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News

Wi-Fi internet access and GPS tracking for school transport

Icomera : 14 January, 2009  (Application Story)
The Green Bus school transport company takes delivery of Moovbox technology from Icomera for on-board student Wi-Fi access and GPS vehicle tracking whilst enabling future upgrades for IP-CCTV and telematics
Wi-Fi internet access and GPS tracking for school transport
Icomera and The Green Bus, a UK school transport company, have announced the deployment of free Internet access for students and real-time vehicle tracking on twenty-three routes served by the Birmingham-based school transport operator. The vehicles utilise Icomera's award-winning Moovbox M Series mobile broadband gateway that provides Wi-Fi connectivity on the move with actual download speeds in excess of two megabits per second. The Green Bus vehicles also make use of the Moovbox for GPS-based location, allowing parents to track a bus's progress in real-time from any web browser. The Green Bus was established in 2005 by a former teacher and now operates environment-friendly bus services for schools throughout the West Midlands. The company's eye-catching double-decker buses carry over 1,400 children to and from school each day - replacing an estimated two thousand car journeys in the process - with routes designed to travel as close as possible to students' homes and removing the need for passengers to change buses en route.

'We want to make the experience of travelling with us a positive one for the new generation of tech-savvy school children,' said Ian Mack, Managing Director at The Green Bus. 'With an increasing number of mobile phones and handhelds supporting Wi-Fi, our investment in Icomera's Moovbox enables students to check email, surf the web, and play peer-to-peer games on devices like the Sony PSP and Nintendo DS - all free of charge. More importantly, the built-in GPS functionality of the Moovbox means we can see where our buses are at any time; this feature is being made available on our web site where parents and school staff can securely log in and follow the progress of any particular bus is during its journey via a familiar Google Maps display.'

The Wi-Fi service, which is free to all bus pass holders, has been popular with students since its launch late last year with over 50% of users spending more than 20 minutes online, and 25% using the service more than five times. Research has shown that students prefer to travel in the social atmosphere of bus rather than by car, while for parents The Green Bus is more convenient, cost-effective and reduces peak-time congestion outside schools.

'Across our Moovbox deployments worldwide Wi-Fi usage by students is the next biggest demographic after business travellers,' said Dave Palmer, Senior Vice President of Worldwide Sales at Icomera. 'The Green Bus's commitment to providing Wi-Fi access to its school-age passengers while making use of the GPS capability for schedule adherence and parent reassurance sets a new standard for other school bus service providers to follow.'

The Moovbox mobile gateway is a rugged Wi-Fi access point and cellular router, offering multiple wide area network (WAN) radios for automatic failover between carriers, and featuring built-in GPS for real-time positioning. Moovbox products also offer secure Ethernet for IP-CCTV, DVR and telematics equipment with remote in-bound access for device control, and supports plug-and-play upgradability to future technologies such as WiMAX and LTE. The multi-user MoovManage service provides real-time device tracking, schedule adherence monitoring, remote device configuration, and Wi-Fi portal and usage statistics.
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