This article first appeared in the Railway-News magazine, Issue 3 2022.
Using on-board rugged tablets as mobile routers for ticketing and data exchange.
A large European transportation system has deployed hundreds of Handheld Algiz rugged tablets to its public buses — and they’re using the tablet’s 4G/LTE connection to bring each bus’s local network online.
Previously, ticketing systems would store a day’s worth of data — such as travel card funds, number of passengers, locations travelled, and quantity of tickets sold — and then sync up with the central server while plugged into a cable overnight. This caused some significant problems, especially for travel card users:
“If a bus is on the road at 6am, and at 7am I fill my empty travel card with money from my home computer or mobile phone, that bus will only have the data from the day before — when my card was empty.
“A less understanding driver could remove me from the bus.”
In contrast, buses equipped with a connected rugged tablet can exchange information in real time: each vehicle’s server is constantly refreshed with new data from the central server, and on-board transactions are sent to the central system immediately.
The transport authority worked with its local Handheld reseller to develop a solution that would keep buses connected all day, wherever they travel.
The Handheld team provided two custom settings for the agency’s new fleet of Algiz rugged tablets: first, they set the tablets to turn on automatically via a powered vehicle dock — when the bus starts, so does the computer. Then they enabled each unit to provide internet connection to its bus through tethering.
Here’s how it works: every bus in the system has its own small local network (LAN), where data is exchanged between the on-board computer and check-in and check-out points at the bus’s doors. Handheld’s customised, efficient bus solution allows the Algiz rugged tablet to become a mobile router, sharing its 4G internet connection to the LAN via a plugged-in RJ45 ethernet cable.
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