Onboard infotainment is opening up a whole host of new opportunities for transport operators. From giving passengers access to engaging media content, to keeping them updated with real-time information, it’s evolved from being a premium offering to a ‘must have’.
In a previous article we examined some of the recent trends driving the onboard Wi-Fi boom and how transport operators are keeping ahead of the competition by offering their passengers a way to be ‘digitally productive’ on the move.
But the concept of attracting passengers by offering them a way to pass the time as they travel is not a new one. Operators have been offering onboard entertainment in the form of movies and TV shows for years. So what is the future of this traditional onboard passenger service in the age of the Internet-connected vehicle?
Let us Entertain You…
While the mobile Internet connectivity Icomera offers is more than capable of streaming video content from sites like YouTube, or services like Netflix, it can reduce the bandwidth available for passengers who just want to catch up on emails and other digital chores. Streaming video over the Internet also increases the cellular data costs associated with the system. It sounds like a lose/lose situation, but fortunately it’s one that can easily be avoided thanks to locally-stored infotainment content.
Icomera offers a solution that allows you to stream infotainment content to passengers from the Wi-Fi router’s onboard storage; content like TV, movies, games, audiobooks, magazines, and real-time passenger information – interesting facts about the route, expected arrival time etc. The infotainment content is presented to passengers through the Wi-Fi portal so it’s viewed on the passenger’s own smart device – there’s no need for operators to buy any additional hardware, like media servers or seatback screens.
Since they will not be streaming large media files over the Internet, passengers using locally-stored media significantly reduce the load on the Internet connection for others. Further, stored media can start to reduce the operators’ cellular data costs. With these reduced data costs, the combined Wi-Fi and infotainment solution can become even more cost-effective than offering the two services separately.
An entertainment service can only be successful if its content is kept up-to-date, otherwise regular passengers will quickly become bored. Our infotainment solutions can be managed by the operator, or their chosen third party media supplier, using our cloud-based content management system. This means that the content offered to passengers can easily be updated regularly and remotely. Content updates can be sent to all vehicles in the fleet with the single click of a button.
An exciting development is the extent to which analytics can now also be used to curate and improve the passenger experience. Depending on their journey, different passengers will want different types of information and entertainment. By analyzing usage data, it’s possible to see what types of content users are looking at and use this to customize the travel experience. A tourist on a longer journey may well be more interested in streaming media content, while a business traveler on a short morning commute may be more likely to want quick access to up-to-the-minute news.
Keep Passengers Updated
Implementing real-time information can be used to help improve customer service. When delays happen, operators can turn a negative experience into a positive one by providing passengers with coupons for complimentary coffee, free movies for those stuck on a broken-down vehicle, or an online or automatic refund to passengers before they even leave the vehicle. Icomera’s real-time passenger information module can be integrated with any RTI system that has an API, automatically providing passengers with notifications about delays and timetable changes.
Designing hardware using open architecture principles and using software built to open platform standards helps enable flexible solutions, making it easy to install new applications, upgrade systems and innovate quickly over time. For example, the same wireless Internet solutions that support Icomera passenger Wi-Fi can also be used to provide connectivity for other onboard services such as real-time CCTV, allowing operators to monitor a vehicle remotely, keeping passengers, staff and assets safe.
Adding real-time connectivity to other traditional transport systems such as passenger information or passenger counting creates new possibilities to add value to the customer journey by, for example, telling them the location of spare seats.
Magnus Friberg, Icomera’s SVP for the Americas, sees these real-time applications as just the beginning: “The digital journeys of the future will not be based on train or bus tickets and timetables but will instead be always-online personal journeys based on mobility-as-a-service applications. This type of service will rely on continuous connectivity for information flows to, and data flows from, the traveler as they move seamlessly between transport modes, e.g. from bus to train to self-driving car.”
Get in Touch
Icomera’s solutions are hosted on an industry-leading hardware and software platform which provides fast, reliable and secure mobile Internet connectivity, backed by a suite of powerful cloud-based management tools. We have the ability to provide you with everything you need to deploy and support your onboard infotainment system.
To find out more on our infotainment packages, contact [email protected] today.