CalAmp’s (CAMP.Q) school-bus application allows for another surveillance option for parents


It can’t be easy being a kid today. Technology is advancing at such a rate that soon enough everything your kid does will be captured via IoT sensors, collated by artificial intelligence, and filtered back to your smartphone or tablet so you can keep surveillance on them in real-time. The downside is that this technology effectively ruins a lot of the wonder of childhood, because now parents can curate every experience their child has instead of allowing them to explore and be kids.

But there is some serious upside to this new spree of surveillance. The intended purpose of—let’s call it what it is—parental-surveillance technology is that children can theoretically be kept safer from external threats, both internal as in their own behaviour and external from strangers and the environment.

Let’s consider Here Comes The Bus, a real-time school bus notification service offered by CalAmp (CAMP.Q) and its subsidiary Synovia Solutions, which is already in operation in the United States and soon will be rolling out to more locations across the U.S. and Canada soon.

The software delivers real-time school bus location notification alerts through both email and push alerts to make catching the bus safer and more convenient. It also notifies parents if their kid misses the bus and doesn’t get off the bus at the right stop. The application was originally developed by Synovia, and honoured with a 2020 Global Mobile Award and 2019 IoT Excellence Award, and now exceeds two million registered users.

“We are excited about our international growth opportunities in Canada to expand our brand and services as our SaaS offerings address universal challenges faced by transportation departments serving students across North America. We continue to invest in our broad portfolio of solutions focused on improved safety and cost efficiency for the more than 100,000 school buses we serve,” said Michael Burdiek, CEO of CalAmp.

Headquartered in Irvine, California, CalAmp came on the markets in 1983 and has 20 million products installed and over 1.3 million software and service subscribers worldwide. Essentially, they tout themselves as a global technology solutions pioneer working to transform the mobile connected economy, and if we consider that their flagship technology LoJack shows up commonly in any service vehicle that the government or a company wants to keep an eye on, it’s probably not the standard corporate exaggeration.

Their software and subscription-based services, scalable cloud platforms and intelligent devices collect and analyze data from mobile assets and their contents. They call this The New How, and it optimizes mobile asset utilization, facilitates efficient decision making and improves road safety.

The next stop for Here Comes The Bus is for families with students attending the Omaha Public School in Nebraska. The district has vehicles using the software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform. Omaha Public Schools is among the largest in Nebraska with more than 52,000 students attending 62 elementary schools, 12 middle schools and seven high schools.

Now Synovia is in negotiations with several school districts in Canada to increase its North American market penetration.

“We recognize helping parents and students is the most valued feature of our technology and we’re hopeful 2020 will see even greater expansion into the Canadian market,” Burdiek said.

Because nothing says ‘I trust you’ to a child like remotely monitoring everything your child does.

—Joseph Morton

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