Icomera has worked together with Greyhound over the course of a decade, becoming a key partner in the transport operator’s wider digital strategy. Taking advantage of Icomera’s powerful wireless Internet connectivity platform, Greyhound has laid the foundations for a fully realized “digital coach”, capable of supporting a wide range of Internet-enabled applications as part of a single solution.
Greyhound is the largest provider of intercity bus transportation in North America, serving 2,400 destinations with a modern, environmentally friendly fleet. Founded in 1914, it has grown to become an American icon, providing safe, enjoyable and affordable travel to nearly 16 million passengers each year.
As well as its core Greyhound brand, the organization operates other brands such as:
- BoltBus, serving the Northeast and Western regions of the United States.
- Greyhound Express, a premium city-to-city service
- Greyhound Connect, a service that connects rural communities to larger Greyhound markets in the United States
2010: Leading the Field with Passenger Wi-Fi…
At a time when delivering onboard Internet-enabled services for passengers was still in an age of relative infancy, Greyhound outlined its commitment to acting as an industry innovator by commissioning Icomera to supply Passenger Wi-Fi for its fleet of vehicles, using Icomera’s M- Series “Moovbox” router.
As a tried and tested means to turn passengers’ travel time into productive time, Wi-Fi was already becoming an essential offering for transport operators. With the Icomera service, those traveling simply needed to connect to Greyhound’s onboard Wi-Fi network from their smart device by selecting the appropriate hotspot.
Icomera’s onboard multi-SIM Wi-Fi solution offers a more reliable Internet experience than forcing a passenger to use their own smart device’s cellular network connection. One reason for this is that passengers’ devices usually rely on a single network’s coverage and not all networks will be able to guarantee comprehensive coverage along every route. Specifically designed for use on public transport, Icomera’s solution utilizes multiple SIM cards from multiple cellular network operators; because of this, it is possible for the router to switch from one cellular tower or network to the next when coverage from a particular cellular operator is lost.
Even when passengers are able to connect directly to a cell tower along the route, they will be frustrated by unreliable Internet performance. This is because cellular networks are not designed with large, fast-moving groups of users in mind and, as such, a good experience for one passenger can come at the cost of a bad experience for another. Icomera’s solution addresses this issue by presenting a single connection between the coach and the Wi-Fi users onboard. Free Icomera Wi-Fi is now available across the entire Greyhound fleet, alongside paid premium packages which allow Greyhound to provide an even better experience, while recouping cellular data costs.
2018: Icomera’s First US-based Streaming Onboard Entertainment Deployment
After a successful initial trial with BoltBus in 2018, the scope of Icomera’s services with Greyhound was expanded when its hardware also began to be utilized to host onboard entertainment content – Icomera’s first streaming media deployment in the US market. Keeping passengers entertained and productive throughout their journey is one of the easiest ways to improve the onboard experience.
With Icomera’s onboard entertainment solution installed, Greyhound’s passengers are able to watch Hollywood movies and popular TV shows, play games, and read bestselling eBooks and magazines. The media content is delivered via Wi-Fi directly to passengers’ own smart devices, whether it’s smartphone, tablet or laptop – so there is no need for seat-back screens. Since the media is stored locally on board, passengers stream the content from the vehicle, instead of over the Internet. This improves the speed of access to entertainment, while also easing the load on the available Internet bandwidth and reducing the cellular data usage costs associated with offering Passenger Wi-Fi. Onboard media entertainment is now offered on all of Greyhound’s services.
2020: Laying the foundations for a “Digital Coach”
In 2020, Icomera completed an ambitious technology upgrade program for Greyhound, replacing its legacy M- Series hardware with its next-generation X-Series connectivity platform.
Now installed on all coaches, Icomera’s powerful X3 mobile connectivity and applications gateways provide the wireless Internet connectivity and onboard computer processing power and storage necessary for delivering a significantly improved passenger experience, allowing travelers to enjoy Wi-Fi with faster browsing speeds and enhanced media options.
Beyond Passenger Wi-Fi and onboard entertainment, Icomera’s centralized connectivity platform offers the potential to host a range of other operational, safety & security and passenger-related applications as part of a single solution. Since parts of systems can also be “virtualized” – that is, run as virtual applications hosted on the Icomera gateway – the need for some additional hardware (such as media servers or video surveillance recorders) is reduced.
What Greyhound Say:
“As the leader in intercity bus transportation in North America, we are constantly implementing technology aimed at improving the way people experience travel. Our partnership with Icomera and introduction of their X-Series product line to our fleet will not only enhance Wi-Fi and onboard entertainment access for our customers, but reinforces our commitment to innovation and digital solutions that elevate the customer experience.”
Todd Koch, Vice President Strategy, Marketing & Customer Engagement, Greyhound
What We Say:
“We are pleased to continue supporting Greyhound in both their daily operations – with all systems supported by our 24/7 NOC – and their longer- term digital strategy, delivering solutions which reflect Greyhound’s position as a prominent transport operator in the green mobility revolution, a movement which is encouraging sustainable transport habits as part of the zero- carbon transition.”
Magnus Friberg, CEO, Icomera