Onboard connectivity is increasingly becoming an essential part of public transport. Reliable, seamless connectivity helps to avoid disruptions, choose a better route, find a vacant seat and work on the move, enabling a stress-free, productive journey.
At McLaren Applied we’re working to enable a networked future that both fulfils this need and goes beyond it – because richer onboard connectivity will unlock a myriad of possibilities for transport providers and authorities to enhance the customer experience.
We’ve drawn on our experience in trackside and mobile data networks to develop patented solutions specifically tailored to the requirements of train operators.
The move towards intelligent mobility
As the transport industry moves towards intelligent mobility, data platforms and associated analytics applications that form part of the intelligent transport offering, rely on complex communications platforms that consume different types of connectivity. Our background in real-time data management has enabled us to develop a solution that integrates the entire on-train ecosystem into one connectivity platform, with rich possibilities for augmenting the customer experience and improving operator efficiency.
Importantly, given the projected life of rolling stock, our solutions can be deployed at any stage of the asset’s life. We offer a high-performance virtualised connectivity platform that has the flexibility to transfer onto many different types of existing hardware – and which can be deployed quickly, generating an immediate uplift in customer satisfaction while minimising the time units are out of service.
We’re working with major international transport providers, each with a diverse range of physical assets, to install high-performance, budget-sensitive components with the longest possible service life. We understand that refit schedules can cause issues with rolling stock availability, so we aim to offer the best possible performance from day one and avoid the need for stock to go out of service for further invasive overhauls a few years down the line.
Patented connectivity solutions
Our patented connectivity solutions combine link control and load-balancing technologies to deliver high-performance aggregation, making the most efficient use of all the data links available. The system optimises the consumption of mobile data in a hierarchical way to achieve the best network performance while keeping the operational cost of the data within set expenditure limits. It can share the allowance dynamically between all the trains in service subject to demand – allowing more during peak times, for instance – balancing the user experience better between quiet trains and ones that are full.
Our connectivity solution goes beyond providing the onboard WiFi experience. One of the unique capabilities of our architecture is to allow the train to integrate into the operator’s IT network and enable true quality of service to be applied to all the components connected to it. CCTV, for instance, need not be transmitting continuously to the operations centre using a proportion of the train’s network capacity and therefore diminishing the customers’ bandwidth; this and other operational data can be managed dynamically.
This level of integration throws open an incredible set of opportunities when you combine it with our predictive analytics capacity. Being able to predict future occupancy levels based on historic data helps operators plan on-board services, such as the availability of food and reducing wastage. Meanwhile, real-time occupancy data helps passengers to make better-informed choices.
Imagine being able to know where every available seat is on your train before you arrive at the station and being able to reserve one in real-time – or change your mind and take a train you know will be less busy.
That’s not just a better customer experience, it’s a game-changer.