With an increasing number of people relying on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets at work and at home, apps and web-enabled tools that can be accessed through mobile devices are more handy than ever.
These tools can be particularly helpful to transportation directors, who often need to be offsite and have to compile and analyze data from several sources to make decisions. SBF spoke with some suppliers and rounded up a few tools that are designed to help store, share and analyze information, and provide on-the-go access.
Infofinder mobile shares vital info anytime, anywhere
The Infofinder mobile, a web-based solution from Transfinder, lets district personnel access and share data in emergencies, as well as information on student bus stops, routes, and locations, from their mobile device or computer.
Infofinder gives transportation directors the ability to immediately disseminate data to several different people, ranging from teachers to administrators. All district personnel listed in the app can look up student and route information, submit requests for field trips and run and view reports without having to install special software on their computers.
The app also prevents directors from having to take the time to piece together paperwork to react to emergencies such as accidents, violent incidents or fires.
In situations such as responding to a bus accident, Clinton Smith, product manager, Transfinder Corp., says directors have the data they need at their fingertips and can make it accessible to first responders, such as the police or fire department, school administrators, faculty members and students, with one e-mail right from the field with their mobile device.
Additionally, Smith says, Transfinder built security into the app so that whoever is managing Routefinder Pro, the software that enables the app, can allow different subsets of people to see different sets of information. If, for example, there was sensitive information in the staff module, they could turn that off to all other users.
Chuck Paquette, transportation director for Homer and Cortland central school districts in New York, uses an iPad3 to access Infofinder. He says the ability to access data from anywhere is especially helpful for him since he manages transportation for two districts.
Infofinder is available for iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and iPad mini.
MOTOTrax provides access to latest fleet info
MOTOTrax, AngelTrax’s mobile video surveillance manager, is designed to give transportation directors critical, real-time insight into fleet operations right from their smartphones or other mobile devices.
MOTOTrax is a web-based application that users can log in to for instant access to their fleet anywhere they have Internet connectivity — with no software or application installation necessary, JoBeth Fink, marketing director, AngelTrax, says.
The video surveillance manager provides features such as live tracking, live view, manual video clip downloading and instant system notifications. Details on event notifications and DVR health status updates are automatically reported to MOTOTrax from the onboard DVR, providing vital information on fleet operations.
The Clock In/Clock Out format provides employees and supervisors an efficient method of tracking hours worked.
The product is especially beneficial to transportation directors because they can see all the data for drivers and other staff in one place, Ted Thien, senior vice president and general manager, Versatrans, says.
“eTimekeeper allows directors to log in and see who’s punched in, [available] to drive, punched out on break or not punched in. It gives them a quick heads-up,” he explains.
Additionally, when workers forget to punch in or out, eTimekeeper allows the employer or employee to go back into the system and create an “honor punch” — a retroactive punch with a valid reason.
The app also lets drivers record their time under different job codes.
eTimekeeper is available on iPhone, Android and Samsung.
Ground Traffic Control tracks, analyzes fleet info
Features include showing the total fuel shot through the injectors on a per-trip, -driver or -vehicle basis; monitoring engine idle time per vehicle and operator; providing workday visibility of vehicle operator productivity; and automatic real-time notification of missed vehicle inspections.
Zonar’s onboard telematics platform transmits fault codes and data at the engine and sub-system levels, for example, notifying managers if a stop arm is up or down, or if there is a potential problem with the bus.
It also provides GPS information, to identify the real-time location with operating data including speed and hard braking events, Andrew Johnson, director of marketing, Zonar Systems, says.
Additionally, Ground Traffic Control makes data usable for a fleet manager or transportation director, displaying user-defined graphs and charts that allow directors to evaluate the health, performance and compliance status of their fleet, he adds.
A.R.M.O.R. Insight organizes fleet data in one place
Directors and fleet managers can use REI’s A.R.M.O.R. Insight, a web-enabled, server-based software solution, to get a 360-degree fleet data overview delivered to their desktops or mobile devices. Having access to the data can help directors reduce idle time, monitor speed and acceleration, and improve fleet safety.
As part of REI’s A.R.M.O.R. suite of software, which includes AutoPilot, Diagnostics and Stop Arm, Insight organizes data and adds more dashboard views so transportation directors have one location to view the various system statuses. The Executive Dashboard view provides a complete overview of all systems and inputs.
“The graphs and reports can be different user-friendly windows on the dashboard so that transportation directors obtain an overall view of how the system is operating,” Darwin Rubeck, national sales manager, REI, says.
“For instance, you have a geo fencing that says, ‘I don’t want this bus to go over 60 miles an hour,’” he explains. “The graph and report shows each time buses went over 60 mph. Insight locates on the map where that happened and uses it for monitoring driver behavior, fuel usage, oil pressure or alarms from the ‘check engine’ light.”