Beacon Triggered Rail Passenger Interfaces Entering Service

We previously mentioned EAO’s rail passenger interface. Railstaff has further news that the UK’s South Western Railway will include the system in refurbished Class 444 trains in November.

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.

Read about Beacons in Transportation

Rail Passenger Interface Using iBeacons

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”

Read about Beacons in Transportation

Beacons in Metro Stations

There’s a new article today at Global Rail News on how MTR, who run the Hong Kong metro, is trialling Bluetooth beacon navigation at Admiralty Station.

“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.”

The pilot is part of MTR’s Rail Gen 2.0 programme.

Beacons, IoT and Transport Monitoring

Beacons are often mentioned as being IoT devices. IoT devices tend to measure and monitor performance and store data in some Big Data way. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Singapore MIT Alliance for Research and Technology and Technical University of Denmark have a paper on Combining Smartphone and iBeacon Technologies in a Transit Quality Survey.

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.