Preshus Cargo is a startup software company based in Northwest Indiana specializing in transportation, their PATS system is a tracking and attendance solution designed for school buses and other forms of public transportation that require precise data taken from their routes they make. The solution is broken up in to two parts; an android application that is mounted on the bus itself that allows the driver or a monitor to use for attendance and navigation purposes and a web portal and database that is used to set up the routes and store the gathered data from the app.
The android application acts as an interactive check list of sorts with basic navigation and mapping service provided by Google Maps. The checklist gives a list of all the patrons at each stop, giving their name, ID number, and picture in each square “element” of the list. When the driver interacts with one of the elements, its background switches between two colors; red if the patron hasn’t been picked up or dropped off, or green if the patron has. Also if an emergency situation arises all the driver has do is press and hold the patron’s “element” and extra information pops up as well as and pertinent medical information, cutting down the amount of paperwork that has to be on the bus. The application is useful for new or substitute drivers that don’t know their route very well and what patrons are supposed to get on the bus at each stop. It helps makes sure that everyone is one the bus who is supposed to, and to make sure the bus makes each stop on time.
The data from the app is transferred to the hosted server is one of two ways, though a Wi-Fi dump or a constant 3G connection. The only difference between the two is 3G provides real time connection which allows for messaging in app. Once the data has been uploaded, it is sent to a database where the information is sorted. The web portal then takes that data and places it into uses able reports that can be sent off to the administration to be used for their need such a collecting Medicaid benefits for transporting certain patrons.
The PATS system is receiving a warm reception from the transportation departments of many school districts in Indiana due to its low cost and flexibility to be tailored to their individual needs. It is smaller school districts where it is receiving the most attention. Before the solution, to receive Medicaid Benefits, the district would have to tabulate by hand using sign in sheets and army of paper-pushers, how far each qualifying student traveled, where they traveled, and how long they traveled. With the new system the task becomes as easy as downloading a spreadsheet at the end of the school year or semester. This helps cut down on manpower, with is important with all the cuts that schools are facing in recent times.
In the end, the software that Preshus Cargo offers is becoming very popular with many school districts due to its low cost and ease of use. I find it amazing no one thought of this idea back when tablets were first hitting the market, which goes to show you how with the right environment and good planning, even the simplest idea can go on to be successful.
Disclaimer: I have to state that at the time of writing I was under the employ of Preshus Cargo.