Thursday, December 08, 2016

Gems of Opportunity: Software Industry: "All in One Transit Authority Passenger App"


Hello All,

Today's inspirational conceptual design is more so an evolutionary iteration than as completely original one. Since the horse has already left the starters gate within the last couple of years or so. Before starting this concept I did a cursory search online and stumbled upon the "Chicago Transit Authority" (CTA) online which I'll base my examples of in part. Currently, they have user submitted software apps dealing with tracking of buses or what not out in the community as free or at cost app services. Although the "Chicago Transit Authority" has partnered with a software firm called "Ventra" to handle transit passenger payment services via their proprietary app.

(Side note: I have two past conceptual designs regarding transit buses here at "Atrayo's Oracle". One back in June 2009 regarding the deployment of Wi-Fi on City Buses. And, the other on a fundraising model of the Charity Bus in Sept. 2012.)



My concept here today will marry both the payment services, transit fleet locator, scheduling info, and other AR (Augmented Reality) features all under the same roof. Right now it seems various features are fragmented for Transit Authority passenger apps. This concept will in part attempt to synthesize many of these bits to be one heck of a byte. (yes, sorry bad pun)



First off, a software or some other tech firm has a golden opportunity here to corner the market nationally. Although my research online wasn't extensive regarding this niche app market for transit systems across the country. A tech firm that brings their own point of sale hardware that also handles digital payment services would be a boon here for instance. Perhaps for the transit fleet of buses/shuttles and trains where appropriate can have payment scanners affixed to bus meters upon entrance by a passenger for example. The passenger can pull out their smartphone with the app activated and transmit wirelessly their valid bus fare or transit pass in effect. The Ventra system by the "Chicago Transit Authority" with their train system has a human conductor validate purchased train tickets. When a passenger presents their digital fare receipt via a smartphone app, which that is still a cumbersome system in this age of automation it's so late 19th century as a Victorian era holdback.

So a passenger scanner for trains in terms of fare payment similar as to how we experience transit buses can be the way to go. Currently in the news about the supermarket of tomorrow without check out lines and cashiers for customers being the "Amazon Go" automation model. What if this can be applied to all transit fleets of tomorrow that when a passenger boards a bus, shuttle, taxi cab, or train they are scanned for a valid fare. All done via their smartphones registered with the transit authority app as account holders. Sure a stowaway can sneak onboard and the technical kinks would have to be worked out to minimize that from occurring.

That's the hardware portion of this conceptual design then there's a software firm that can create a national app suite cloud platform for its commercial clientele. Whereby local transit authorities would customize such a platform software suite to their own needs. Any customer service is handled by the tech firm dealing only directly with the transit authority and never with the general public as passengers. Such a software suite can also be a yearly subscription basis paid for by the commercial clientele. Since the under the hood IT (Information Technology) can be vast with the eco-system of services rendered much like an operating system.

Aside from the payment services platform on a digital transactional basis, there's the GPS (Global Positioning System) of the Transit Fleet Locator. Basically what many of us already have via a "Uber or Lyft" rider app giving a real-time view when one's pick-up is approaching. However, with the Transit Passenger App, it's spruced up to include a 2-minute advance warning for riders to gather their belonging before departure at the bus stop or bus station. The alert can be an audio chime or a flashing icon or vibrating app feature for one's smartphone. It'll be kinda goofy everyone waiting at a bus station when their bus approaches and a cacophony of 2-minute alert chimes go off at once for every rider.

Other features of the passenger app will be traffic delay alerts with congestion or an accident elsewhere on their destined route. Besides weather updates of temperature or rain/thunder which here in Florida where I live is frequent in the rainy tropical summer season. Being at a bus stop even if it's partially covered when there's thunder is dicey. Of course, maybe due to legal liability reasons the weather alert app can warn passengers to go indoors because of a lightening storm. How many people will ignore that I wonder?

There will also be scheduling with arrival times according to one's stated route or destination inputted into the Transit Passenger App. With recommendations which bus transfers to take and the ability to buy a digital bus transfer or bus pass as an upsale versus buying several one-way fares for that day. Speaking of purchases there can be promotional pricing incentives for riders such as reduced fares during the holiday period. To entice more passengers to get from driving cars especially in high-density parts of the city such as downtowns thus aiding in less traffic congestion. When there's a sporting or cultural event the Transit Authority can partner with the local Chamber of Commerce, local area businesses, and even a sports team owner to offer free or discounted bus fares. Since parking will be a major pain in the ass especially for secure parking garages that may or may not be validated on the house.

Now to the juicy part regarding Augmented Reality tied into such an "All in One Transit Authority Passenger App". With either a smartphone for the first generations with subsequent AR Visors not unlike the "Microsoft Hololens" when costs come drastically down. AR Visors with tracked hand gestures by either wearing a motion sensing glove or a widget on one's finger via Bluetooth connectivity. So another person's hand gestures elsewhere won't confuse one's native AR Visor. A HUD (Heads Up Display) in each lens will have near eye data point metrics piped in via Wi-Fi or something better. (maybe 7G networks in a few short years)

Getting back to the Transit Authority Passenger App via voice owner pattern recognition as a device lock. So foreign audio sources or other people's voices doesn't screw up one's command audio prompts. An AR Visor user can speak the route via the transit app in plotting one's route for the day. With the aforementioned traffic delay or weather alerts also appearing in real time. AR Visors much like smartphones of today will also be capable of cellular telephony ie phone calls.

The Augmented reality app feature will also have a Transit Authority mascot as an avatar popping in and out of the smartphone app. Maybe something like a "Pipboy" from the "Fallout" video game franchise or a motion captured real person in their own voice as a Transit Authority spokesperson. Helping to guide users through menu screens and other features of the app.

This "All in One Transit Authority Passenger App" of tomorrow can be just right around the corner maybe in 5 short years? Much like I mentioned at the beginning of this inspirational conceptual design that the horse has already left the gate nationally. For example, my Southwest region of Sarasota, Florida doesn't even have a smartphone app for our "Sarasota County Area Transit(SCAT) passengers. It'll be years before this tech starts to trickle down county by county away from larger metropolitan cities like New York city, Chicago, and Miami for instance.

The tech of the 21st century is literally now starting to arrive in this Renaissance period of the century and we're almost already 20 years into it. Human progress is overloaded in fits and starts and holdouts from the late 19th century like with my train ticket conductor model mentioned at the beginning of the article. Nonetheless, we are arriving (yes another pun, better than the 1st one above. :op ) and it's making all the difference I'm sure with technological convenience with digital payment services. Since fumbling with loose coinage as monetary change when entering a bus is again harkening back to the old horse buggy trolley's of the late 19th century for passengers. Yes, be patient and go play "Minecraft" on your AR Visor of tomorrow folks.

Ivan "Atrayo" Pozo-Illas, has devoted 21 years of his life to the pursuit of clairvoyant automatic writing channeling the Angelic host. Ivan is the author of the spiritual wisdom series of "Jewels of Truth" consisting of 3 volumes published to date. He also channels conceptual designs that are multi-faceted for the next society to come that are solutions based as a form of dharmic service. Numerous examples of his work are available at "Atrayo's Oracle" blog site of 11 years plus online. Your welcome to visit his website "Jewelsoftruth.us" for further information or to contact Atrayo directly.