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The next step in systems integration

With the Smart pi ECOsystem, audio and visual passenger information systems are seamlessly incorporated. The next level is offered with the Smart pi EYE – Multi Agency, which offers the ability to integrate not only audio and visual signals from a single transport system, but also multiple transport systems.

Multi Agency offers an enhanced experience for the traveller, as it is very common for people to need to use more than one mode of transport on their journey. It also offers multiple transport providers a simple, effective way to display mixed transport information.

tm stagetec systems has worked over many years with manufacturer Smart Pi to develop this modular, networked passenger information system that can be easily customised to the demands of transport operators.

As one element within the broader Smart pi ECOsystem, the Smart pi EYE technology enables real time, accurate information to be part of the new norm for customers who use multiple modes to complete their journey.

There are many key advantages of using the Smart pi EYE (Digital Information/Signage System):

  • With Google AI, real time text is used and any live audio can be converted into text
  • Using Google AI means it is always at the leading edge of Voice to Text conversion
  • Customised templates show real time information and overlay real time text announcements for a pre-configured amount of time
  • The system is integrated with Smart pi DVA with linked meta data
  • The Show Hearing Loop logo is displayed on screens whilst announcements are playing
  • It is designed to select different accents, languages and pronunciations (for example Australian English).

Systems integration

tm stagetec systems general manager Mark Lownds said not only is it common for passengers to use multiple modes of transport on a journey, it is also common for many of these transport hubs to intersect.

“Think a train exchange where passengers change from suburban to country lines. Think a train station connected to a bus interchange, or a ferry terminal, the list goes on,” he said.

“Previously these transport providers have grown organically to have separate systems that were not integrated. Smart pi EYE Multi Agency offers these providers the opportunity to integrate their passenger display information.”

Smart pi EYE Multi Agency passenger information systems offer the ability to have multiple General Transit Feed Specification (GTFS) and General Transit Feed Specification Realtime (GTFS-R) data feeds combined into a single system and displayed on digital screens.

This technology is offered with the bonus of not having to drastically overhaul the individual systems of the different transport operators.

Multi Agency also offers:

  • Custom Display types used to display mixed information on a single screen to give the ability to easily read and digest transport times and information (for example multiple bus companies, buses and ferries, trains and buses or any other combination of these).
  • No limit to how many feeds can be used, and new feeds can be added as the system grows.
  • Screens which can include all available information, such as GPS location, delays, load data etc.
  • The use of Dante networking as needed.

The benefits of Multi Agency display for both passengers and transport providers are many, the most obvious for transport operators being a simple, effective and scalable way to display travel information to passengers in one place.

Multiple transport providers

tm stagetec systems are using their experience within the field of passenger information to enable these connections between various transport providers and their various components of audio and video technology.

The Smart pi ECOsystem is built upon the principles of open architecture, scalability, and reliability. The first principle was that the system had to be built on an open architecture, Lownds said.

“We hired a software development company called DeusO, who were involved in building the standards for audio and video communications protocol Open Control Architecture (OCA),” he said.

“With OCA we’re not just using it externally, we’re using the same protocol internally, even in the same device when we need to hand over information internally. It’s a big decision and investment to do it this way but it meant that we can be completely open, completely standard compliant and pretty fast to market.”

tm stagetec systems managing director Treva Head said an advantage of using the OCA was that it enabled the second principle that the Smart pi ECOsystem is built upon: scalability.

“This is especially important in terms of the Multi Agency concept as new transport feeds may be added to integrated systems over time, as transport networks grow and change with the needs of society,” he said.

“Why we decided to use OCA is because it’s scalable and it’s transport agnostic, so you could use it over TCP/IP or USB or WiFi or whatever you want to use it with. So, we’ve made sure that we can scale from very small to very big.”

The final principle in the Smart pi ECOsystem was reliability. With the company’s experience delivering audio technology for rail networks, tm stagetec systems knows that conditions are not always ideal.

Therefore it also aimed to limit the load that the technology would place on the network, especially when combining multiple transport providers.

With the basis in open architecture, scalability, and reliability, there is the potential for further uses to be integrated with the Smart pi ECOsystem, based on the needs of the individual transport operators.

“It’s a nice feeling when your customer comes to you and says, ‘I’d like to be able to do this,’ and you’ve already done it or it’s really easily done because we put so much work into how all the components are going to talk to each other from the ground up,” Lownds said.