Business Travel Goes High Tech on the Rails
Feeling connected for work or leisure has become an essential part of everyone's life, especially when travelling for business. This is why Canadian transportation providers such as VIA Rail are working to give its clients the most reliable access possible to web and mobile services throughout their travel experience.
“Our research has shown that Canadians want a simple and seamless travel experience that covers the entire trip, from planning to post-trip. It is also critical for customers to always stay connected," explained Chad McLarnon, Manager, Business solutions for VIA Rail, who, in response to this research and growing customer demand for mobile services, recently launched its first ever mobile booking engine.
Accessible on any mobile device, all you need to do is type m.viarail.ca on your mobile web browser and you can buy ticket or rail passes in a secure environment, access real-time departure and arrival time updates for Montreal-Windsor corridor trains and develop a traveller profile to make ticket purchase easier and quicker.
Once booked, business travellers can, on the date of departure, show the agent at the boarding gate the e-boarding passes that appear on their smartphone and have their ticket scanned and validated, bypassing the ticket office and making it ideal, especially for people in the remote communities that VIA serves.
Once aboard, aside from the comfort, safety, and of course the views, business class on VIA Rail offers the ideal conditions for work or play: optimized lighting, seats equipped with power outlets and fold-out table for your portable computer or tablet, a delicious meal, exclusive access to the pre-departure and on-board lounges and, most of all, the world's fastest Wi-Fi system on rails.
Since January 2011 all train sets running in the Quebec City-Windsor corridor that include a business class car have been equipped with VIA's second generation Wi-Fi system and are successfully keeping passengers connected with a 99.5 plus per cent coverage rate.
So what makes VIA's Wi-Fi the “fastest on rails”?
The system carries eight antenna receptors on the roof of one of the front-most cars of each train set (known as the “brain car”) to ensure more “hit” points, which translates into fewer dropped signals and faster downloads. Also VIA aggregates not just one, but three wireless providers that service the corridor to ensure the system is constantly scanning the signals and choosing the strongest in any given area resulting in virtually no “black holes” along the route.
Business travellers can count on a system that rarely disappoints, and an opportunity for long stretches of productivity – or leisure - on their trip. More information on business travel is available at www.viarail.ca.
-- News Canada
Intelliwave SiteSense boosts APTIM material tracking
“We’ve been engaged with the APTIM team since early 2019 providing SiteSense, our mobile construction SaaS solution, for their maintenance and construction projects, allowing them to track materials and equipment, and manage inventory.
We have been working with the APTIM team to standardize material tracking processes and procedures, ultimately with the goal of reducing the amount of time spent looking for materials. Industry studies show that better management of materials can lead to a 16% increase in craft labour productivity.
Everyone knows construction is one of the oldest industries but it’s one of the least tech driven comparatively. About 95% of Engineering and Construction data captured goes unused, 13% of working hours are spent looking for data and around 30% of companies have applications that don’t integrate.
With APTIM, we’re looking at early risk detection, through predictive analysis and forecasting of material constraints, integrating with the ecosystem of software platforms and reporting on real-time data with a ‘field-first’ focus – through initiatives like the Digital Foreman. The APTIM team has seen great wins in the field, utilising bar-code technology, to check in thousands of material items quickly compared to manual methods.
There are three key areas when it comes to successful Materials Management in the software sector – culture, technology, and vendor engagement.
Given the state of world affairs, access to data needs to be off site via the cloud to support remote working conditions, providing a ‘single source of truth’ accessed by many parties; the tech sector is always growing, so companies need faster and more reliable access to this cloud data; digital supply chain initiatives engage vendors a lot earlier in the process to drive collaboration and to engage with their clients, which gives more assurance as there is more emphasis on automating data capture.
It’s been a challenging period with the pandemic, particularly for the supply chain. Look what happened in the Suez Canal – things can suddenly impact material costs and availability, and you really have to be more efficient to survive and succeed. Virtual system access can solve some issues and you need to look at data access in a wider net.
Solving problems comes down to better visibility, and proactively solving issues with vendors and enabling construction teams to execute their work. The biggest cause of delays is not being able to provide teams with what they need.
On average 2% of materials are lost or re-ordered, which only factors in the material cost, what is not captured is the duplicated effort of procurement, vendor and shipping costs, all of which have an environmental impact.
As things start to stabilise, APTIM continues to utilize SiteSense to boost efficiencies and solve productivity issues proactively. Integrating with 3D/4D modelling is just the precipice of what we can do. Access to data can help you firm up bids to win work, to make better cost estimates, and AI and ML are the next phase, providing an eco-system of tools.
A key focus for Intelliwave and APTIM is to increase the availability of data, whether it’s creating a data warehouse for visualisations or increasing integrations to provide additional value. We want to move to a more of an enterprise usage phase – up to now it’s been project based – so more people can access data in real time.