light rail, Passenger Rail, Products & Technology, Safety, Technology and IT

Smart upgrade for public information systems

Providing information to the public across public spaces and transport hubs must ensure messages and important notifications are clearly and concisely conveyed. 

As society moves further into the future, inclusivity has taken on so much more meaning than simply accommodating members of society that do not fit the stereotypical norms.   

There are so many people with different needs and levels of ability, who all need to be treated with fairness and equality. In terms of government and public policy, inclusivity also has a large role to play in how our cities and towns are planned out into the next part of the century.  

With public transport and infrastructure services, society has become aware of what it means to allow people of all abilities, languages, cultures, and creeds the freedom to feel as though they can travel with ease and comfort.   

People have the right to feel as though they can not only navigate a public transport system where they live, they also should have the ability to be enabled to find out information on services, be informed of safety messages and delays and clearly and concisely be conveyed important information.  

Equipped with this knowledge, Sydney-based technology systems integration company, tm stagetec systems, is showcasing the latest inclusive design development for public information display: a high quality fully integrated audio and visual system created by Smart pi.  

Get Smart  

Smart pi is an equipment manufacturer providing high-quality hardware and software for public information systems.   

Its innovative Smart pi ECOsystem offers more than just products and applications that communicate information to the general public.   

It’s a fully integrated smart public information environment, working as one seamless system across public spaces and transportation hubs of all sizes.  

  Inclusive design  

The fully modular Smart pi ECOsystem allows for specific options to be chosen by transport service providers.   

According to tm stagetec systems general manager, Mark Lownds, inclusive design in terms of the ECOsystem means that systems can be designed to keep in mind all people in a population.  

“The focus of inclusive design in this realm is on dissemination of public information easily and clearly to people that may be hearing impaired or visually impaired,” he said.   

“Inclusive design can also allow other people who may consume information differently to select the most convenient way to understand information.   

“This may be residents or tourists who speak and read different languages, people with sensory differences who choose to travel with headphones on and many other people in between.”    

                                                                                                 An example of a Smart Pi screen announcement.

The Smart pi ECOsystem aim of inclusive design is to deliver the same content in multiple ways, allowing people to self-select the way that is simplest and most effective for them to receive it. This selection process should be easy and make people as independent and self-sufficient as possible.  

Inclusive design also aims to support all relevant industry standards whilst also focusing on the future.   

For example, the NSW Government, Transport for NSW, has produced the Disability Inclusion Action Plan 2018-2022, which is part of Transport for NSW’s strategy to reach the long-term goal of ‘accessibility for all, no exceptions’.   

Lownds said the Plan places the needs of the customer at the centre of planning and decision-making for the transport system. This means delivering high quality services to all customers, including travel information such as signage and wayfinding.   

“The signage and wayfinding within the Smart pi ECOsystem is built with the understanding that as technology improves in the future, it will be able to be further incorporated into the ECOsystem once it is available,” he said.    

The ECOsystem includes the Smart pi EYE (Digital Information/Signage System), which offers the following features:  

  • Real time text and the ability to convert any live audio into text with google AI   
  • Using Google AI means it is always at the leading edge of Voice to Text conversion  
  • Ability to ustomise templates to show real time information and overlay real time text announcements for a pre-configured amount of time  
  • Average of five seconds to progress and display content  
  • Integrated with Smart pi DVA with linked meta data  
  • Show Hearing Loop logo on screens whilst announcements are playing  
  • Designed to select different accents, languages and pronunciations (for example Australian English)  
  • Ability to integrate multilingual features in the future  

Also included is the Smart pi DVA (Digital Voice Announcement), DSP and MIC, which allows:  

  • Smart pi NAM field hearing loop amplifier with delay and looped announcements  
  • Adding of meta data to display content of pre-recorded messages  
  • Multilingual support (announce in multiple languages)  
  • Speech to text (multiple languages and voices available from all leading providers)  

“The Smart pi ECOsystem has been designed to look, feel, and work as one. For example, the Smart pi DVA range can integrate with the Smart pi EYE to display the metadata of announcements being made on the visual displays as they are playing,” Lownds said. 

“The benefits of the Inclusive design within the Smart pi ECOsystem are to help all people, especially those with impairments to live and move throughout society as they choose.  

“With technology moving forward and changing so rapidly, keeping inclusivity as a priority in design can only further improve the lives of so many people and that is certainty something we aim to achieve at tm stagetec systems.”  

tm stagetec systems is the exclusive Australian distributor of the Smart pi ECOsystem.