At this very moment, you’re involved with the Internet of Things (IoT). To access this article, you sent data through the internet using an internet-connected smartphone, laptop, desktop computer or tablet. Shortly after, you received data in article form – a true IoT moment.
At the heart of the IoT’s ever-expanding web of interconnectivity are sensors, software and hardware. Each communicates incessantly with the other to supply usable data – data we leverage with our internet-connected devices to make our lives easier, safer, more efficient, and more entertaining.
In the transportation industry, this IoT intercommunication is more prevalent than ever. Engineering companies are advancing technology at incredible rates, integrating sensors, processors and the cloud in their dynamic solutions to gather and supply data pertinent to fleet safety and management. Users are then able to access and study the data, draw conclusions from the findings and apply them to their operations, all in a very timely manner from their internet-connected devices.
One solution reliant on the IoT is REI’s ARMOR™ Software Suite. A surveillance and fleet management solution, ARMOR integrates a group of data-collection modules focused on fleet details like onboard surveillance, vehicle health, driver performance and bus tracking. The modules employ sensors, software and hardware extensively to optimize fleet efficiency and safety and help administration make informed decisions about its operation.
Taylor Moore, REI® sales consultant and ARMOR specialist, adds, “This all-in-one solution engages several modules and data collected by numerous sensors, hardware, and automation to facilitate prompt notifications, reports and video downloads. Accessing and having that kind of information in a timely manner just speeds up everything to the point where administration can be more efficient and effective in dealing with safety, fleet health and operations management. It can positively impact every member of a district from upper administration to students in some way.”
How does each module utilize the IoT to help ARMOR users streamline fleet and surveillance management? Read on to learn more.
ARMOR customers’ launch into the IoT involves configuring and adjusting each of its modules to monitor and collect data and send notifications according to specific fleet needs. Users complete these steps in the Administration module using any internet-connected device. Once configured, each module intercommunicates with its respective sensors, hardware and processors and displays the collected data in easy-to-understand charts and graphs. Administration may then access the data with their devices, promptly review it, and apply it to identify, mitigate and prevent a multitude of safety and operational issues, such as stop-arm violations and vehicle health.
Moore explains, “The Administration module is a catalyst as far as notifications go. Notifications may be configured in this module and sent via text and e-mail to certain individuals. They may contain event details or daily reports about fleet diagnostics.”
Vehicle and surveillance equipment health is paramount to fleet performance and safety. ARMOR’s Diagnostics module sends daily status updates to users’ devices, enabling them to adjust and troubleshoot their DVRs remotely and respond proactively to potential vehicle issues. Each vehicle has sensors enabling it to exchange data with ARMOR. Users then access the data easily with their devices to identify problems and take corrective actions as needed.
Ultimately, operations save time and minimize operational costs using the notifications and generated data. Among the sensors employed: J1939 CAN-bus cable, event marker, cameras/radar, DVRs, GPS antenna, sensor harness and accelerometer.
Dashboard is a fleet overview comprised of sensor-supplied data highlighting active and inactive vehicles, bandwidth usage, event video downloads and mapped event hotspots. With internet-connected devices, administration may detect trends and potential hazards, track vehicles in real time to answer questions quickly, and monitor data usage and server storage space. Dashboard communicates with onboard sensors like the J1939 CAN-bus cable, event marker, GPS antenna and sensor harness to supply data for users.
In communicating with several sensors like GPS antennas, event markers, accelerometers and advanced driver assistance solutions like the Mobileye® Collision Avoidance System, ARMOR’s Insight module provides detailed, fleet overviews. Users have access to mapped, real-time tracking of fleet vehicles, data graphs and reports on inputs like vehicle speed and acceleration, and event locations and times. Administration is then able to respond to events quickly, assess driver performance, identify maintenance issues and request video downloads based on a plethora of triggers. The IoT facilitates constant communication with sensors to supply the necessary Insight data.
ARMOR AutoPilot relies on the IoT for automated video downloading to DVRs, easy video search and review and video sharing by email. The data exchange between AutoPilot and numerous sensors is complex and extensive. Each sensor plays a significant role in the detection, recording, storing and downloading of event videos.
Among the sensors and hardware involved in the collection of data and video: J1939 CAN-bus cables, event markers, radar, surveillance cameras, high-definition DVRs, GPS antennas, sensor harnesses and accelerometers. The data exchange between these sensors, AutoPilot and users’ devices is classic IoT. The exchange helps eliminate hard-drive pulling, trips to bus lots, video searches and the potential for human error, saving substantial time and effort by administration.
“If there is a physical altercation, accident or stop-arm violation, a driver presses the event marker and then it flags the video,” says Moore. “With ARMOR, it will automatically download the clip and the transportation department doesn’t have to go back and look for something because it’s flagging the video. That video is ready and available for administrators to watch.”
The intercommunication between HD cameras, event markers and Wi-Fi or cellular service powers the Live module. ARMOR Live amplifies safety by providing real-time audio and video surveillance capabilities from fleet vehicles. After receiving preconfigured event alerts from the Administration module, permitted users may simply log in to ARMOR Live from their devices to monitor events and respond. The IoT makes this action possible.
Moore continues, “It’s impacting drivers in a way that can make their lives easier. They feel more confident and supported by their upper administration. We hope they feel protected by the cameras. From a student standpoint, they’re also protected in the unfortunate situation of a he-said, she-said situation. The IoT is spreading and impacting every single person in some way or the other.”
ARMOR collects a massive amount of data and video for school bus operations, leading some transportation departments to engage ARMOR Cloud – an optional server management service offered by REI. With ARMOR Cloud service, customers’ ARMOR data and video is stored on a server managed by REI. Access is then possible with an internet-connected device. REI administers server updates, upgrades and scalability in the cloud, minimizing customers’ needs for infrastructure and IT resources. If there’s one word that encapsulates the IoT, it’s accessibility. ARMOR Cloud provides it quickly and conveniently.
An estimated 14.4 billion internet-connected devices are in use today. By 2025, the number is predicted to reach 27 billion. With that astronomical number communicating with other objects and devices in the IoT, the amount of generated data is truly mind-boggling. Insert advancing technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), advanced driver assistance and 360-degree camera systems into the mix and the resulting data seems almost immeasurable. Lucky for us, it’s distilled and presented in understandable charts and reports.
Moore concludes, “Artificial intelligence is more predictive versus reactive. We can take a more proactive approach to avoiding accidents and keep students safer by integrating software platforms, like AI and advanced driver assistance technologies, from our company partnerships. That is where the future is heading right now.”