The Record - Issue 18: Autumn 2020

154 www. t e c h n o l o g y r e c o r d . c om collection are likely to play a greater role in trans- port post-Covid, as they reduce the number of passenger touchpoints. Cubic TouchPass is an example of an account-based fare collection system which can be deployed in as little as three months. The organisation is also updating touchpoints for a more hygiene-conscious world by making them entirely hands-free. The Cubic Virtual Ticket Agent Module offers touch-free interac- tion with ticket vending machines by allowing a remote ticket agent to provide complete cus- tomer service – from selling a ticket to answer- ing questions and solving problems. The pandemic has clearly had mixed effects on the industry. Innovative opportunities in tech- nology have been created, while people, organ- isations and the world have suffered huge losses. “On the one hand, the global lockdowns have reduced pollution levels, with so many people house-bound,” says Ion. “But on the other hand, as people start leaving their homes again, many are choosing to use their own cars instead of pub- lic transport, in order to maintain social distance. “While we are supporting the industry to rebuild people’s trust in public transportation, we also need to raise awareness about the con- sequences of their choices, for example by show- ing them the environmental impact of different modes of transport.” Ion believes that the pandemic and its effects on people’s behaviour will provide the industry with some lessons to learn from. “The first is that real-time data collaboration is key to creating multi-modal journey planners, calculating pollution impact and recommending greener options where possible, as well as devel- oping incentives to drive positive change. “The second is that accessibility and sustain- ability should be embedded in the design and operation of any mobility ecosystem,” she says. “An example of this is with Azure Maps. We have partnered with a number of content providers to make data that is critical for city planning availa- ble natively through its application programming interface.This includes real-time traffic, ride-share and weather forecast data from AccuWeather.” In addition to sustainability and ensuring the welfare of passengers, the initiative is also look- ing at ways to mitigate the losses created by the lockdown period and restore this revenue through data-enabled services. “Operational cost optimisation needs to sup- port a sustainable, inclusive transport system moving forward,” Ion explains. “Technology like AI, data and the internet of things can keep costs down by improving fuel consumption, ena- bling predictive maintenance to reduce down- time-related costs, realising energy savings, enabling smart depots, and allowing intelligent fleet management and route optimisation.” The transportation systems of the future could look quite different to what we know now, and Microsoft and its partners are doing their part to realise this safely and sustainably. F E ATUR E We asked a selection of Microsoft partners about how they are helping to create more sustainable transportation systems, and enable greater agility during this time of global pandemic Partner perspectives “During these months of global uncertainty, Beabloo created and launched Interaction Care (IC), a solution designed to help businesses stay safe during the pandemic by detecting high-risk interactions, managing occupancy, and displaying helpful messages on digital signage screens. Many of the components of IC are based on technologies from Beabloo’s Active Customer Intelligence Suite (ACIS), which uses sensors to optimise physical spaces and improve the customer experience. These solutions are easily deployed on transportation systems, from stations to the vehicles themselves. For example, IC Mask Detection can check if people are wearing masks before boarding a bus and send an alert if they aren’t. IC Occupancy Control can limit overcrowding by providing accurate people- counting and clear signage. Beabloo technologies collect data in real time and provide automatic responses to people’s behaviour.” Jaume Portell CEO and co-founder at Beabloo “Technology like AI, data and the internet of things can keep costs down by improving fuel consumption”