Adapting to virus, school districts using Schenectady firm's software to deliver meals
From The Times Union
By Larry Rulison
Tuesday, March 17, 2020
SCHENECTADY — One of the local software companies most impacted by the coronavirus outbreak is Transfinder, which makes bus-routing software for school districts around the country.
With school districts in the majority of states deciding to cancel school for the foreseeable future, Transfinder was in a tough position. Not only did it arrange for most of its employees to work from home in a short period of time, all of a sudden, it wasn't appropriate to make sales calls to potential or existing clients.
"These days, a call from the friendly salesperson is inappropriate," Antonio Civitella, Transfinder's CEO, said in an interview Tuesday. "We're not doing that. We have to be empathetic with our own clients and our prospects too."
Instead, Transfinder is offering up its Stopfinder Communication app and software package free to any district — client or not — that wants to use the app that lets districts communicate with parents on even non-transportation subjects like food and medical drop-off locations and schedules, homework and home school details, and district updates on the coronavirus outbreak.
"We're going to promote free software," Civitella said, saying that StopFinder is a great resource to help districts stem false information from social media. "They (parents) can communicate directly with the decision-makers."
Other school districts have already started to use Transfinder's bus routing software to help with delivering free meals to students who qualify, and Transfinder is holding a webinar to share best practices with districts that want to adapt the software as well. The districts that started using it for new virus-related tasks started doing it on their own.
"People step up in crisis," Civitella said. "That's what happens."