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Addressing the need, defining the standard

KeTech first installed their unique UIS a Porterbrook’s innovation hub at Rail Live. The installation began at Rail Live back in June 2019 and will continue to be available for demonstrations until the end of 2020. The most common concerns surrounding customers’ needs centre around customer experience, operational efficiency and ensuring safe and secure travel for staff and passengers – particularly during cases of major incidents.

Customer experience can be compromised by uncontrollable factors which, in the past, has made ensuring satisfaction seem unmanageable. However, we know now that 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, and we know that when passengers feel that their needs, and their comfort is being fairly considered, it promotes a sense of loyalty to the service provider.

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 an incident on the train puts the toilet in coach B out of order, this information could be relayed to the CIS screens at the next station, encouraging passengers to board a different coach or use the station facilities before boarding.

If an incident meant that the train arrives at the next platform with the carriages in reverse order, only a dynamic, intelligent system would maintain efficiency and order by informing customers waiting to board. Without such communication, confusion could take hold and cause a delay in departure which could 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. There have been problems which cause passengers to become unsettled and these incidents, no matter how rare, must be prepared for.

With each different priority there is a common thread – communicating 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.

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 in their ability to intelligently use a multitude of data feeds to provide reliable, up-to-date and contextually aware information. They are also unique in their ability to dynamically update screens and PA systems as and when changes occur on both wayside and train-borne systems within seconds of a change. KeTech is in a unique position in that it has 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 can include toilet availability, arrival times, next destination, seat occupancy refreshment services, weather at destination etc.. Combine these sources. Create a method for managing and distributing the data and you have KeTech’s Universal Information System. 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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