Last Friday (4th March 2016) was the launch of the HackTrain Accelerator – a programme dedicated to driving innovation within the railway industry through the introduction of new technologies.
The launch was opened by Andrew Jones MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport. The programme is supported by 5 of the major transport owning groups in the UK: First, Stagecoach, National Express, Arriva and Go-Ahead along with 4 key service partners: EY, Osborne Clarke, BAE Systems and the Novacroft Group.
Pointr’s Chief Marketing Officer, Axel Katalan took the stage to share his vision on how the rail industry can solve some of its biggest challenges by embracing digital technology. He said “Rail is an integral part of our society. It is what connects our cities and small towns with each other and is responsible for over 1.65bn journeys a year, and is ripe for innovation. There are many factors to the rail experience. From purchasing tickets (both online and at the station), to the in-station experience, retail experience and the journey of riding the trains themselves. The experience continues throughout even when you arrive to your destination.”
Within this initiative there are companies of all sizes, from startups, such as ‘Dispatch’ that are making ticket purchasing as simple as sending a text, to ‘Dojo’ who run an event discovery app filled with live, dynamic content. The aim of the programme, is to connect these transport innovators with train operators such as Great Western Railway, Virgin Trains, Chiltern Railways, c2c Rail and Govia and run pilots in real environments.
In a statement made by the founders of the programme, River and Alejandro, they share where the inspiration for the programme began: “After successfully running the HackTrain Hackathon held in November last year, we have been focusing on setting up and running the accelerator programme to take some of these amazing technologies and get them in the hands of customers.”
“At Pointr, we work with a number of large airports to provide turn-by-turn indoor navigation. We understand how travel anxiety can affect the passengers experience within airports, and this is no different at train stations. We will be working closely with the operating companies to provide the best that indoor location has to offer, such as navigation to train platform, contextual notifications about how the service is operating, and data showing carriage and station utilisation.” – says Katalan.