operate on 4G. In fact, many have been using 4G for sev- eral years now. For those who don’t use 4G now, more often times than not their equipment is already capable of being utilized for 4G. The substantial change will be when 5G is available.

Much of the same equipment is also ready for 5G use, which will provide addtional opportunities and capabil- ities. However, new service plans may be required for those to use 5G technology. Abhishek Garg is the chief technology officer and

co-founder of Zūm in Redwood City, California. Zūm is a mobile app that enables parents to schedule rides for their kids from fully vetted drivers. It also partners with school districts to support its transportation needs. To date, the company has partnered with 150 school districts across the country and transported more than 500,000 students. “At Zūm, our end-to-end, cloud-based platform is core to our mission of modernizing student transportation and providing a service that’s purpose-built around the needs for kids and the expectations of their families,” said Garg. “Our tablets currently operate on 4G LTE and most in-vehicle devices of our partner operators will also

operate on 4G LTE.” However, Garg is excited about the prospect of 5G and

its availability. A new generation of tools and features will soon be upon the industry, for those who can afford to implement it, he said. “5G will absolutely be a game-changer for the indus-

try,” added Garg. “It brings an immense opportunity to transmit the data that’s currently sitting passively on in-vehicle devices (e.g., video recordings, on-board diagnostics) in real time and at a cheaper cost to servers. This real-time data can then be used to build the next generation of monitoring tools and product features to improve the end-user experience.” There’s still some time to wait before 5G is widely

available. But vendors and others who offer services to schools, as well as the schools, pupils, and staff, stand to benefit from the newfound capabilities that 5G offers. “While overall, the field is still a few years away

from deploying 5G capabilities across networks and in-vehicle devices, Zūm is keeping a keen eye on devel- opments in this domain and is committed to be at the forefront of adopting the latest technology to provide

18 School Transportation News • JULY 2021

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