Station of the future

By partnering with BAI Communications, transit authorities can become the catalyst for creating connected cities; enabling connectivity and economic growth through the provision of a high-capacity, high-availability, multi-use communications network.

Take a walk through our ‘station of the future,’ and see how the support of IoT and data-driven solutions can further benefit the passenger experience, strengthen your operational capability, and help you prepare for the introduction of 5G.

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Station of the future concepts
Enabling technologies
Smart ticketing
Safety, security and customer service robots
Digital displays and lighting
Asset monitoring
Smart security cameras and audio sensors
Smart, integrated advertising ecosystems
Smart keys
Smart doors, escalators and elevators
Data driven transit operations management
Environmental monitoring
Virtual help/info kiosks
Small cells street furniture
Cell tower macro coverage
On-board Wi-Fi
Digital screens and passenger information systems
Help point
Station cellular and Wi-Fi
Fare payment connectivity
Fibre optic payment
Tunnel cellular coverage
Cellular trackside network
On-board Wi-Fi
Base station hotel
In-building cellular coverage
  • Smart ticketing

    TECHNOLOGY OPTIONS

    • Biometric ticket barriers
    • Bluetooth connectivity
    • Wi-Fi

    USE CASES

    • Walk in and out stations without barriers – smart ticketing charges customer fare directly
    • Ticket system connected to app, to facilitate accurate, seamless fare calculation and entry/exit
  • Safety, security and customer service robots

    Technology options

    • Artificial intelligence
    • Robotics

    Use cases

    • Detect and prevent criminal activity
    • Help the sick and injured
    • Investigate unattended baggage/items
    • Return and retrieve lost goods
    • Provide directions and answer FAQs
  • Digital displays and lighting

    Technology options

    • Billboards and digital displays
    • Lights synced with operational network
    • QR codes

    Use cases

    • Provide interactive billboards/signs that provide information about transit (e.g. timetables, congestion)
    • Sync lights with operational command (e.g. flashing arrows pointing to exit during emergency)
    • Targeted advertising use cases using digital displays
  • Asset monitoring

    Technology options

    • Sensors in assets connected to operational system

    Use cases

    • Monitor and track when trashcans are full/need emptying
    • Flag staff when assets need repairing (e.g. track related items)
    • Monitor location of assets with GPS connected via Wi-Fi
  • Smart security cameras and audio sensors

    Technology options

    • Artificial intelligence
    • Biometric security cameras
    • Audio sensors

    Use cases

    • Reduce crime, violence and assault
    • Identify lost personnel
    • Identify lost baggage
    • Utilise audio sensors in private areas
  • Smart, integrated advertising ecosystems

    Technology options

    • Digital billboards
    • QR codes

    Use cases

    • Create virtual retail spaces along walls/metro door barriers/in train where e-commerce retailers can put items where customers scan to purchase
  • Smart keys

    Technology options

    • Bluetooth
    • RFID tags
    • Wi-Fi connectivity

    Use cases

    • Allow access for staff/contractors with one centralised access card
    • Grant and control different access levels for various staff/contractors from centralised, internal systems
  • Smart doors, escalators and elevators

    Technology options

    • Sensors

    Use cases

    • Flag when asset requires attention – suggest best time for maintenance by tracking when it is least used
    • Smart elevators detect which floor customers are on automatically, to increase station accessibility
  • Data driven transit operations management

    Technology options

    • Artificial intelligence (AI)
    • Data from sensors

    Use cases

    • Accumulate data from IoT – AI to provide predictive operational scenarios and decisions
    • Forecast operational staff scheduling, train scheduling, station crowd management, station layout planning
  • Environmental monitoring

    Technology options

    • Air quality sensors
    • Audio sensors
    • Smart thermometers

    Use cases

    • Monitor temperature changes to understand impacts on crowd, health/safety of staff and customers, and transit assets (e.g. track expansion from heat), then conduct predictive analysis to provide solutions to mitigate risks
  • Virtual help/info kiosks

    Technology options

    • Digital, interactive displays

    Use cases

    • Provide available help points to allow customers to find directions, read FAQs during unattended/off peak hours, or when customer service rep is unavailable to attend immediately

Welcome to the station of the future

Station of the future 16 Jun 2020

Train stations and connectivity: the future is here already

As technology continues to evolve, city officials are leveraging a plethora of Internet of Things (IoT) solutions driven by the availability of data to make their cities even smarter. In the transit space, BAI Communications is working with transit authorities to do the same, deploying technologies to create the ‘station of the future’.

By using IoT and data-driven solutions, transit authorities are discovering they can enhance the passenger experience, strengthen their operational capabilities and help prepare for new technologies (such as the introduction of 5G). Such measures will be even more important in a post-COVID world.

As the station of the future evolves, we, at BAI Communications, are already seeing the benefits emerge.  We have delivered robust communications infrastructure inside some of the world’s busiest subway systems, which allows for the delivery of Wi-Fi, IP and cellular connectivity. Now we are building on this infrastructure to deliver additional value to our customers, enabling a new application: data-driven transit operations management.

Smart ticketing

In busy stations, increased public transport patronage can lead to station congestion, especially at peak travel times. Fare gates can become bottlenecks, and fare evasion can be a constant concern for transit authorities.

Smart ticketing systems can assist with solving both these problems. By combining biometric ticket barriers, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and other technologies to remove physical barriers, customers can walk in and out of stations freely. This can help reduce congestion, make it easier to deter fare evasion and, most importantly, manage passenger volumes and social distancing as commuters return to their offices as we recover from the COVID pandemic.

The technology needed to make this a reality is already in use, bringing the large-scale adoption of smart ticketing closer. We are already seeing similar technology being used by Amazon for their walk-in, walk-out storefronts. Two public transport rollouts are imminent. In Australia, the New South Wales (NSW) state government is planning to make biometrics a central part of its future transport plans, with passengers being scanned by facial recognition systems for automatic payments. In Japan, the Osaka Metro started testing smart ticketing technology in January.

Smart security

Commuters need to feel safe as they travel, and transit authorities want to ensure their safety at all times. However, continually monitoring trains and stations in all areas at all times can be incredibly difficult.

When deployed with care, and with full regard to privacy and data security, smart security cameras are a practical, cost-effective solution. Transit authorities can use biometric data (such as face or voice recognition) and artificial intelligence to identify risks and proactively organise responses. Staff can then be stationed in areas of potential risk (for example, in response to cameras detecting suspicious movements or behaviours), to further improve passenger safety and optimise incident response times.

But these benefits are just the beginning. Smart, connected cameras and security systems can also:

  • identify and secure lost items
  • assist lost travellers, such as a child that has become separated from its parents
  • coordinate emergency responders (for example, directing ambulance staff to the right platform to help a passenger suffering a health problem).

Transit authorities are already moving in this direction, with biometric security cameras successfully trialled in Berlin transit stations.

Asset monitoring

Subway systems are large entities, with track, platforms, team members and rolling stock spread over large areas. Knowing where assets and staff are at any given time can be mission-critical, but without connected systems, is very tough.

Deploying IoT sensors on operational assets (mobile and otherwise) creates a steady data flow that can solve practical problems. For example, staff can be provided with IoT tags to monitor their safety. If they’re doing technical work, IoT-connected cameras and sensors can enable them to remotely connect with experts and technical information to help them complete their jobs.

Physical assets – from rolling stock to escalators to network hardware – can be monitored and scheduled for preventative maintenance before service interruptions and costly repairs are required. Their locations can be tracked in real-time, to assist with daily operations and keep customers informed about arrival and departure times. Other assets can provide data about their condition and operational status.

Around the world, asset monitoring systems are already delivering benefits. At Singapore’s Changi Airport, ‘big belly’ smart bins send alerts as they fill up, ensuring they never overflow. In Germany, Deutsche Bahn tracks its rolling stock by GPS, as does Transport for NSW in Australia.

Data-driven transit

Alone or in combination – but ideally in combination – the technologies mentioned above contribute to creating a data-driven transit system. Using data from sensors to feed analytics and AI, operations can become predictive and proactive. Transit authorities can use them to build stations of the future, modelling different operational scenarios, forecasting staff and service schedules, optimising passenger movements and planning better station, platform and even network configurations.

We already see data-driven transit solutions in use. In Toronto, BAI presented a data analytics solution to the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) that would give their operations team access to BAI’s device association data. The applications, developed by BAI, provide insights into:

  • foot traffic at stations
  • crowding conditions
  • origin-destination patterns through the system.

The greater the TTC’s ability is to analyse, understand and act on data related to passenger flow, the more flexible and efficient it can be in meeting customer needs. Augmenting BAI’s device association data with IoT systems can help bolster the solution’s accuracy and effectiveness.

In Japan, JR West Rail is testing an AI-based system to determine staff and train schedules, while in the Netherlands, NS Rail is trialling AI to predict train driving and inspection scenarios.

Connectivity offers so much more than ‘just’ internet access for staff and travellers. As we tease out its possibilities, we realise its potential to dramatically transform – and improve – public transport operations, safety and efficiency. We’re excited to be building this future.

Sign up to our blog series and take a walk through the station of the future.

Learn how IoT and data driven services can work to enhance customer experience and operational capability.

Station of the future: data-driven solutions

Station of the future 01 Jul 2020

Excerpt

The ‘station of the future’ is smart, connected and data-driven. By combining Wi-Fi and cellular connectivity, internet of things (IoT) sensors and other technologies, transit authorities can gather data and optimise operations. They can use data to develop schedules, adopt a proactive and preventive approach to maintenance, enhance security and transform the customer experience. As economies around the world recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, these capabilities will be some of the vital tools required for rebuilding customer confidence and ensure operational flexibility to meet any new contingencies.

Transit authorities around the world are already using connected technologies. Examples include smart ticketing, biometric security, asset monitoring and more. These are already improving safety, reducing costs and minimising service delays. The next step is to bring these different services and technologies together into a cohesive whole.

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Station of the future: COVID-ready

Station of the future 15 Jul 2020

Excerpt

What does public transport look like in a post-pandemic world? For stations of the future, we believe the future is vibrant, productive and above all, safe. Network-connected sensors and anonymised data feeds will allow transit authorities to closely monitor passenger numbers to avoid crowding; keep a close check on air quality and circulation; and even out service peaks and troughs.

By enabling agile, responsive, and data-driven operations management, communications infrastructure will play a crucial role in rebuilding commuter confidence in mass transit services. As economies rebuild and new work patterns emerge, stations of the future can give commuters confidence in public transport.

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Station of the future: pro-active monitoring

Station of the future 29 Jul 2020

Excerpt

Smart, connected and data-driven transit networks can leverage analytics to do much more than manage and optimise traffic flows and day-to-day operations. This data can also be used to monitor environmental factors and transform maintenance operations from schedule-based and reactive to data-based and proactive.

Across the globe, transit authorities are using Internet of Things (IoT)-connected sensors to monitor conditions and equipment to help maximise operational efficiency. The data generated can drive decisions about scheduling, maintenance, strategic planning, and day-to-day operations.

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Station of the future: analytics and automation

Station of the future 12 Aug 2020

Coming soon

Excerpt

Analytics and automation are the future of public transport. By giving operators – managers, drivers, station staff, maintenance teams and executives – accurate and timely information, better decision-making can be facilitated. Insights and business intelligence derived from data analytics will reveal opportunities and efficiencies that might otherwise have remained unutilized.

Public-transit operators who embrace data’s ability to transform their operations will reap many benefits. Stations of the future will deploy advanced solutions such as video analytics and smart automation to add new capabilities. In addition, existing automated capabilities such as data-driven maintenance schedules can become fully proactive and preventive, further reducing downtime and enhancing service availability.

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Station of the future: customer experience

Station of the future 26 Aug 2020

Coming soon

Excerpt

Commuters are the most important part of any public transport system. How can the stations of the future make their experience better – faster, safer, more comfortable and more productive – and encourage greater patronage?

Many advanced technologies are already at work in systems around the world. Smart signage, real-time service updates, contactless ticketing and more are making the customer experience increasingly frictionless. More systems can and will be deployed, but the key to transforming the customer experience is their full and seamless integration into a data-driven, end-to-end service that assists and informs at every stage of the journey, from planning and ticketing to travel and the on-platform experience.

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Station of the future: the connected train solution

Station of the future 09 Sep 2020

Coming soon

Excerpt

The ‘connected train’ provides an aboveground train with a secure high speed cellular, IP or Wi-Fi connection throughout its journey, ensuring continuous connectivity for the passenger. High speed data provides access to live streaming, social media or simply the ability to email colleagues. It also allows passengers to stay informed via real-time travel information and apps.

For the transport authority, this connectivity allows for live diagnostic information from internet of things sensors to be passed back to the control centre. This can lead to further improved train and track maintenance, digital ticketing systems and increased passenger monitoring.

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Station of the future: what next?

Station of the future 23 Sep 2020

Coming soon

Excerpt

What is the future of the station of the future? Demand for public transport will return as businesses and economies recover from the COVID-19 pandemic but rebuilding public confidence in its safety will be critical. Careful investments in networking, communications, and data technologies will help fast-track the process.

Agility and flexibility will be the watchwords as workers, businesses, cities, and nations look to the future. And there is no better way to become agile than to adopt a ‘data first’ strategy. Accurate, real-time information combined with far-looking analytics and business intelligence will be invaluable tools for the recovery.

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Learn how IoT and data driven services can work to enhance customer experience and operational capability.