School Buses in a Parking Lot in Tinley Park, IL
Safety on the Bus
Every weekday, over 26 million children step on and off the big yellow school bus to and from school. For school institutions and parents, safety is a top priority, and therefore schools are investing in new technology to protect students on the bus. Two popular features are security cameras and vehicle GPS trackers. The Kirby School District decided to go with the Gridless solution to live stream Verkada cameras and GPS trackers via the LTE communication kit, the Gridless Sentry. The school decided to implement this technology because it’s scalable, cost effective, and it allows the school to monitor and respond to any safety concern in real time.
Over the past year, The Kirby School in Orland Township, IL, decided to update their aging camera infrastructure to cloud-based security cameras with Verkada. According to IT Network Specialist Cody Cosentino, this solution was the best fit because of its ability to scale and expand with the growing needs of the school. Unlike most enterprise security systems, Verkada cameras are cloud-based and do not require a DVR network, making them a more flexible and scalable solution. With over 100 cameras on the property, the Verkada solution allowed the Kirby School to switch out the cameras over time and access new locations without any infrastructure limitations, including remote locations like the school buses. All the cameras are viewable through a single, centralized platform, making implementation and scalability easy.
Cody Cosentino discussing the school’s plan to roll out the Gridless and Verkada camera solution across their fleet of school buses
A camera gives an overview of activity on the bus
Addressing Incidents in Real Time
The Gridless Sentry/Verkada camera solution allows the school to replace their current bus cameras with cloud-based cameras in order to view and respond to a potential emergency or incident in real time. According to Cosentino, in order to access the footage on the previous camera system, the IT department had to physically remove the cameras on each bus and then spend hours searching through the film to find a certain incident. This process is eliminated with the Gridless Sentry. The Gridless Sentry is a compact, weatherized communication box that live streams the cameras footage via its built-in LTE modem and powers the cameras via a wired connection to the bus’s electrical system. The Sentry solution is compact enough to fit into the bus’s overhead compartment and can withstand the elements, including the cold winters, humid summers, and vibrations of the bus.
Cost-Effective and Cost-Saving
The Gridless Sentry and Verkada solution was also chosen, according to Cosentino, because it was cost-effective and cost-saving. Not only was it more affordable than most enterprise security solutions, but the software and analytics are constantly improving with multiple updates each year included in the cameras’ yearly license.
Live video feeds and a GPS tracking also reduce the bus fleet’s insurance premium costs, which have increased significantly over the past ten years (Heavy Duty Trucking Staff, 2020). This can mean thousands of dollars in savings for the school. Monitoring equipment has been shown to help keep drivers accountable for following safety procedures, staying on route, and can assist in collecting data for insurance claims/incident reports.
The Gridless Sentry being installed into a bus
A two-camera setup: one camera monitors people entering / exiting the bus, and a second camera gives an overview of bus activity
Bus Location via GPS Tracking
Carly Richardson, Kirby’s Transportation Coordinator, is most excited for the GPS tracker, which is also powered and connected via the Gridless Sentry. As soon as the bus is turned on , the Sentry will transmit the location data to the school’s database so they can locate every single bus in real time. This is especially important when an incident occurs; the school administrators can immediately locate the bus and arrive on the scene.
Carly Richardson discussing GPS tracking of their buses with the Gridless Sentry
A rooftop mounted antenna, for streaming the camera feed and reporting GPS location