This blog post is part of a four part series building a case for a cost-effective, fully-managed and scalable transport information ecosystem. This ecosystems aims to meet growing customer expectations within the transport industry. It provides operators, agencies and developers with information and services enabling the ingoing enhancement of the customer experience.

This article was also written with contributions from John Chan. Click here to access parts one, two and three

Transport information ecosystem – partners required

It needs to be acknowledged that the establishment and management of a sustainable digital ecosystem would require successful partners, who specialise in enabling key components of the transport information ecosystem.

Key players within the ecosystem would be the API management platform provider, information ecosystem management providers and telecommunication (network) providers.

Telecommunication provider should focus on enabling the delivery and management of the app leveraging their mobile networks as well as smart device application and device management expertise and capabilities.

With the telecommunication provider supporting the ecosystem, the ecosystem could be provided as fully managed service in a cost-effective way across the Australian market. In detail the telecommunication provider would offer the services required to install the mounts within the vehicles, sources and manages the device, provides the network for the data communication and provides 1st level support to agencies and operators.

Another key partner within the ecosystem is the API program and management platform provider. The API program and management platform targets the enablement of the open innovation and co-creation by providing the engagement and technology required. Recently we have seen a raise in API program and management platform providers, who have a dedicated service offering based in the cloud.

Finally the industry ecosystem management provider would play a vital role with the setup and operations of the ecosystem. The industry ecosystem management provider should be backed by extensive professional network, which provides the required support to manage the different challenges with operating an information ecosystem and understands key problem statements within the industry allowing the targeting of relevant customer experiences.

Benefits of the app and digital ecosystem

The transport information ecosystem would provide benefits to all stakeholders participating in the ecosystem, which in itself is its biggest value proposition.

Customers would enjoy access to real time information not only in the metropolitan area, but across the whole network, which would enable the customer to make better decisions, when using public transport. Customer’s expectations would change with the availability of real time information and customers would understand that a schedule is indicative and is subject to change. Eventually being part of the ecosystem customers would be able to actively participate in the real time information capturing value chain (transport information crowdsourcing).

Drivers would be able to have a better understanding of how they track against their schedule from stop to stop. The user interface of the app should be designed to provide drivers with an easy to read traffic light system. Drivers would be able to communicate with the control room via pre-defined messages, while being able to receive messages from the same.

Agencies and operators would enjoy the benefit of a fully managed, cost-effective solution to make real time information available across the public transport network. With the availability of the digital ecosystem and the real time information agencies and operators would be able to proactively manage customer expectations and react to changes driven by the digital disruption. The key to ability would be the platform character of the ecosystem supported by open innovation and co-creation initiatives, which would allow the embedding of third party developers into the real time information value chain.

The platform character of the ecosystem means that agencies and developers do not need to just work with third party developers. Internal developers would have access to the real time information too, which means agencies and operators would be able to leverage the cost-effective investment in their own infrastructure. The ecosystem would offer agencies and operators the ability to leverage and surface existing investments into customer information systems.

Information and services from the existing customer information systems could be added to the ecosystem and made available to internal and external developers via the platform. Finally the ecosystem’s platform character would enable agencies and operators to digitise and expand other functionalities within the transport industry such as ticketing and ticketing information.

The main benefit for third party developers would be the access to real time information leveraging globally accepted standards such as GTFS, GTFS-RT and RESTful API. The access to real time information means developers of existing apps could continue to strengthen their footprint in the market, while other developers would have the ability to disrupt the market with innovative ideas.

Third party developers would enjoy the benefit of being supported throughout the development of their apps in relation to the real time information as part of ecosystems API program and management platform.

Transport information ecosystem – platform built for growth

The focus of the transport information ecosystem would need to be the rollout of the app in order to overcome the real time information capturing challenge in Australia.

With the availability of the app, new real time information would be captured and made available to customers via the third party developer channel. The increased availability of this real time information would provide the baseline for new open innovation and co-creation targeting to meet the changing expectations and requirements of the customers within the public transport industry.

There would be a need to facilitate this open innovation and co-creation initiatives through a dedicated physical environments and events. This support would focus on how to integrate the smart device enabled customer into the real time information capturing value chain.

Overtime the increased availability of real time information would provide a great opportunity for agencies and operators to better understand the performance of their operations in real time. Leveraging the captured real time information means agencies and operators would need to change the way they process and react to the available information.

The ecosystem needs to aim to support agencies and operators in this matter in order to ensure that the value of the newly available information is used in the best possible way, adding to the already existing operational improvement activities.

Finally, the ecosystem would need to be scalable. This means other information and services need to be added easily to the real time information ecosystem providing a platform to improve other customer experiences within the transport industry.

These information and services could aim at either lifting already existing investments in information technology or enabling the acceleration of the ROI of new, targeted investments. The platform character would support scalability (number of information and services available; number of users accessing the information and services) and performance.


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Trent Lund

Trent is Head of Innovation and Ventures for PwC Australia. With 18 years’ experience spanning Australia, Asia, UK, Europe and the Middle East, Trent joined PwC to lead the customer centric transformation consulting team dedicated to improving the way Australia’s leading private and public sector organisations re-focus on the customer.

Before his commercial career, Trent worked with some of the earlier forms of computing, transforming traditional business through programmable logic controls to automate machinery. The learning he gathered from this early experience saw Trent ‘smash a lot of strawberries, but learned a lot about the power of technology’.

Trent began his commercial career in telecommunications in Australia and later independently as a business consultant in the UK. Trent helped high tech and communications clients develop product and market entry strategies for complex solutions such as data centres, mobile content platforms and 3G Mobile licenses.

Afterwards Trent joined Oracle to lead the mobile content and service delivery platform proposition in Europe and Asia. One of the key milestones he achieved was to architect a custom solution into 10 countries, gaining 45 million subscribers, operating in many different languages and different currencies. The key challenge was balancing the latest technology advancements with the pragmatism required to address economies in different stages of maturity, from emerging to very mature. Advising technology owners on what business models will be profitable in these environments is one of Trent’s great strengths.

Trent specialises in user experience design, customer-led innovation and disrupting business models through technology.

“Digital is challenging the status quo. We’re beginning to see how customers are interacting with technology and it’s exciting to see the escalating rate of change in all industries.”

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