The importance of digitalisation in improving rail passenger experience

Posted: 14 December 2020 | | No comments yet

Xavier Champaud, Managing Director for Nomad Digital, shares his thoughts on the importance of digitalisation in improving passenger experience and operational performance, and how in particular, Nomad Digital can help train operating companies deliver better connectivity.

Long live the technological revolution

We are currently living in a digital era, one where people expect, optimum connectivity wherever they are. Passengers are no exception to this, and our transport system needs to meet this high level of expectation for a positive passenger experience.

We are currently living in a digital era, one where people expect, optimum connectivity wherever they are. Passengers are no exception to this, and our transport system needs to meet this high level of expectation for a positive passenger experience. This is a particularly significant challenge when you consider the constant increase (with the exception of the COVID crisis) of passenger ridership, boosted by the attractivity of the low‑carbon footprint of the railway transport. As a result of this, digitalisation is vital to effectively deliver connectivity matching the double increase of passengers, and of the demand.
Train operating companies (TOCs) are required to face the challenges of on-board connectivity to provide a reliable connection for passengers. This can be achieved by deploying mobility connectivity solutions to ensure fast and consistent bandwidth, achieving the same experience that passengers would have when using their broadband at home. To address this, Nomad Digital has developed a solution to implement dedicated trackside railway radio networks. It provides a very high bandwidth network connectivity with low latency. By implementing our Trackside Networks solution, TOCs can benefit from an enhanced passenger experience, but also: Improved fleet performance; greater operational efficiency and reduced downtime; greater operational control and utilisation of the on-train assets and systems; and a differentiated and optimal user experience.

Innovation is in our DNA

I have been leading Nomad Digital in developing world‑leading and first-class solutions, contributing to an already transformed landscape. For both the passenger and the operator, we have developed our ‘Engage Portal’, which delivers on-demand, managed content directly to the passenger’s own devices – such as seat occupancy, journey information, media and entertainment.

For the passenger, the solution makes journeys enjoyable. For the operator, it enables them to provide targeted messages about the journey and train status but also allows them to use the data collected to gain insights into passenger wants and needs. In addition, by utilising passenger portals, operators can create revenue opportunities through advertising and gain customer feedback.

A comprehensive portfolio of solutions

Progressing towards inclusive smart mobility, our future is paved with more developments which will require further system integration capabilities. For example, challenges that will need to be addressed include:

  • Capability to address vertical integration from the Internet of Things (IoT) sensors to artificial intelligence (AI)
  • Capability to address the integration of train networks to offer the benefits of high-volume connectivity to operational data for improved predictive maintenance
  • Capability to provide a holistic cyber-security approach to the overall mobility ecosystem.

Extensive system integration capabilities

In this race to introduce more, we need not forget the requirement for better. In a world where climate change drives the agenda towards better use of common mobility resources – such as rail and bus transportation, or car-sharing – it is not only a race for more bandwidth, more data and more functionalities, but it is also a necessity to ensure that we are optimising what we have to support inclusive transport, to provide equal access to any given bandwidth and to ensure capacity to support transitions. In order to effectively develop the ability to manage multiple types of communication – cellular, private, satellite – ecosystem research involving universities and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) must be leveraged to develop and implement permanent improvements towards the serviceability of the solution and security.

At Nomad Digital, we are your partner for a truly collaborative approach, implementing trustworthy relations with our customers.

Xavier ChampaudXavier Champaud has worked in the rail industry for 25 years covering a wide range of roles, from project management through to regional management and gained extensive experience in both the signalling and digital sector. Before taking up his position with Nomad Digital, Xavier previously worked as Benelux Regional Centre & Site Managing Director for Alstom Charleroi and in senior management roles in the UK with Alstom UK.