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Addressing the need, defining the standard UIS

collaboration UIS

KeTech first installed their unique Universal Information System (UIS) at Porterbrook’s innovation hub at Rail Live back in June 2019 and it will continue to be available for demonstrations until the end of 2020. Concerns surrounding customers’ needs centre around experience, operational efficiency and ensuring safe travel – particularly during cases of major incidents.

Customer experience can suffer from factors beyond our control which can make ensuring satisfaction seem unmanageable. However, the adequate provision of accurate information can not only be the icing on the cake of a smooth journey, but can also alleviate some of the pressures and complications of an otherwise difficult journey.

Customer service/experience managers are increasingly finding that facilities information can add to journey satisfaction for passengers. For some, facilities information (e.g. lift out of service, toilets only available in coach B etc) is a vital aspect of accessibility. for others it is a welcome added convenience, for all it is a way to improve the journey experience. What’s more, when passengers feel their needs are being considered it promotes a sense of loyalty to the service provider.

Balancing efficiency with expectation

Many fleet managers see their primary focus as being operational efficiency; this can have an impact of financial efficiency as well as customer satisfaction. Operational efficiency is more than planning and scheduling, it’s about managing unplanned occurrences. If communication between stations and moving fleets was improved it would help TOC’s handle unexpected events. For example, if the toilet in coach B is out-of-order, this could be relayed to the station CIS screens. With this information, passengers can choose to board a different coach or use the station facilities before boarding.

If, for some reason, a train arrives at the station with the carriages in reverse order, only a dynamic, intelligent system would convey this to passengers waiting to board. Without such communication, confusion could take hold and cause a delay in departure. This is how simple events can have a knock-on effect to the rest of the schedule. Major incidents on the rail network are rare, but can be significant both in terms of safety and the reputation of the TOC. When such incidents occur, it is vital for the safety of the staff and passengers that lines of communication remain open and reliable information is relayed. There have been incidents which have seen passengers leave a train onto live tracks! Such incidents pose a threat to safety and must be avoided where possible. These incidents, no matter how rare, must be prepared for.

UIS for passengers and staff

With each different priority there is a common thread – delivering information accurately, reliably and in real-time would improve customer experience. It would improve operational efficiency and it would ensure safer travel for staff and passengers.

So how can information be shared across systems when PIS is almost always entirely isolated from CIS? An information system on a train might be designed, built, installed, and managed by one company and the system at the stations might be designed, built, installed and managed by another, with no established interface to link the two. This is where the KeTech Universal Information System (UIS) steps in.

Consistency key

KeTech has spent years pioneering and mastering real-time technology to ensure they are delivering truly accurate travel information both to PIS and CIS. Their unique systems are industry leading. Intelligently designed to use a multitude of data feeds to provide reliable, up-to-date and contextually aware information. They are also exceptional in their ability to update screens and PA systems on both train and platform within seconds. KeTech has unique access to a number of data sources which, when harnessed appropriately, are the basis for enhanced information. The natural next step was to establish a link between way-side and on-board systems to ensure consistency of information.

On-board information feeds and way-side systems can include toilet availability, arrival times, next destination, seat occupancy, refreshment services, weather etc.. Combine these sources. Create a method for managing and distributing the data and you have KeTech’s UIS. One system to combine all available data and centrally manage both CIS and PIS; providing truly real-time information across all outlets with enhanced, dynamic updates delivered to all staff and passengers throughout their journey. Designed to improve passenger experience, boost operational efficiency and support a safer journey for all.

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