The current infotainment services provided on UK transport networks needs a shake-up. How is it possible in today’s world that passengers can’t get access to a service that has secure and stable Internet connection? As consumers, we’ve come to accept mediocrity on the UKs transport network and we accept that the onus is on us to provide our own entertainment when we travel. This is despite rising train fares, disruptions from infrastructure upgrades and strikes.
However, at Trolex|Aporta we believe that mediocrity should no longer be accepted as the norm. The technology exists today to make the rail and coach passenger experience more enjoyable and interactive. This can be achieved through providing a secure Wi-Fi intranet or “offline” network that enables passengers to access digital content and services. This digital content – e.g. movies, TV box sets, travel information or news – can be streamed directly to a passenger’s laptop, tablet or mobile phone, from an on-board server without any connectivity failure or buffering.
Often, the reason for not providing a quality passenger experience is the associated cost to do so. If transport providers were to provide better public Wi-Fi access then they would have to invest in the Wi-Fi network and incur larger data roaming charges from Internet providers, which they pass on to customers. Something that no-one wants. However, a closed network opens many opportunities to enhance the passenger experience by enabling transport providers to solve passenger problems in ways that make it easy and straight forward, whilst increasing opportunities for new revenue streams.
Enhancing the passenger experience
Making passenger journeys hassle free can make a huge difference in the perception of the overall service. For example, making seat reservations available to a personal device or providing in-seat ordering of food and beverages can make the journey more pleasant. From a security perspective, there are improvements that can be made to prevent luggage from being stolen by alerting passengers when an item of luggage is moved.
If we take rail transport providers as an example; services can include sending ticket information and seat number confirmation directly to a passenger’s mobile phone, removing the need for the train company to place paper seat reservation cards at the beginning of every journey. The in-seat ordering services will allow passengers to order food or drink more easily from the buffet car, leading to increased sales; the passenger can also have the option of collection or having the purchases delivered to their seat. These are all services that can save the transport provider money and increase revenue from new sales.
Monetising digital on-board services
21st Century digital on-board services are cost effective and provide opportunities for new revenue streams for transport providers. By diverting passenger activity from the public Internet to digital on-board services, the cost reduction to transport providers can be significant by avoiding much of the data charges associated with mobile Internet access. Other tangible opportunities include creating offers around premium content, (the latest blockbuster movie or live sporting event) or enabling the pre-booking of hotels, rental cars, tourist trips and restaurants.
Targeted advertising using banner ads or pre-roll video all contribute to creating new revenue streams. Also, having access to passengers whilst on a journey is incredibly appealing to advertisers as it is one of the few times where an audience has a high dwell time and increased opportunity for engagement. This opens the door to additional income through advertising and sponsorship packages. Moreover, digital on-board services provide transport providers with the chance to capture valuable customer data, which can then be used to drive further engagement and improve other aspects of the passenger experience.
It’s a challenging marketplace, it cannot be denied. Transport companies are constantly looking for new ways to improve the passenger experience, and a new model for infotainment is available today.
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