Electronics Production | May 29, 2006
Icomera and Data Respons makes SJ become<br>Europe's most Connected Railway Operator
Icomera has in cooperation with embedded solutions provider Data Respons provided the Swedish railway operator SJ with internet and mobile telecom solutions.
SJ is currently in the process of deploying Internet onboard a total of 85 trains, making it most connected railway operator in Europe. This is being done as a part of a larger programme to revitalise SJ and includes among other things the total refurbishment of the premium long distance X 2000 high-speed trains, procurement of new double decker commuter trains, an updated concept for the on board restaurants, improved mobile connectivity and a new loyalty progamme. The new Internet service is realised by the Swedish company Icomera, who has also delivered their solution to leading British train operator GNER. Icomera was chosen due to the reliability of their system and the possibility to integrate new technologies as they become available. SJ's market research has shown that there is a strong demand for this service, perhaps primarily among the business travlers, but we have seen considerable interest from the leisure travelers as well. This is perhaps amplified by the fact that the service will be free of charge for first class customers. In second class it will cost around €5 for 30 minutes up to €11 for unlimited access for the entire journey. The Internet capacity is more than sufficient for common tasks like sending and receiving e-mails, connecting to the company network through a VPN connection and accessing regular web pages. These are services especially sought after by business travellers. SJ believe by offering this service they can make it possible, particularly for their commuter customers, to count some of the travelling time as work time, thereby increasing their effectiveness at work while freeing up some extra leisure time. So both the employer and the traveller benefits from this! There are two main reasons for SJ to make this service available to their customers. Firstly we hope to increase our market share by offering a more productive time while travelling than with any other means of transportation, and also provide incentives to our current customers to upgrade to first class. The other reason is to create a new source of revenue from the service fees in second class. In today's competitive market the profit margins for the core service is steadily decreasing and SJ have a desire to find ways to increase the revenue per customer. Providing new services is one way of achieving this goal. To use the service the customer needs a laptop computer with a Wireless LAN card. When starting the browser and trying to access a public web site, the browser is re-routed to the on board SJ landing page. There you type your access code, a new window opens, and you are ready to surf the web! On the landing page you also find links to the SJ web site, information about the service, a map which shows the current position of the train you are travelling on and banners for other SJ offerings. SJ is currently investigating ways of extracting even more benefits from the Internet system by adding new services on the landing page such as music and video downloads, games, news, mobile content and advertising. The new infrastructure that allows the train to be constantly on-line also enables SJ to launch a number of internal applications such as; on-line ticketing, digital document distribution to the on board personnel, up to the minute information on any delays, direct communication to the workshops on any maintenance that needs to be done the next time the train set is in that workshop and so on. There is of course substantial savings to be made in these operational areas and SJ is looking into all of these applications.