_Tracking_Partners.pngMany times, when schools are considering a GPS tracking solution, they are trying to solve more than one problem. Maybe they are not only looking for better route management and fuel efficiency, but would also like to understand how to better maintain their buses. Or maybe the school is concerned with both accurately tracking time and attendance as well as providing better visibility to their drivers. They may wonder whether it’s possible to accomplish all their objectives in a streamlined manner, without having to juggle multiple vendors and projects. To combat this problem, Synovia has taken a unique and unmatched approach to partnering with leading companies to provide our clients with the best and most robust experience possible. As there are many things schools need in addition to their GPS tracking solution, it just makes sense to partner with other great companies to provide a one stop shop for our clients.

Improved Visibility with Safety Vision

Bus drivers need visibility when driving, both to what’s going on inside and around their buses. This is exactly why Synovia partnered with Safety Vision, one of the most recognized vendors of mobile video surveillance products in North America. The company has over 25 years of experience, and has sold over 1 million recording systems.

School buses are one of the most heavily used forms of public transportation around. More and more parents are trusting buses to get their kids to school in the safest way possible. Video surveillance is one of the latest tools that districts can use to make sure kids are transported to and from school safely every single day. With this solution in place, drivers can keep tabs on the kids, and just the mere presence of a camera usually deters behavior problems.

Drivers also no longer have to rely on their limited visibility on the road. For example, a backup camera can ensure no obstacles are in the way of the bus. By partnering with Safety Vision, we can now offer our clients increased visibility and safety for student riders. Bus drivers can then better keep an eye on the kids and on their surroundings.

Better Route Management and Bus Maintenance with Transfinder

At Synovia, we strive to provide schools with a comprehensive transportation management system. Our partnership with Transfinder is one way in which we do this. Transfinder is a global logistics software company that is recognized as one of the easiest and most intuitive methodologies for transportation routing, scheduling, planning, and communications. The software is designed to integrate seamlessly with Synovia’s suite of solutions, providing our clients with a complete fleet management solution. Our clients are able to integrate their routing systems with their GPS in order to have an instant and complete view into their fleets.

Synovia has also partnered with Servicefinder (another Transfinder solution). Designed solely for school bus maintenance, the browser-based solution offers schools a new way to tackle the complex administrative tasks associated with keeping a fleet of buses running smoothly. By partnering with Servicefinder, we can now offer schools a fleet maintenance program for vehicles, parts, inventory, and work orders. The solution allows for better quality control and more streamlined operations, which saves schools valuable time and money. With this partnership, fleet management has been simplified and expensive maintenance costs have been reduced.

Increasing Student Productivity with Kajeet

Synovia has recently added a new partner to the mix. We are working with Kajeet to extend the classroom to the school bus for our clients. According to the American School Bus Council, 26 million students ride a school bus each year. This equates to quite a lot of idle hours spent on the bus over the course of the school year. Additionally, a surprising number of students do not have access to the internet in their homes – roughly one-third of students lack the access needed to complete homework requiring broadband access. To overcome this issue, imagine a scenario where a student could instead use travel time to work productively on school assignments. This is exactly why we decided to partner with Kajeet.

With the help of our new partner, we can now offer our customers filtered wi-fi connectivity on buses. With the Education Broadband program, schools and districts are in complete control of their off-campus, academic internet connectivity. They can decide which traffic is allowed and which is blocked when connected to the bus wi-fi.

And with this solution in place, students can now use time going to and from school, sporting events, or field trips learning and completing homework in a safe, monitored environment. It’s mobile learning for your buses with a student-appropriate, filtered, 4G LTE mobile internet.

Providing Reliable Coverage with Verizon Wireless

Synovia has also partnered with Verizon Wireless to benefit our customers. Verizon is one of the largest communication technology companies in the world, and the company has transformed how people stay connected over the years. They also have the best nationwide coverage and the best network backup infrastructure. These are just a couple of the reasons why Synovia partnered with Verizon.

Our customers get to experience the advantages daily. For example, our partnership with Verizon prevents any overage charges for our customers, so they never run out of data. And all of Synovia’s devices, including in-vehicle screens that display information for drivers, connect quickly and easily to Verizon’s network. Verizon’s coverage and redundancy ensure reliable service, so you can always know where your buses are.

Synovia’s Exclusive Value to the K-12 Industry

Unlike many of our competitors, Synovia has made a concentrated effort to expand our solution set through partnerships. We believe that we set ourselves apart from the rest by offering a truly comprehensive solution for the K-12 industry. In the past, meeting all of a school’s needs would require multiple implementations, support systems, and invoices. But districts no longer must find and then work with multiple vendors. Instead, school districts can work directly with Synovia to get all the solutions that they will ever need from one vendor.

To learn more about our software and GPS tracking, download your free copy of our magazine, Ridealong with Synovia Solutions. We'll help you stay on top of the latest fleet management trends, and decide what's right for your team. 

Download Now

INTRODUCING SYNOVIA’S NEW SOFTWARE PLATFORM

Posted by Christina Dieckmeyer on Tue, Jul 18, 2017 @ 08:00 AM

How we’re helping our customers get the data they need faster and better than ever.

7.18.17_fleet_management_software.pngBeginning in the first quarter of 2017, Synovia Solutions LLC (Synovia) will begin to roll out a new software as a service (SaaS) platform to our customers. Prior to this new platform, our customers used Silverlining, our easy-to-use SaaS system that delivered an all-inclusive turnkey solution for the school’s GPS needs. It was a very user-friendly system that allowed our clients to know where their buses were at all times.

So why the change, you may ask? Why did Synovia make the decision to move to a new software, and what can our clients expect to experience with this change? In the end, it’s all about providing an even better experience for our customers.

THE STORY BEHIND THE CHANGE

We have more than 800 customers and 15,000 users, and all of them wanted one simple thing: a faster, more modern user experience. We have listened to, studied, and considered all of the feedback. The result? Synovia has put together a completely new software experience that is going to accelerate value for every customer and end user. This launch is about so much more than just new fonts, colors, and icons. It’s about making it easier for our customers to get the data they need to do their jobs effectively.

The project has been a multi-year mission for Synovia. We started with the Silverlining mobile site in 2015, which gave us the foundation to re-imagine our software-as-a-service. We asked ourselves, “If we were back in 2001 but had all of the technology available we have today, what type of software solution would we build?” The result is Synovia’s new software platform. It’s not just a great new user experience. It’s also packed with new features to help schools work more productively and make better decisions.

OUT WITH THE OLD, IN WITH THE NEW

The benefits our customers will experience with the new software are plentiful. First and foremost, school districts will experience improved overall performance. The new software is much faster to load and easier to operate than the old platform. The difference is very noticeable and will help our customers perform their jobs even more efficiently by allowing them to pull up the data they need quickly and without issues.

Additionally, a couple of the biggest drawbacks in the past were the software’s inability to run the program using all internet browsers and the need to download a browser plug-in. Now with the new solution all modern browsers, including Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer, and Edge, can be used to run the program, and no plug-ins are necessary. Schools can use their preferred browser and get up and running immediately.

The user experience and the ability to perform new functions will also benefit our customers. For example, the search feature is much improved in the new solution. Schools can now search based on object properties rather than just the name. This means you can search by VIN, phone number and more. Data can be filtered by these properties as well.

Reporting is also a key component to using the software effectively, and it too is much improved with the new solution. Users will now have the ability to create ad hoc reports. Is your boss asking for a new set of data? Prior to this launch, creating a new report was a time-consuming effort and could not be done on the fly. But now users can create new reports on the spot, pulling the specific data needed in that moment. Users of the new system will also be able to create customizable dashboards. Schools can determine what information they need to access on a consistent basis and easily set up a custom dashboard that will display and refresh the data as necessary.

Additionally, vehicles can now belong to more than one fleet and users can run the software from multiple locations. It can be run on a PC, laptop, tablet, or smartphone. No longer will you be chained to your desk in order to pull up your GPS tracking data. Instead, you can work effectively from home, in your car, or even at the bus yard.

The customer service experience has been improved as well. Users of our new software will have built-in customer service features. They will be able to create a support case directly from the software, and are able to view all open cases. And if your equipment needs to be returned for any reason, you now have the ability to create an RMA (return material authorization) directly from the software. Customers will no longer need to go to a separate site to log the information; it’s all in one convenient place within the software itself.

Finally, one of the biggest and most important benefits of the new software solution is the improved mapping. Synovia utilizes the ALK Technologies map engine. ALK is a global leader in GeoLogistics solutions and navigation software and has focused on developing innovative solutions for the transportation industry. The maps provided by ALK are more up-to-date and load much faster than before. And with this new system, schools will have the ability to map more than one vehicle history at a time and will be able to determine an estimated arrival time using real-time traffic data. As an added benefit, users will be able to create and print turn-by-turn directions directly from the system as well.

TRAINING AND IMPLEMENTATION

We are excited to bring our improved solution to our customers. As we roll out the new software, our current clients will need to be moved over to the new platform. Luckily, this is an easy and straightforward task.

It begins with training. This is always an important piece of the puzzle when working with a new software system. For each solution our customers have installed, there will first be pre-go-live training sessions. These will be online, either during a one-on-one session or via a larger webinar. We have also set up several on-demand tutorials and videos for our clients to watch. This allows you to answer questions and train when it’s most convenient for you.

Once a school district is confident and ready to go live, a date will be selected and instructions will be provided. The move to the new software is quite easy. There will be a new URL used to log in to the new system. All vehicles, zones, and users will be automatically moved over to the new platform, and your same login and password from the old system will work. It’s really that simple.

WRAPPING UP

We hope our customers are as happy as we are with our new SaaS platform. We look forward to hearing and incorporating your feedback as we continuously strive to get better. Our number one goal is to give you the instant visibility you need to better manage your fleet. And now we will be doing it with a much improved, faster interface that we are confident our customers will love.

To learn more about our software and GPS tracking, download your free copy of our magazine, Ridealong with Synovia Solutions. We'll help you stay on top of the latest fleet management trends, and decide what's right for your team. 

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Here Comes the School Year

Posted by Christina Dieckmeyer on Thu, Jul 13, 2017 @ 08:00 AM

Cover.pngIt’s that time of year again. Schools across the country are preparing for the inevitable end of summer, and the start to the new academic year. It can be a busy time for schools, and we want to help. To do so, this issue of Ridealong with Synovia Solutions will take a deep dive into the different ways schools can be sure they are ready to go come August.

In this edition, we start by exploring the feedback we’ve received about our student tracking app, Here Comes the Bus®, from parents and schools alike. We’ll also look at the latest trends in the transportation department and explain the benefits of having tools such as Wi-Fi and cameras on your school buses.

In the next section, we’ll take a deep dive into topics like student ridership, hiring the best bus drivers, and GPS navigation. We’ll also talk transportation trade shows and provide a case study from one Indiana school that has experienced a very successful transformation of their transportation department.

We’ll wrap up this edition by focusing on preparation for the new school year and how solutions like Here Comes the Bus can make your life as a transportation director a little easier. We’ll dive into the benefits of offering a student tracking app to your parents and students and explain the keys to success, such as effective communication with the district.

So, as you buckle down and plan for the new school year, we hope you enjoy this edition of Ridealong with Synovia Solutions. We’re excited to share the most up-to-date fleet management information with you as you get ready to kick off another great year!

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