5-Second Updates = Realtime

21 June, 2019 |

How Often Does Your GPS Tracker Call Home?
(Hint: Probably not as often as it should)

Ladies and gentlemen, start your egg timers. This blog post should take you about 30 seconds to read, and the bus has just started moving.

In the world of GPS tracking, it used to be enough (and a minor miracle!) just to know where your vehicles were, say every few minutes. In the last few years, newer systems lowered the bar to 30 seconds, which is standard for many GPS offerings.

So here’s the thing: A lot happens in 30 seconds, but it depends on what you are watching. Watching grass grow or paint dry? You could probably get up, make a cup of coffee, come back, and no harm done.

[BusWhere has just updated]

Even if you’re watching a fleet vehicle, say an 18-wheeler going cross-country, you could probably go dark for 30 seconds or even one or two minutes. After all, what do you want to know? If the vehicle disappears, or if the driver doesn’t check in, where is your asset located? Is it at a rest stop? Pulled over the side of the road?

[BusWhere has just updated]

But if you’re tracking a school bus carrying children in real time, there’s a whole lot that happens in thirty seconds. Thirty second checks are snapshots that tell you that the pitcher is winding up and then lets you glimpse the batter as he rounds third base.

[BusWhere has just updated]

Back to our school bus. The bus goes off-route a block early and heads toward the first stop. It slows down, arrives at the stop, opens the door, lets 2 kids on, closes the door, and drives off. Total time elapsed: 12 seconds.

[BusWhere has just updated twice]

Then the bus turned onto a side street and sped up to 45mph in a 25mph zone. Swerving around a pedestrian who was just crossing the street to visit a neighbor for breakfast, the driver realized he was way over and slowed back down to a respectable 24mph.

[BusWhere has just updated]

AND stop your stopwatch for the very first 30-second update. So luckily you know where your bus is. But what did you miss?

* Turning one block early that could impact the direction that parents expect the bus from
* An entire stop that you have no record of whether the bus got there at all, let alone how long it was stopped for
* A security incident of rapid acceleration, speed limit violation, a swerve, and rapid braking

If you were to draw a line from Point A to Point B, for 30 second updates that is a single straight line, cutting through houses, blocks, showing a bus driving as the crow flies. With 5-second updates you see a line that hugs the street, turns at corners, and reflects how the bus drove. Parents and administrators watching will see the bus moving smoothly, as if they were watching from overhead.

BusWhere provides six times the information that a 30-second update provides. This also takes six times the cellular data — imagine a mobile plan that gives you 2 GB/month vs one that gives you 12 GB/month. We update more often because both administrators and parents need this information to make decisions in real-time and assessments after the fact.

Real-time updates are part of BusWhere’s ongoing commitment to quality and the best possible user experience for parents and administrators. For more information on our industry-leading 5-second updates and how it can make a difference for your school, district, or organization, you can reach us at info@buswhere.com.

in Feature Updates, Industry