In Real Time: Innovating for the Post-Pandemic Customer
- November 05, 2021
The pandemic fundamentally altered many aspects of our lives. Dramatic shifts are underway — working from home, regional and suburban living, and an increasing reliance on online resources to enhance our lives. Public transport is also undergoing a dramatic shift with changes in ticketing, inclusion, convenience, safety, comfort, and security.
Dramatic changes often require new ways of thinking, operating and engaging. Dramatic changes require innovation. Fortunately, innovation is at the core of NTT DATA’s approach to transportation. Still, there is no doubt that the pandemic has accelerated change in the way customers interact with the transport system. COVID-19 presented many risks and restrictions for transportation customers. NTT DATA responded by increasing opportunities for customers to reduce touchpoints, both through infrastructure updates and by enhancing online options. In addition to capturing data streams from live usage of the transport network, NTT DATA will incorporate information about events and infrastructure and use statistical models to provide enhanced, detailed occupancy information.
Smartphones are quickly replacing bulky wallets and purses. The demand from customers and public transport (PT) agencies to expand cashless operations has accelerated the move to more seamless payment and authentication arrangements. Customers want to replicate the ease of the tap-and-go transactions they use in other public transport settings around the world.
Building a resilient and accessible network
Open-loop allows a myriad of fare payment options, including credit/debit cards and smart watches, without the need for a PT access card. This allows users to have the same experience paying for PT that they have at the supermarket, their local café, on-street parking and their doctor’s surgery. Implementation of smartphones, debit cards and technologies in London has reduced the once prolific Oyster card. Minding the gap is tap and go.
In conjunction with the open-loop changes, account-based ticketing allows simpler and more transparent arrangements for concessions and fare discounts, such as for off-peak travel.
NTT DATA creates integrated systems that provide a seamless and efficient network to the PT authority and the customer. We eliminate the constraints of proprietary systems, enabling leading technology and the latest hardware to create world-class platforms that can expand and adapt as required. We thereby create an integrated system that provides a seamless and efficient network to both the PT authority and the customer.
The move to mobility as a service (MAAS) puts the customer at the centre of network design. Instead of mass transit, where the emphasis is on ‘mass,’ MAAS emphasizes the individual and their specific travel needs. It empowers the customer by supplying information and options to allow travel from A to B in the quickest and cheapest way. It also ensures that all travel options are in the mix, including rideshare, bikes, and other active transport options. Payment options for PT travel are occurring while mobility and travel are evolving. It is a customer-driven transformation predicated by convenience and technology. As part of this transformation, services are delivered to the customer in a seamless app that combines transport options, maps, real-time data, booking capability and multi-payment options. Of course, multiple transport options need to be available, including the rollout of On Demand bus services, often to complete the vital ‘first or final mile’ of the journey, is crucial.
A glimpse into the future
The changes we have seen in recent years are just the beginning. There are some welcome ‘silver linings’ to the pandemic cloud. Future changes will further empower customers to choose the PT services that best suit their specific needs. PT authorities can make more informed decisions and allocate limited resources to areas that bring the most benefit. Our response to the changing world is part of NTT’s Smart Management Platform, which is a key plank in our plan to help customers and authorities navigate an ambitious new world.
The NTT Smart Management Platform employs data-driven insights through a secure, distributed platform that captures data via sensors and micro data centers. The platform integrates historical data sources such as traffic, weather and social media to leverage cognitive analytics and machine learning technologies to learn normal patterns and detect and alert authorities of abnormal patterns. And a key pillar of the NTT Smart Management Platform is its data ownership. To allow agencies to enhance their customer relationships and leverage data in a range of use cases, NTT DATA puts the control and ownership of data back in the hands of PT agencies.
We provide safe, reliable transportation solutions to connect communities and contribute to economic growth from token or phone tap through back-end processing. We are on board for the journey, driving change and connecting communities.