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“Everyone wants everything to work together,” he said.


“If a school district [was] to look at the trade-off between security, reliability and scalability versus some of the costs associated with that, it’s a very fair investment that the districts are making.” Privacy is another driving factor. “It’s a huge issue


right now in the industry,” Thien said, adding that the challenge is a balance between securing the needed data with the interoperability required. Onboard is designed to address that. It’s important to build a cohesive RFP when seeking technology vendors, Singh advised. “Rather than a piecemeal approach to solve one


problem and just do GPS, for example, transportation de- partments should look at the totality of their needs and goals and build an RFP that provides the comprehensive solution,” he added. “If they don’t know how to write the RFP, they should consult the vendors.” Information-gathering can include vendor demos,


attending trade shows, talking with peers, and partici- pating in webinars, Singh noted. “Once they put a comprehensive RFP out, that forces


the vendors to work together because in order for them to respond to that RFP, the ownership falls on them that the solution they are providing is going to work collec- tively or not,” he said Despite some interoperability challenges that exist


with student transportation technology, Chesapeake’s Benson said he can’t imagine his operations without it. “Prior to starting to use Zonar five years ago … we had no GPS on our buses,” he relayed. “We had no way of knowing where our buses were located. When Zonar had to do an update, it went down for 24 hours. We were sur- viving without that technology, but it was amazing how quickly once we had the technology, [that] we felt like we were blinded and crippled because it wasn’t available for 24 hours. It makes a huge difference.” ●


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