At the Frequentis Rail Days 2015, CCA took the chance to present their new product CCA Announcer for the first time. Read about the impressive features of this new announcement system and request one of our sought-after demo kits.

Announcer

Audio Announcements – Directly to Your Passengers’ Smartphones

Today, passenger announcements in stations or on trains are much more than just information. When plans or operations change, announcements are of paramount importance, effectively steering passengers and this way avoiding expensive delay minutes. Keeping your customers up-to-date with information is also an important factor in customer satisfaction.

Unfortunately, loudspeaker announcements suffer several disadvantages:

  • They require expensive infrastructure.
  • They are often acoustically hard to understand.
  • They can be missed due to distractions (conversations, smartphones, …).

Most passengers (about 75%) are busy on their smartphones when they travel.
The CCA Announcer allows you to push announcements directly onto these smartphones.

After installing the app, the passenger automatically receives your announcements. Simple announcements like “Please step back – your train is arriving” can be played immediately. Announcements requiring higher attention, like “Bus replacement service between …” are signaled to the user and played after tapping the notification.

There are many ways to narrow down which passengers should receive an announcement: Via GPS, geographical areas can be selected. New localization technologies allow addressing passengers in concrete moving objects like trains, single railway carriages, or busses, as well as areas within buildings, like platforms.

Group functionality and CCA’s experience concerning the development of barrier-free apps allow providing special services for persons with limited mobility or visually impaired persons.

Benefits:

  • Effective announcements without expensive infrastructure.
  • Satisfied passengers due to precise and acoustically clear comprehendible information.
  • Easy integration into your infrastructure and into existing apps.

Steering Your Staff

During urgent situations, railway services are taking advantage of new ways of organizing – like crowd tasking. If, for example, support is required near a staff member’s home, they may voluntarily report to service even outside working hours to support their company in an extreme situation. In these cases staff do not work in their usual role but join together in common cause.

Steering staff in this situation is a challenge. To assure the full potential of the organization is harnessed, quick and easy instructions to this shifting number of volunteers have to be issued. Current means of communication like mobile telephony or texting are not appropriate for these kinds of situations.

The CCA Announcer is the tool of choice for extreme situations like this, but also for steering a large number of staff in a normal-pressure situation. Only an Internet browser is required to send announcements to a certain type of staff in a certain region. Users simply need to install the Announcer app to automatically receive your announcements via the loudspeakers or the headsets of their smartphones.

Benefits:

  • Effectively steer your staff without expensive infrastructure or special mobile devices.
  • An Internet browser turns every PC or laptop into your control center.
  • No action required to listen to the announcements.

As part of the Frequentis-internal study “Future of Railway Communication” at the beginning of this year, CCA implemented a functional demonstrator of a tablet-based dispatcher.

Demonstrator Screenshot

The key requirements were challenging:

  • Implementation for a state of the art tablet device
  • SIP-based communication via 3G/LTE/WLAN
  • 100% cloud-based infrastructure
  • Applicability as an expansion module for the Frequentis FTS 3020 Product Platform
  • New features like display of presence state, video and chat

The target platform for this demonstrator was iOS on iPad, though the selected technology allows the realization for Android and Windows 10 as well.

The implementation within the short time frame was challenging no less, especially concerning the communication link in changing (mobile) network topologies.

Within June, the cloud-based infrastructure as well as the tablet application were ready for extensive testing. Immediately the testing staff got intrigued by the lightning-fast call setup and availability without any location restriction in the 3G/LTE network. Trials with users spread over several European countries made the participants dream about new use cases using the iPad dispatcher right on site, embedding photos into chats or transmitting live video. All these ideas will be incorporated into the concept of future Frequentis communication systems.

For CCA this project was another opportunity to impressively demonstrate their competence in the fields of mobile communication.