On the heels of announcing its 23rd consecutive year of revenue growth, Transfinder CEO Antonio Civitella said the company’s strategy for the remainder of 2021 and beyond is to become an “all-in-one” solution for school district clients, which includes offering evolved school bus and student tracking apps to parents.
During an interview on Friday with School Transportation News, Civitella attributed much of last year’s success to Routefinder PLUS, which was launched last April to advance the company’s flagship browser-based routing system that uses artificial intelligence to build safe routes and bus stops. Attendees of STN’s Bus Technology Summit last September voted it the “Most Innovative Software.”
Civitella likened Routefinder PLUS to the center of a wheel, a metaphor for Transfinder’s core competencies. But as the company moves forward, additional spokes of the wheel will begin to fill in with advanced parent apps, communication solutions and GPS. He added that the ability of school districts to report the locations of their school buses and when students scan on and off the bus have become “a must.”
“We want to go past that standard,” he added.
This includes making a “significant” investment in parent apps to provide more real-time data and enabling two-way communication between parents and transportation departments. Last September, Transfinder launched its Stopfinder GeoAlerts to allow parents to see the real-time location of their children’s school buses as well as to communicate with their school districts. The app was provided to district customers for free, and Civitella added that it remains that way.
Meanwhile, on Friday Transfinder reported $18.9 million in revenue for the fiscal year 2020, a 13-percent increase over the previous year. The company also added 131 new school district clients, 94 percent of which opted for cloud-based hosting of their data. Overall, Civitella said over half of all clients have migrated to the cloud.
He added that the COVID-19 school closures and the need for transportation employees to work remotely drove the increased acceptance of cloud hosting.
“Keeping data private is much easier on a local area network, but staff needs external access,” he said. “2020 taught us a lesson. Do I want to manage that environment? Then it’s a math problem. Is it worth you doing it or another company doing it?”
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Civitella explained that Transfinder employs smart servers that not only keep client data secured and separate but also detect high demand usage and allocate different servers in different locations to provide customers with the data they need, when they need it. And Transfinder is able to keep costs down as a result.
“We are able to scale it and pass the savings to clients,” he shared. “We don’t need hundreds of servers running at all times.”
Civitella also said the company he founded 32 years ago is moving forward with plans announced last year to open a new innovation center in India, first announced last January, and he will share details about new company offerings at the STN EXPO Virtual on Monday.