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Here Comes the Bus® Makes Customer Service Easier and Smarter

 

here comes the busWhen a bus comes early or late, it’s a major issue for parents and for students. If it’s early, a child is more likely not going to be ready in time and will probably end up missing it. If the bus is late, waiting for it can be dangerous for students due to extreme weather conditions. Either way, a bus that’s not on schedule can throw a wrench in the works for a parent’s day, and make a child’s morning miserable. And it can mean angry phone calls or emails for administrators and staff to deal with. 

Luckily, it doesn’t have to be that way. Giving parents more information – and having that information for yourself as well – can solve a lot of problems before they happen. And if a bus schedule does go sour, you have the tools at your disposal to solve the problem, and to explain to parents exactly what happened.

What’s Here Comes the Bus?

Here Comes the Bus is the only mobile device app available in the United States that alerts parents that their child’s bus is near. It launches nationwide for the start of the new 2015-16 school year. It offers two levels of access – basic and full. With basic access, parents can see the real-time location of their children’s buses on the Here Comes the Bus website on any device for no charge. Full access includes that, as well as a smartphone app, email alerts and push notifications, historical information, and an adjustable alert radius so they can decide when they’re notified that their child’s bus is near. 

How can Here Comes the Bus help with customer service? 

According to Suzanne Rothenberg, director of public relations and community outreach at the MSD of Decatur Township in Indianapolis, improving customer service is one of the main benefits of Here Comes the Bus. “From the district point of view, we want to focus on the positives – improving customer service, safety and communication with parents,” Rothenberg said. 

When parents know the exact location of their child’s school bus, they’re less likely to need to call. When a parent calls transportation, it’s usually for one of two reasons. Either the bus is late, and the parent wants to know where it is and when it will arrive, or the bus already came and the parent wants to vent their anger since their child missed the bus. Here Comes the Bus gives you the ability to help parents help themselves.

Utilizing Core GPS tracking and Comparative Analysis from Synovia Solutions, Here Comes the Bus allows parents to see where the bus is with pinpoint accuracy. With full access, they don’t even have to remember to check – parents will be automatically notified when their child’s bus enters a certain perimeter, so they’ll know when to be ready. 

If a parent, for whatever reason, still needs to call, it’s much easier to answer a question quickly and correctly. If a bus isn’t where it should be, a staff member can simply take a screenshot of GPS data and email that to the parent. According to Scott Denton, assistant superintendent for Durham Public Schools, “The ability to do this has curbed the number of what we refer to as repeat callers…those parents who tend to find a reason to call every day about a particular bus.” Denton says that Here Comes the Bus was able to placate even some of the “most vocal critics” of drivers. 

Here Comes the Bus will reduce the number of phone calls, and make it easier for you to respond to the ones you still get. No matter what way you look at it, the app delivers for parents and administrators alike.

Interested in Learning more about Here Comes the Bus? Register for our upcoming webinar on August 13th at 1PM ET (10 AM PT).

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Synsurance™ Ensures Your Success with Fleet Management Technology

 

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For most fleet managers, implementing a GPS tracking system isn’t a matter of choice. Rather, it all comes down to budget. And since many GPS-technology providers require a sizable upfront investment just to get started, it’s no wonder so many fleet management professionals are forced to forego the benefits of a proven fleet management system.

At Synovia Solutions, we decided to solve the cost and service-related issues that keep so many fleets from adopting GPS tracking technology by introducing Synsurance™. 

Available exclusively from Synovia Solutions, Synsurance is an all-inclusive, turnkey service plan that represents the ultimate in customer protection. With Synsurance, there are no upfront costs, so you can start experiencing the safety, savings and service benefits associated with Synovia Solutions GPS tracking technology right away. The program also includes performance guarantees (we pay if we don’t perform) that will also ensure success.   

With Synsurance, you get: 

No Upfront Costs

With Synsurance, there is no need to delay the implementation of fleet telematics due to budgeting or appropriations hurdles because it costs absolutely nothing to get started. 

Everything You Need to Track Your Fleet 

Synsurance provides all that is necessary to begin using Synovia Solutions GPS tracking technology, including hardware, software, installation, implementation, maps, hosting, replacement spares and more.

Price Protection

Choose Synsurance and your service plan is guaranteed not to increase in price for the entire length of your service agreement. In addition, you will never pay any hidden or extra costs – guaranteed.  

A Comprehensive Hardware Warranty That Never Expires

Every Synsurance service plan comes with a hardware warranty that lasts the duration of your service agreement. If Synovia Solutions-supplied vehicle hardware fails to perform, you’ll receive a replacement at no cost to you. 

Exceptional, Highly-Accessible Customer Support

With Synovia Solutions, you can track your fleet using an intuitive dashboard, complete with unlimited access to live customer support, online training, educational videos and on-site assistance as needed.

99% Uptime Guaranteed or We Pay

Should you experience downtime relating to the functionality of your software, Synovia Solutions will get you back up and running within four hours or you will be credited one day’s charge for your entire fleet.*

First Occurrence Fix or We Pay

Any support call you make related to Synovia Solutions software is considered a first occurrence until it is resolved. If the same issue requires another support call within the next 30 days, you will be credited one day’s charge for your entire fleet.

2% Spares on Site with Spare Replacement within 48 hours

If a piece of hardware fails, you’ll have the ability to replace it with a spare unit immediately. Afterward, just send us the defective unit and receive an additional spare within 48 hours.

Software as a Service (SaaS) Benefits

Because all Synovia Solutions GPS tracking tools are built on Silverlining™, our user-friendly web-based SaaS platform, we host the entire solution for you. What’s more, all software updates and upgrades are included. 

Flexible Payment Options

Pay monthly, quarterly, yearly or pre-pay and receive a discount. Government entities can take advantage of special municipal terms that allow for the cancellation of a Synsurance agreement without penalty if necessary funds are not appropriated.**

Synsurance – the simple, all-inclusive solution

With a highly scalable and affordable service plan, many Synovia Solutions’ customers have found Synsurance to be self-funding within 90 days! Contact Synovia Solutions today to learn more.

 

* An extraordinary event involving our data carrier would not qualify for this credit

** 36 or 60-month term agreement required 

 

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Community-Based Policing – How GPS Tracking Can Help

 

“Community-based policing.” gps tracking for community based policing

It’s a term that has received a lot of attention as of late, despite being something many police departments throughout the country have practiced for decades.

Defined as “the system of allocating police officers to particular areas so that they become familiar with local inhabitants,” community-based policing is more than an idea. It is a set of values that center on a commitment to working cooperatively with members of a community, as well as organizations both public and private, to identify issues that affect the livability of specific areas and thus, the community as a whole.

Resolving a dispute between neighbors. Patrolling the streets to make sure school-aged children are in class. Getting to know local business owners and any neighborhood-related issues they may be dealing with. These are all examples of what could be considered community-based policing activities because they directly impact the livability of the community itself.

According to Tom Casady, Public Safety Director for the city of Lincoln, Nebraska – a city that has practiced community-based policing since 1975 – the following should be considered primary tenets of a community-based policing approach:

Geographic Responsibility

The primary division of labor for the police is geographical. Officers identify with their area of assignment, rather than the work shift or functional division. Commanders are assigned to geographical areas and given wide latitude to deploy their personnel and resources within that area. Individual officers adopt even smaller geographical areas and feel a sense of ownership for that area. Officers commonly know many of the people who live and work in this area, and are intimately familiar with the area's geography, businesses, schools, and churches. Officers seek out detailed information about police incidents which have occurred in their area of assignment during their off-duty time.

Long-term Assignment

Officers can expect to work in the same geographical area for many years. Officers' preferences for areas are considered in making assignments. Rotation of geographical assignments is rare. The organization values the expertise and familiarity that comes with long-term assignment to the same area.

Decentralized Decision Making

Most operational decisions are decentralized to the level of execution. Field officers are given broad discretion to manage their own uncommitted time. Operational policies are concise, and serve as general guidelines for professional practice more than detailed rules and regulations. First line supervisors are heavily involved in decisions that are ordinarily reserved for command ranks in traditional police departments.

Proactive Policing

The police department employs techniques to manage its workload in order to make blocks of time available for police officers to address identified problems. The police response to an emerging problem typically involves significant input and participation from outside the department. The department routinely uses a range of tactics other than responding to individual incidents, such as: targeted saturation patrol, bicycle and foot patrol, undercover/plainclothes/decoy/surveillance operations, educational presentations, coordination of efforts with other government or human service agencies, support to volunteer efforts, initiation of legislative proposals, and so forth.

HOW GPS TRACKING CAN HELP

For departments looking to transition to a community-based approach, GPS tracking technology can be extremely valuable to the overall success of such an initiative.

Location, Location, Location

For example, GPS tracking from Synovia Solutions allows departments to pinpoint the real-time location of officers’ vehicles. This is key for a variety of reasons. For example, you’ll know which officers are closest to a specific location, helping to ensure a police presence exists where it is needed most, even in non-emergency situations. So if a batch of vehicle thefts have occurred recently on a particular street, you’ll be able to determine immediately if that area is being patrolled and have the knowledge to correct the situation if necessary.

GPS tracking can also help departments practicing community-based policing methods to ensure officers are frequenting and within their assigned beat or neighborhood. Since so much of the success of community-based policing relies on law enforcement getting to know the people and dynamics of their assigned patrol area, it is important to make sure officers are where they should be at all times. What’s more, GPS tracking gives department leadership the ability to prove that officers are patrolling particular areas, helping to build confidence among those who feel the police presence in their area has been lacking.

Furthermore, community-based policing relies on “decentralized decision making.” Field officers are given broad discretion to manage their own uncommitted time, making it difficult for commanding officers to know the exact whereabouts of every personnel member at any given time. Fortunately, GPS tracking technology ensures you will always know the location of every squad car in your fleet, even if the officer or officers assigned to it haven’t called in for hours.

Safety is Always a Priority

Because community-based policing requires individual officers to become intricately familiar with their assigned beats, personnel may interact with those in their neighborhoods on their own. With Synovia Solutions, all vehicles equipped with GPS tracking feature an emergency button that calls for backup while broadcasting that vehicle's precise location. And when a vehicle's lights and sirens are activated, the tracker automatically emits location data every 10 seconds, providing you with more granular information in emergency situations.

Community Relations

GPS tracking can also help police departments make a better impression on the community as a whole, independent of community-based policing methods. GPS tracking technology from Synovia Solutions delivers detailed information on vehicle mileage and usage hours, helping you to keep your fleet running strong, which saves local taxpayers thousands as it relates to repairing and/or replacing city vehicles. What’s more, GPS tracking also monitors speeding and idling so that officers can be trained on better driving habits, which saves taxpayer dollars while protecting the safety of officers and citizens alike.

Theft Prevention

GPS tracking can be used to track items such as “bait cars,” which are often set up in areas where auto theft is prevalent. When the vehicle is turned on, GPS tracking will activate, your department will be notified and officers will have the ability to identify the speed and location of the stolen property.

Sources: http://www.lincoln.ne.gov/city/police/cbp.htm

 

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The Latest on Here Comes the Bus®

 

Here Comes the BusSeveral weeks ago, we told you about Here Comes the Bus®, a brand new website and mobile
app that enables parents and caregivers to view the real-time location of their child’s school bus using a computer, tablet or smartphone.

At the time, Synovia Solutions had just begun a two-month pilot program involving 17 school districts spread across seven states. Now that the pilot has reached the halfway point, we wanted to take a moment to share some information on the program, as well as feedback provided by a few of our participating districts. 

For the latest, we first sat down with Elizabeth James, Director of Product Strategy for Here Comes the Bus.

What would you say is the main objective of the pilot program?

To take the feedback we receive from parents and administrators and use it to identify areas that need to be improved before the official rollout later this summer. We want to work out any issues before Here Comes the Bus is officially made available to school districts nationwide.

How are you working to collect feedback from participants?

Toward the end of the pilot period, we will be distributing surveys to parents and administrators in select schools. Their responses will help us understand what is working, what isn’t, and what features and functionality we need to develop to make Here Comes the Bus even better. These surveys will also address our support model and let us know if our support team is meeting the needs of both parents and transportation officials.

From there, we will take everything we’ve gathered and use it to make any necessary updates before Here Comes the Bus debuts at the North American School Bus EXPO Conference and Trade Show (STN EXPO), taking place July 25-29 in Reno, Nevada.

Are there particular features associated with Here Comes the Bus that you’ve received more feedback on than others?

Parents love the push notifications. They really enjoy the convenience of being able to receive an alert when the bus is near.

Just this morning, one of the Transportation Directors involved in our pilot program told me about a mother that has three children enrolled in his district – one in elementary school, one in middle school and one in high school. She heads to work before her children board the school bus, and uses the push notifications to inform her when her children’s buses arrive. She told the Transportation Director that ever since Here Comes the Bus became available, she feels more confident knowing that her children haven’t missed the bus and are on their way to school.

What can attendees expect when Here Comes the Bus debuts at the STN Expo?

Attendees who stop by our display (#221) will have the chance to directly interact with Here Comes the Bus and have all of their questions answered by our experts. It will be an excellent opportunity for those interested in Here Comes the Bus to speak with individuals who know the technology inside and out, so they can get a real sense of whether or not the product will work for their district.

Next, we spoke with Mark Anderson, Transportation Director for the Metropolitan School District of Decatur Township in Indianapolis (IN), which is currently participating in the Here Comes the Bus pilot program.

What kind of immediate difference has Here Comes the Bus made as it relates to your transportation department?

The number of calls from parents asking about the location of their child’s bus has been greatly reduced. When we do receive calls, our response is always, "Have you signed up for Here Comes the Bus?" It has been a great tool for our parents. 

What kind of feedback have you received from parents and staff?

One mother told me she loves Here Comes the Bus since she works and can text her children when the bus is near, and said the system was well worth the investment. 

Have parents or administrators at other districts contacted you to find out more about Here Comes the Bus?

Two nearby districts have reached out to me recently to learn more. One paid me a visit so that they could see Here Comes the Bus in action, while the other gave me a call to discuss the technology and obtain my feedback. 

Another pilot program participant, John Payne, Transportation Information Systems Analyst for Newport News Public Schools (VA), shared the following message he received from a parent who has been using Here Comes the Bus:

“I am loving ‘Here Comes the Bus.’ It has been amazing for rainy days like yesterday. I was able to tell my daughter when to leave for the bus so she wasn't waiting outside for so long. Outstanding choice!'"

 

More Media Coverage of Here Comes the Bus

WAVY TV (VA)

The Daily Press (VA)

To learn more, including how to implement Here Comes the Bus in your district this upcoming school year, call Synovia Solutions toll-free at 1-877-796-6842 or click the icon below. 

Here Comes the Bus

Visit Here Comes the Bus 



4 Ways to Manage Risk in Your Vehicle Fleet

 

manage fleet riskEvery time you get in a motor vehicle, you’re taking a risk. Even for the most skilled of drivers, operating a car, truck, or other automobile is inherently dangerous. Being safe isn’t about eliminating the risk of injury to yourself and others, because that’s simply not possible. It’s about limiting that risk, managing it to drive as safely as possible.

That applies just as much to those who drive professionally as to those who do it recreationally or simply for transportation. That’s why risk management throughout your business’ fleet of vehicles is one of the most important responsibilities a transportation or fleet manager has – because lives depend on it.

Here are some steps you can take to make sure your drivers and vehicles are as safe as possible.

Comprehensive driver training

Most of the people who are operating your vehicles and equipment are likely to be very capable and skilled drivers. Training can help keep those skills sharp, and help refresh knowledge of rules of the road and job site. But there’s more to it than just that.

No driver operates in a vacuum. A good training program will allow you to assess, critique, and improve how your drivers interact with other drivers on the road, and how they interact with their colleagues and surroundings on a job site. Being able to ace a closed-course test, after all, doesn’t mean a lot if aggression or recklessness take over in the real world.

Observe safety on the roads

And training doesn’t mean a lot if it doesn’t translate to actual driving. Aggressive and unsafe driving practices don’t just put your drivers and others at risk of injury, it can also cost you money.

Speeding is a fairly common offense, but it can do a lot of damage. It’s dangerous in and of itself. It can lead to other dangerous behaviors, like swerving through traffic and cutting off other drivers, and if an accident happens, it increases the severity by magnitudes. It also reduces fuel mileage and causes undue wear and tear on vehicles, which can mean breakdowns that shouldn’t be happening.

Monitoring fleet driving practices reduces the risk of collisions and injury, and reduces the risk of damage to vehicles and property. Knowing what your team is doing on the road and in the field is critical.

Limit unnecessary driving

The more drivers drive, the greater the risk. That’s just common sense, and beyond simply saving miles and money, it’s why limiting the amount of driving your drivers are doing is a smart move. That doesn’t mean turning down jobs or cutting service. It means helping your crew to drive more efficiently.

Information is key here. If you know the routes your drivers are using – meaning they’re planned, and there’s accountability for drivers who leave the route without a good reason – you can constantly analyze them, look for alternatives, and seek out the most efficient route. You can also look at vehicle use during off-hours, and set limits on what employees can and can’t do when they’re not on the clock to prevent further risk to them, your vehicles, and your business.

Regular maintenance

Breakdowns are inconvenient. They take vehicles off the road, and make it harder for your business to function and your jobs to get done. But when you look at your fleet through the lens of risk management, a breakdown can be a disaster. Poorly maintained vehicles can become unsafe to drive and use, and if a driver or manager doesn’t know maintenance is needed, a small problem can snowball into something big. A belt can snap, or an axle can break, or an engine can blow out. If that happens on the road, it could end in injuries – or worse.

Proactive maintenance helps prevent that from happening. Regular diagnostics on the engine, brakes, and other vital systems help catch trouble miles before it arrives. Monitoring vehicle emissions can also help locate engine trouble that might not be caught otherwise, and regular tune-ups and oil changes keep vehicles running longer and safer.

Protect your drivers, protect your business

As manager of a fleet, part of your duty is to manage risk and make your drivers as safe as possible. It protects them, it protects your investment in your vehicles, and it keeps you from ending up in insurance or lawsuit limbo. You need tools to be successful, though – and Synovia Solutions™ fleet management technology can do the job. It provides detailed location and diagnostic data that allows you to monitor routes, prevent breakdowns, and minimize risk as much as possible.

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Introducing Here Comes the Bus®, Technology That Keeps Parents Informed

 

Whether you’re a parent or someone who rode the bus to school as a child, chances are you’ve experienced the struggle of trying to predict the exact moment the school bus will arrive at your stop. It’s a guessing game that affects parents from coast to coast, causing millions of students to wait outside for extended periods of time amidst inclement weather, busy traffic and other roadside dangers – and that’s if they’re lucky enough to not have missed the bus.

Here Comes the BusThe Solution

To help make things easier (and safer) for everyone, we at Synovia Solutions developed Here Comes the Bus®, the only mobile device app available in the U.S. that alerts parents that their child’s bus is near.

An easy-to-use website and mobile device app, Here Comes the Bus enables parents and caregivers to view the real-time location of their child’s school bus on a computer, tablet or smartphone, helping them send their children to the bus stop at just the right time, every time.

In addition to helping parents locate their child’s school bus quickly and easily, Here Comes the Bus lets users access arrival and departure information, receive push notifications or email alerts when the bus is near and track children who ride separate buses. For security and privacy purposes, parents must obtain a private ID number – which grants access to their child’s bus only – to use Here Comes the Bus.

For school districts, Here Comes the Bus represents a simple, cost-effective way to reduce bus-related phone calls, increase student safety, improve parent communication and demonstrate a commitment to implementing meaningful technology.

What’s Next

Here Comes the Bus is currently being piloted in 16 school districts across seven states. The official debut will take place in July at the North American School Bus EXPO Conference and Trade Show (STN EXPO) in Reno, Nevada. From there, Here Comes the Bus will become available to K-12 districts nationwide in time for the 2015-’16 school year.

Media Coverage of Here Comes the Bus

Here Comes the Bus Indianapolis, IN 

Here Comes the Bus Charlotte County, FL 

Here Comes the Bus in Newport News, VA

 

To learn more, including how to implement Here Comes the Bus in your district this upcoming school year, call Synovia Solutions toll-free at 1-877-796-6842 or click the icon below. 

Here comes the bus  resized 600

Visit Here Comes the Bus 


5 Ways to Boost Fleet Efficiency

 

fleet efficiencyA good business owner or fleet manager is always on the lookout for ways to save money while improving service to their customers or constituents. Increasing the efficiency of your vehicle fleet is a great way to achieve both simultaneously. Here are a few methods that can help you make it happen for your business:

Cut fuel costs

Fuel is expensive, and it’s one of the biggest concerns for any fleet manager. Finding ways to reduce fuel usage is a major priority, but with a whole fleet of vehicles and a team of drivers to manage, it’s not an easy task.

Two crucial weapons are data and communication. Knowing how often and for how long your vehicles are in use can help you to better manage your fleet and reduce fuel usage. You can use GPS data to communicate with drivers about wasteful driving habits while educating them on how to change for the better.

Reduce time and money spent on repair issues

A broken-down vehicle creates a long-list of problems for your fleet. Routes get diverted or missed, you can’t cover your whole territory and you might even be paying drivers to sit by while repairs are being made. At worst, a vehicle’s lifespan could be shortened dramatically. The best way to keep any of that from happening is to prevent major mechanical issues before they happen, while they’re still minor problems that can be addressed with minimal downtime and expense.

Knowing what’s going on inside your vehicles means that you can see what’s coming. Long periods of downtime are avoided. Your vehicles remain in the field, your drivers keep busy and your clients stay happy.

Increase driver safety

Reckless driving is deadly. It can also hurt your business even if your drivers never end up in an accident. If a motorist is cut off by someone driving a truck with your business’ name on it, that motorist goes from potential customer to outspoken critic.

Speeding and reckless driving can also cause unnecessary wear and tear on vehicles, and increase the time and money you have to spend on wear and tear items and vehicle replacement. It can even raise your fuel costs. Training your drivers to operate their vehicles safely and efficiently can save a lot of money. It can also save lives.

Monitor vehicle and equipment locations

As your fleet grows, it gets harder and harder to manage. Things fall through the cracks. Sometimes equipment can end up lost or stolen from a worksite. Having to replace equipment that’s disappeared without a trace gets expensive quickly. Making an effort to track your equipment closely, with detailed reporting, will help you save thousands on replacement spending. 

Find the best routes

The shortest path to fleet efficiency is just that – finding the shortest and simplest routes for your drivers to use. Don’t just guess when drawing up routes – gather data to make informed decisions, and then make sure your drivers are following the proper routes.

Of course, all of these tactics are much easier when you have comprehensive data at your disposal – the kind of data Synovia GPS-powered tools provide. Vehicle monitoring allows you to track fuel consumption and maintenance needs as they arise. Location tracking means you’ll always know where your equipment is. Request a demo or begin your free trial today. You’ll love what Synovia Solutions GPS tracking technology can do for you.

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How GPS Can Help You Make the Most of Growth in the Construction Industry

 

GPS for construction crewThe economic downturn that began in 2008 affected practically every industry, but the related problems in the housing market were an especially big blow to the construction sector. But this is 2015. Things are improving, especially when it comes to the housing market. And that’s good news for construction companies.

According to USA Today, contractors added 290,000 jobs in 2014, a nine-year high. Construction spending rose 9%, 6%, and 5.7% respectively in each of the last three years. Being able to hire is always a positive thing. But how can you take full advantage of the opportunities that an industry upswing presents? GPS fleet tracking is one important way to make sure you get the most out today’s economic recovery.

Reduce unnecessary fuel consumption and large equipment repairs

Saving money is a really good way to make money – the less you’re wasting, the better. But with a large fleet of vehicles and equipment, many construction companies see costs start to spiral out of control.

The data you obtain via GPS tracking will help you monitor and optimize equipment usage, leading to significant cost savings. You’ll lower costs by managing vehicle misuse and excessive idling. You’ll know when drivers aren’t operating vehicles safely and whether they’re risking costly damage. And when maintenance is needed, engine diagnostics will tell you before a minor problem turns into a major issue.

Manage larger teams with ease

A growing client list means more jobs for your team, and more jobs in different locations make growing your fleet a necessity. The logistics of managing a fleet are difficult no matter what, but as your fleet grows, the list of issues you must face increases exponentially. Managing fuel costs, regular maintenance and the location of your vehicles and equipment all become a massive chore.

The solution is data – the kind of data you get from a GPS tracking system. You’ll always know where every vehicle and every piece of equipment is located, no matter how large and ungainly your fleet may seem. A built-in battery means Synovia Solutions GPS tracking can be used on all equipment – even if that equipment isn’t powered by an engine.

The ability to manage your team and your fleet with ease, especially as it grows, will put you in great position to make the most of today’s massive construction boom. Fortunately, Synovia Solutions can help you increase cost savings, worker safety and customer service – all at the same time.

Download Our Construction Guide

5 Top Technologies for Public Safety Agencies

 

technology for public safety Recent years have seen public safety agencies worldwide adopt several new technologies in an effort to stay ahead of threats that exist in today’s ever-changing digital world. At the same time, departments are utilizing existing technology in new ways in order to better communicate with and inform the public. This proactive approach is leading to partnerships that both agencies and community members find mutually beneficial.

To help you examine the many ways your agency can more effectively use technology to further the creation of safer, more cohesive communities, we’ve compiled a list of tools – some proven and available, some untested and on the way – with the potential to serve as valuable assets for public safety agencies.

MOBILE APPLICATIONS

Today’s mobile apps aren’t just for entertainment anymore. In fact, public safety agencies across the country are using mobile applications to enhance communication between law enforcement, emergency responders and the general public. For example:

CrimePad enables law enforcement officers to record, track, maintain, collaborate and report on all data within a criminal investigation or crime scene.

USPDHub is a community outreach app designed to facilitate current and critical two-way communication between public safety officials and community members.

PulsePoint Respond immediately alerts CPR-trained bystanders in the event of a nearby cardiac emergency so that CPR may be performed as quickly as possible.

EMERGENCY DATA MAPPING

In the age of “big data,” public safety departments are working to utilize the massive amount of information collected on a daily basis to create crime and disaster maps. These maps present officials with a high-level view of variables such as where and when certain crimes are occurring. What’s more, mapping makes it easier for law enforcement agencies to deliver community members with easy-to-understand information so that citizens are not only more aware, but have the ability to be more proactive in preventing future incidents.

Cities such as Camden, New Jersey and Oakland, California have implemented interactive crime mapping programs like CopLogic that allow for web-based citizen incident reporting. Some mapping technologies even allow victims of non-violent or non-emergency crimes to submit reports online, freeing up officers to respond to life-threatening situations.

WEARABLE VIDEO RECORDING SYSTEMS

The subject of multiple headlines in recent months, wearable video recording devices are being implemented by police departments both large and small to provide an extra level of protection to both officers and civilians. Also known as “body cameras,” wearable video recording devices are a way for law enforcement agencies to increase accountability in an age where full transparency is an ever-present demand.

With the New York Police Department working to outfit almost every officer with a body camera, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio echoed the sentiments of many when he endorsed the initiative, saying, “When something happens, to have a video record of it, from the police officers’ perspective, is going to help in many, many ways.”

TABLETS AND SMARTPHONES

What are now staples of the modern American home are increasingly being seen as valuable tools by public safety officials nationwide. These mobile devices, which often appear in a more rugged form than versions used by everyday consumers, are designed to house several applications and allow access to information once inaccessible to officers out on patrol.

Not only do these smart devices make everyday tasks much more efficient, many are capable of being used for video surveillance, dispatch and license plate recognition.

GPS TRACKING

GPS tracking technology is quickly gaining traction among public safety organizations for its ability to enhance the safety of officers and emergency crews, lower operating costs and shorten response times.

GPS tracking technology can perform a multitude of tasks, from instantly locating personnel to sending an alert whenever a vehicle emits an engine fault code, helping to avoid costly repairs. GPS tracking can even monitor driver behavior and verify whether or not a specific area or route is being covered, helping to support a department’s utilization of crime mapping data.

 

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Sources: National League of Cities – Municipal Action Guide, Motorola Solutions Communities, The New York Times
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How GPS Can Help You Reduce Insurance Costs

 

GPS insurance savingsFrom greater fuel efficiency, increased payroll accuracy, improved route compliance and more, there is no shortage of ways Synovia Solutions GPS tracking technology can aid you in reducing fleet operating costs. Still, there remain several ways Synovia Solutions can help you save that you may not have considered.                        

One of the most overlooked cost-cutting opportunities associated with GPS tracking has to do with insurance costs. With Synovia Solutions GPS-powered tools, you can pay less toward your insurance premiums without having to reduce your current coverage. What’s more, many insurance companies will offer immediate discounts once a GPS system has been installed. Here’s why:

GPS tracking can lead to an increase in the recovery of stolen equipment

Vehicle and equipment theft has long been an issue for fleet managers across a wide range of industries. Whether it’s an experienced car thief stealing a vehicle after hours or one of your employees taking an expensive piece of equipment home with them, the potential for theft is an ever-present threat.

Stolen goods are an especially big problem for fleet managers because most of what is lost is never recovered, forcing insurance companies to pay for replacement equipment. This type of scenario usually leads to increased premiums, meaning your company is forced to pay even though it has been the victim of criminal activity.

With GPS tracking from Synovia Solutions, you’ll always know the location of your vehicles and equipment, so you can assist law enforcement in recovering stolen property. And because a large number of insurance companies see the implementation of a GPS system as an anti-theft measure, significant discounts can be had.

GPS tracking can aid you in enforcing safer driving habits

Even if you’re brand new to fleet management, you probably know from personal experience that unsafe driving habits greatly increase the risk of an accident or citation. The more incidents you have, the higher your insurance premium. The same goes for your drivers. The more trouble they cause as a result of reckless driving practices, the higher your premiums will rise.

GPS tracking from Synovia Solutions gives you the power to monitor driver behavior across your entire fleet, so if one or more of your employees has issues with excessive speed, harsh braking or rampant acceleration, you’ll know. You’ll be able to enforce safer driving habits your drivers are sure to follow because they’ll be aware that their activity is being monitored. The result? Less accidents and fewer citations, leading to potential discounts from your insurance provider.

GPS tracking can help ensure vehicles aren’t being used for unauthorized purposes

Vehicle misuse represents a giant liability risk for fleet managers. Construction workers taking heavy machinery home on the weekends, delivery drivers letting a spouse use their van to pick up the kids – even police officers venturing outside of city limits for personal reasons. All of these potential situations can cause big problems with your insurance company should an accident or injury occur.

Synovia Solutions GPS systems enable you to track your vehicles 24/7, so if your drivers are utilizing vehicles or equipment for anything other than their intended purpose, you can put a stop to it before it’s too late. Your insurance company will feel better knowing your employees aren’t leaving the job behind the wheel of your company’s property, increasing the likelihood that you’ll receive a discount.

GPS tracking help your vehicles remain safe and reliable

Synovia Solutions GPS technology alerts you the moment one of your vehicles displays an engine fault code, helping you to stay on top of vehicle maintenance and avoid costly repairs later on down the road. While that represents a valuable benefit by itself, this same information can help you maintain vehicle safety, reducing the risk of on-road incidents caused by poorly maintained vehicles.

The less aware you are of the condition of your vehicles and equipment, the more likely you are to face a costly situation where damage and injury occur due to an accident or breakdown. With GPS tracking, you can keep your vehicles in exceptional operating condition, greatly reducing the chances of having to file insurance claims because a driver was injured behind the wheel of a poorly maintained vehicle. Furthermore, regular maintenance will increase the life of your fleet, leading to less money spent on insurance due to the fact that it costs less to insure an older vehicle than a brand new one.

GPS tracking can help protect you and your drivers from false accusations

For as long as you operate a vehicle or equipment fleet, accidents will happen. No matter how safe your drivers may be or how well your vehicles are maintained, unfortunate events will occur. For most fleet managers, the real problem arises when one of your drivers is involved in an accident and is deemed “at fault,” even if little evidence exists to support that conclusion.

How can you protect your drivers and your company from being held unjustly liable for an event that may have been the fault of another? You guessed it – Synovia Solutions GPS tracking. You’ll be able to view where a specific vehicle was and when, how fast it was traveling and more, so you’ll have the evidence needed to defend against unfounded determinations.

For example, Auto-Owners Insurance offers fleet clients an immediate discount as long as:

1.      The client’s policy is classified as a “Fleet Policy”

2.      The client has five or more vehicles on the policy

3.      The client’s GPS system has the ability to send, receive, store and forward tracked data

4.      The client’s GPS system can locate vehicles via the web or phone

5.      The client’s GPS system tracks speeding, harsh breaking, harsh steering and acceleration

6.      The client’s GPS system shows contract documents or provides a screenshot to them

7.      The client has two-thirds of their fleet connected to a GPS system

 

Synovia Solutions GPS tracking system meets all of the requirements outlined above. The best part? You can get started using Synovia Solutions GPS technology with no upfront costs thanks to Synsurance™.

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