The system created by EAO, uses iBeacon to automatically open train operators’ apps on the passengers’ smartphones. Passenger apps can provide tailored passenger information such as smart ticketing, trolley service requests and deliver targeted marketing messages.
The wireless charging works with an app that can signal the seat is occupied and prompt the user to open the app.
“Ticket inspectors can then be informed if the passenger has a ticket while passengers would be able to order food and drink to their seat if there’s an onboard catering service. There are also options to provide tailored passenger information.”
EAO is also working with Eversholt Rail to retrofit the system to Class 395 Javelin trains in use by Southeastern.
EAO AG, a company specialising in human machine interfaces, has a new train passenger interface that provides phone charging and information services.
The information services use iBeacon locating to allow train operating companies to provide added value services such as journey information, ticket validation and refreshments requests. The wireless USB phone charging fits onto seats and the iBeacon is detected in mobile apps.
“The iBeacon in each Passenger Interface also transmits a code to the passenger’s travel app, while the cloud translates the code into a carriage and seat number, making seat reservations easier to track and helping make passengers’ journeys more connected than ever”
“As well as helping customers navigate the station itself, one of the new features, “Fast Exit”, will tell passengers which train car and door number to board when they set off on their journey in order to be closest to the exit at their destination station.”
Their proof of concept shows how, what looks like a transport end-user survey, can be additionally used to track service data and monitor performance on transit trips.
The paper has a few insights into the use of beacons. They found that the RSSI and proximity accuracy were affected by the number of people in the surrounding environment such that it was best to place the beacons at high positions at bus stops. They also found they needed to ask users to manually enable Bluetooth on their phones.
They also consider problems that will be experienced if the proof of concept were to be scaled, in particular the dependency on having a wide set of beacon-equipped stops.
If the ultimate vision is to develop a platform for a city’s entire bus network, it may be impractical to install and maintain iBeacons at every bus stop.
There’s also mention of the need for more effective incentives to sustain participation, such as offering reward points or fare discounts.