NewsSchool BusRide Field Test: Real-Time Communications with GPSLockbox and FirstNet

January 8, 2021

A Novel Solution with GPSLock Box

With the responsibility of moving more than 24,000 students each day in Maryland, safe and reliable communication is of paramount concern to transportation officials at Carroll County Public Schools. This year, despite COVID-19, the district’s transportation department began a major initiative to upgrade its communications system – which previously relied on drivers using traditional consumer cell phones. “The system we were using previously was just not effective – in the case of an emergency, a driver would need to pull over to answer a cell call,” said Anita Stubenrauch, supervisor of operational performance at Carroll County Public Schools. “It delayed emergency management and weatherresponse, and really presented a problem if we needed to locate a child. The lack of real-time vehicle location and driver communications really frustrated our operations.”

GPSLockbox and FirstNet outfitted Carroll County’s 311 buses with AT&T Enhanced Push-to-Talk (ePTT), allowing for secure, real-time group communication over the nationwide 4G network, as well as Sonim XP5s ruggedized feature phones for contractors and Sonim XP8 ruggedized Android phones for transportation supervisors. The Sonim XP5s, for onboard use, were installed on mounting kits provided by GPSLockbox. The GPSLockbox system secures the Sonim device, allowing for convenient locking and unlocking and handsfree operation. The mounting system’s built-in amplifier and speaker allows for cleaner communications than a cell phone, and the attached palm microphone is ergonomically very similar to a traditional driver’s mic.

Read the entire article published in School BusRide magazine’s inaugural issue.