Tour passengers discover more with infotainment

Grayline Iceland Pasenger Infotainment
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TOUR PASSENGERS DISCOVER MORE WITH INFOTAINMENT

LABS CASE STUDY

Project Overview

Grayline Iceland, the leading tour operator in Iceland, wanted to add more value and give passengers more insight to Iceland during their bus tours.

They approached Mobile Onboard and their LABs team to provide a passenger infotainment solution that allowed them to automatically play their tour videos on buses at key locations with GPS triggering.

Solution

The solution started with the Beam bw280, our flagship on-bus Wi-Fi system which comes with the BeamTV passenger infotainment media server and SSD (Solid State Drive) storage built-in. It can stream media direct to passengers’ mobile devices and connect via HDMI to coaches’ built-in entertainment systems.

Automatic tour video playback trigger by GPS
Grayline Iceland wanted to add much more context to key locations on their tours. Utilising BeamOS, the Beam bw280’s open operating system and built-in GPS capabilities, Grayline Iceland produced and installed their own application, enabling the automatic playing of location specific videos.  as their buses progress along their routes adding much more context to key locations on their tours.

Remote content distribution management
Managing the content across their fleet of 90 buses was a key consideration for Grayline Iceland. With so much tour video content to manage and with so many buses this needed to be done from their office in a quick and efficient way. Using the Beam CDS (Content Distribution Service) our LABs team worked with Grayline Iceland to configure it to their specific requirements, allowing them to easily manage all their tour video content remotely across their whole fleet. With the Beam Content Distribution Service they have the flexibility to choose which vehicles have what video content, allowing them to add, remove and update by individual bus, groups of buses or across the whole fleet.

Client

Key Activities

Passenger Infotainment
On-bus Wi-Fi
Content Management
Systems Monitoring
GPS Tracking

Solution Products

Multiscreen Passenger Infotainment

Passenger infotainment with BeamTV Duo entertains music A-listers
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MULTISCREEN PASSENGER INFOTAINMENT

LABS CASE STUDY

Project Overview

Premium sleeper bus company Phoenix Bussing provide high-end touring buses for the music industry’s A-listers. Expectations are high when it comes to providing the best tour buses for touring artists and their crew.

With custom interiors built to a high-quality, stylish modern design, Phoenix Bussing wanted a new passenger infotainment system to complete a truly comfortable environment for their VIP passengers.

Recognising the flexibility of our BeamTV platform Phoenix bussing chose it as the system they wanted to install on their fleet of sleeper buses. They had specific requirements on how passengers would access the infotainment and how the BeamTV content needed to be managed across their fleet.

Solution

The solution started with the Beam bw280, our flagship on-bus Wi-Fi system which comes with BeamTV passenger infotainment built-in. It can stream media direct to passengers’ mobile devices and connect via HDMI to coaches’ built-in entertainment systems. However Phoenix Bussing wanted BeamTV to allow passengers to play different content on TVs located in both the downstairs and upstairs lounges simultaneously. This isn’t something the Beam bw280 with BeamTV could do off-the-shelf.

Multiscreen access with the BeamTV Duo
While working on the solution the LABS team developed a new product to deliver the required multiscreen functionality. Called the BeamTV Duo it is a small network connected box that allows remote control access to BeamTV on any TV or screen it is connected to via HDMI.

Centralised Content Management
Phoenix Bussing wanted a way of easily managing content on BeamTV across their entire fleet of 31 sleeper buses from one central point at their headquarters. Using the Beam bw280’s Wi-Fi capabilities the LABS team modified its networking configuration to connect to a NAS (Network-attached storage) drive installed on each bus and a dedicated private Wi-Fi channel was added to the Beam bw280. A mesh Wi-Fi network was then installed to the Phoenix Bussing yard which the Beam bw280 on each bus automatically connects to when it arrives back at the yard. At this point any updated content is uploaded to BeamTV over the yard Wi-Fi network from a central master NAS drive.

Client

Key Activities

Passenger Infotainment
On-bus Wi-Fi
System Networking
Product Development
Yard Wi-Fi Infrastructure

Solution Products

Prototype wristband for visually impaired passengers

ViBus wristband concept design
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PROTOTYPE WRISTBAND FOR VISUALLY IMPARED PASSENGERS

LABS CASE STUDY

Project Overview

Run by the Transport Systems Catapult on behalf of the Department for Transport, the ‘All Aboard’ competition invited students aged 14-18 to come up with innovative solutions to make buses more accessible for people with visual or hearing impairments.

The winning entry, called ViBus, involves Bluetooth-enabled wristbands which vibrate when a passenger approaches his or her stop. The Mobile Onboard LABS team were awarded the tender to develop the winning wristband concept into a fully functional, proof-of-concept prototype that could be tested with visually impaired volunteers.

The Solution

The solution required the LABS team to create three key systems that needed to be integrated for ViBus to work, the wristband, the driver application and the Vibus hub that would communicate with both the wristband and the driver application using Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and GPS.

The Wristband
Using a compact programmable Bluetooth module, haptic (vibrating) motor and a haptic motor controller we had small enough electronics that could be worn on a wrist. We then designed and manufactured a silicon wristband that could house the electronics. It was important that the wristband was quick and easy to put on, was splash resistant and could withstand any damage when dropped. The vibration needed to be easily felt when worn and this was achieved through a combination of a suitable housing for the haptic motor in the wristband and setting the level of vibration through the haptic motor controller.

The Driver Application
When a passenger puts on a wristband it needs to be programmed with the passenger’s destination bus stop, this would be done by the bus driver using the Driver Application. Built to run on a low-cost tablet it was mounted by the bus ticket machine. Using a clear and simple UI it was designed to make programming the wristband quick and easy for the bus driver. The Driver Application communicated with the ViBus hub via Wi-Fi, then the ViBus hub communicated with the wristband via Bluetooth to program it.

The ViBus Hub
Integrated within our Beam bw130 bus Wi-Fi system, the ViBus hub uses the bw130’s Wi-Fi capabilities to communicate with the Driver Application. It has its own Bluetooth controller module for communication with the wristband and a GPS module for real-time location data. The ViBus hub facilitates communication between the Driver Application and the wristband while its GPS module enables it to trigger the vibrating alerts in the wristband at the right point prior to a passenger’s destination bus stop.

Project Conclusion

The final prototype ViBus wristbands were trialed on a live bus environment with visually impaired volunteers. The trial was designed to test the viability and accuracy of the ViBus prototype on a bus route with test scenarios of visually impaired passengers getting on and off the route at various points. They would have to rely wholly on the wristbands alerting them when to get off.

The consensus on the ViBus system from both the trial bus driver and the volunteer passengers was positive despite the accuracy of the alerts proving inconsistent at different stages of the route. After some adjustments to the GPS algorithm and the ViBus hub’s Bluetooth controller firmware we were able to achieve a 98% accuracy on a second trial.

Client

Key Activities

Wearable wristband prototyping
Application development
Systems integration
GPS, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
Proof-of-concept testing

Solution Products

Beam bw130 bus Wi-Fi system
Bluetooth wrisband prototype

Smart ticketing for luxury commuter service

The Kings Ferry coaches fitted with mTicketr
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SMART TICKETING FOR LUXURY COMMUTER SERVICE

LABS CASE STUDY

Project Overview

The Kings Ferry wanted to move their commuter services towards a cashless system with the adoption of mobile ticketing and E-ticketing while using rapid barcode validation of mobile tickets on-board their vehicles. To help them improve their services they wanted to be able to collect and analyze the data collected from on-board their fleet of commuter coaches.

The Solution

The Kings Ferry’s smart ticketing solution required a combination of a mobile ticketing app, mobile ticket validation, real-time reporting and analytics, ticket management and on-bus data collection. All of which would be powered by our My Mobile Tickets platform.

Mobile Ticketing
A dedicated mobile ticketing application was set up for The Kings Ferry that enabled their customers to buy all their current commuter tickets direct on their mobile devices. Customers also have the option to buy their tickets online and print them out as E-tickets. Both the mobile tickets and E-tickets feature an encrypted QR code for validation when boarding a commuter service.

Ticket Validation
All of the Kings Ferry commuter services have been fitted with our mTicketr smart ETMs featuring sub-second barcode scanners for fast ticket validation as passengers board. The mTicketr gives the driver instant visual notification on every scanned ticket’s validity.

Real-time Reporting and Ticket Management
Real-time reporting and ticket management is provided by Kiosk, our web-based reporting system, that can be accessed anywhere and at any time. With Kiosk the Kings Ferry can access real-time data on their ticket sales, customer ticketing accounts and detailed custom reporting from on-board their commuter services including passenger counting.

Depot Wi-Fi Infrastructure
The Kings Ferry required any data that hadn’t been sent from the smart ETMs is collected from the fleet as they arrive back at their depot. After carrying out an on-site survey the LABS team installed a mesh Wi-Fi network. Each mTicketr smart ETM automatically connects to the depot Wi-Fi network when it arrives back at the depot, downloading any remaining data. Any updates to the mTicketrs, such as new route details, are also uploaded automatically.

Client

The Kings Ferry
part of National Express Group

Key Activities

Mobile ticketing
Smart ETMS
Handheld ticket validation
Depot Wi-Fi infrastructure

Solution Products