We recently met with Bus & Coach Buyer to chat about how the Ticketer Smart Gateway is opening the way for a more integrated portal into a fleet’s performance.
You can read the feature below, or visit Bus & Coach Buyer for the full article.
Imagine the benefits if all on-bus technology was online and integrated. That is just what Ticketer is working towards with its new Smart Gateway solution, which forms a big part of its Connected Bus strategy.
Richard Blackburn-Hughes, Chief Commercial Officer at Ticketer, told B&CB: “A bus might have a ticket machine, destination displays, next stop announcement boards, CCTV and wifi; it may be using telematics to get data about how vehicles are being driven to improve driving style. What that’s led to is the proliferation of hardware on the bus, with each bit working independently of each other. Our Connected Bus strategy is about bringing that together. We are also looking to remove hardware from buses and allow some cost efficiencies for operators while letting them send data to different software solutions.”
“Once you’ve got technology talking to each other, you start to bring together insights you couldn’t previously unlock. That might be things like bringing in CCTV alongside ticketing information so you can see when drivers are issuing child tickets; are they selling to children or are there instances of fraud? Or maybe it’s about integrating telematics data around driving behaviour with an understanding of how many people are on the bus.”
“Once you’ve got technology talking to each other, you start to bring together insights you couldn’t previously unlock.”
Richard Blackburn-Hughes, Chief Commercial Officer
Ticketer’s Smart Gateway is the hub that sits in the middle of all of this integration. Richard said: “With our Smart Gateway, you can plug all onboard technology into one device and have a single SIM. It is available as 4G or 5G, depending on the operator’s needs.”
It is ITxPT certified, a standard commonly used in mainland Europe but according to Richard is growing in prevalence in UK. The standard allows different types of on-bus hardware to talk to one another in a ‘plug and play’ way.
It uses something called ‘dead reckoning’, which means when it loses GPS signal (such as in a tunnel), it uses odometer and the accelerometer to approximate the vehicle’s location. Richard said: “This will mean more accurate location data for passenger information.”
He continued: “With more local authorities putting in place Traffic Light Priority systems, then the vehicle location accuracy becomes increasingly important because it can tell the system the bus is approaching.”
The Smart Gateway is approximately the size of a Wi-Fi router and is most commonly mounted in a compartment above the driver’s cab. It is wired in with other on-bus equipment and plugs into the CAN FMS, the bus’ internal computer which enables it to pick up on the vehicle ID number and read other telematic data. That should eliminate drivers accidentally selecting the wrong vehicle when logging into the system at the start of a shift, avoiding issues where duplicates show up on passenger information or reports of faults on the wrong vehicle. Richard said: “Some operators have told us 10-20% of drivers incorrectly logged in. This eliminates all of that.”
The Smart Gateway can be switched to another vehicle relatively easily, Richard says. On adding further functionalities to the hub, he said: “It depends on the provider that you’re connecting with. If someone supports ITxPT, then it’s pretty much plug and play. If they don’t, then we’re working on direct integrations with all the big suppliers.”
more to come
An upcoming feature of the Smart Gateway is a function allowing users to check, through a single portal, that all of the vehicle’s equipment is working correctly. Richard said: “Having this all in one place gives better visibility.”
Ticketer will soon roll out what it calls its Insights Hub, a data and reporting suite consisting of a series of dashboards designed to give quick access to intelligence on fleet statistics, such as passenger boarding, Tap On / Tap Off count and more.
The next generation of Ticketer’s new Electronic Ticket Machine (ETM) is due out in the autumn, seeing an upgrade to tablet-based ETMs.
The Smart Gateway is due to play a big part in Ticketer’s offering into the future. Richard said: “What this should mean is operators get greater choice. If they want to add new software, then it’s a click of a button to activate it. It should see new functionality in the Ticketer offering and partners interacting with us. That’s the key long-term goal.”