Icomera recently exhibited at Rencontres Nationales du Transport Public (RNTP) in Toulouse, showcasing the company’s range of integrated connectivity solutions.
At the show, we spoke with Emilie Raspaud, General Manager at Icomera France, and Harold Diouf, Head of Engineering & Key Account Manager at Icomera France, for their insights into the work that Icomera is undertaking locally, and how the company’s services more broadly are helping build the connected societies of tomorrow…
To begin with, please could you briefly introduce us to Icomera France?
Emilie Raspaud: Yes, of course! The Icomera France office opened in 2015, and since that time we’ve been working closely with many operators and transport authorities in the region; we’re proud to count SNCF, Thalys and RATP among our valued clients. We are headquartered in Paris, and work closely with our colleagues across Icomera and the wider EQUANS group to deliver connectivity solutions which help improve passenger satisfaction, reduce operational costs, and manage risk through better safety and security.
How have you seen operators’ approach to connected applications develop over the years?
Harold Diouf: Several years ago, operators were perhaps more focused on deploying a single application. Now, aided by the ever-growing power of our centralised connectivity platform, and the range of services that we are able to provide, our clients can easily deploy multiple applications from a single piece of hardware, and many of them are looking to take advantage of this fact.
This year, for example, we launched our 5G-enabled mobile connectivity and applications gateway, the Icomera X5, designed for rail. The X5 is an extremely powerful piece of hardware – It can deliver gigabit speeds on both 5G and 4G LTE networks, and provides a 10 Gbps Ethernet connection to the onboard network. Furthermore, as with the other routers in our X-Series product family, the X5 can support a wide range of digital applications simultaneously, delivering a simple and cost-effective solution.
Beyond Passenger Wi-Fi, how is Icomera France continuing to help its clients deliver the best possible passenger experience?
Emilie Raspaud: Last year, Icomera acquired GoMedia, who are specialists in passenger information and onboard entertainment solutions. This has been very exciting because it’s further grown our expertise when it comes to delivering a best-in-class passenger experience.
GoMedia’s services seamlessly integrate with the Icomera platform and are designed to keep passengers both informed and entertained. By providing real-time updates to those travelling, pinging them with direct messages, delivering world-class Onboard Entertainment, and capturing feedback, we’re able to significantly improve the passenger experience, tempting more and more people to travel using public transport.
Are there any other solution areas in which Icomera France has seen particular interest and growth recently?
Harold Diouf: Naturally, it’s impossible to answer this question without touching on the past 18 months and what’s happened with COVID-19. We’ve seen that many of our solutions are becoming even more vital now as a result of the pandemic. Passengers need real-time access to data in order to safely and efficiently plan their journeys, and to stay connected while they travel. And operators are looking to work with greater efficiency while meeting the higher health, safety and security standards that have come into force over the past year.
For instance, video surveillance can be leveraged to make sure that vehicles do not become overcrowded, and to monitor that passengers adhere to onboard safety protocols. And Icomera’s own new video surveillance solution is one that we’re especially excited about. In the event of an incident, live CCTV footage allows an operator to make a fast and appropriate response, and for normal service to be resumed as quickly as possible. It’s a great example of how we’re able to leverage the Internet connection that we provide to a moving vehicle to help protect passengers and staff.
What’s next for connectivity in public transport, and how is Icomera France helping shape this future?
Emilie Raspaud: We’re committed to continue providing the best possible connectivity to public transport vehicles; that’s why we always design our solutions with next-generation networks front-of-mind. We also believe that connected public transport vehicles specifically are a key element in delivering the smart cities of the future. Through our vision of “The Connected Journey”, we are working to build a world in which we can stay connected while we travel, wherever we travel.
Finally, how has it been exhibiting at RNTP this year?
Harold Diouf: It’s fantastic to be back exhibiting in person at tradeshows such as RNTP, and to be able to meet with many of our industry colleagues. This has been our first major physical event in France since the start of the pandemic, and we’ve really enjoyed exhibiting as part of the EQUANS booth, demonstrating the wealth of expertise and experience that Icomera and other entities within the group can offer. A particular highlight was that the French Minister for Transportation, Jean-Baptiste Djebbari, visited the booth and was introduced to Icomera’s solutions!