Le Monde Awards Connecthings for International Efforts to Support Blind Commuters

Last March, Connecthings partnered with RATP Dev US, Capital Metro and BlindSquare to conduct a pilot program designed to transform the way blind and visually impaired transit users interact with service in the city of Austin, Texas.

Through the use of Connecthings urban location technology and mobility intelligence, users of the popular navigation application are now able to automatically obtain real-time information on bus schedules and receive service alerts when they are near the bus stop.

The innovative program eliminates barriers to communication that can complicate the lives of the visually impaired and demonstrates how well transportation systems can deliver clear and effective information to first-mile users when leveraging location intelligence technologies.

Highlighting the program’s success, Le Monde selected Connecthings for the “Smart Cities World” Mobility Award as part of its third annual international competition focused on urban innovation projects. The award honors urban innovation actors who provide services that enhance quality of life and protect the environment. Winners were selected by an international jury composed of academics, urban planners, architects, experts from private or public companies, and journalists from Le Monde. Awards were presented on Wednesday, July 11, at a conference on cities of tomorrow organized by Le Monde at Marina Bay Sands, held in conjunction with the World Cities Summit in Singapore.

The Austin pilot is a prime example of how Connecthings intelligent location solutions can drive urban engagement and create a more valuable application experience for users.

 

Connecthings signs a partnership with Citygoo to offer ridesharing options in case of delays in public transport

Connecthings has signed a partnership with Citygoo, a leading car pooling app in France, to create an exclusive Smart Alert© service that warns the user of the delay or cancellation of their next bus or train while offering them a ride-share alternative.

By joining their know-how in geo-location and machine learning, the two start-ups intend with Smart Alert© to bring to Citygoo’s 400,000 users a smarter, faster and more connected mobility experience. And thus transform them into “Smart Citizens”.

Smart Alert © relies on real-time information from transit network activity as well as other contextual elements such as traffic or the local weather. Thanks to the Citygoo app, users will quickly find a solution to their transport problems in case of disruption to their normal commute.

Patrick Robinson Clough, CEO of Citygoo: “By combining our strengths, the creation of Smart Alert© will enable our users to benefit from connected intelligence to enhance their day-to-day travel experience. No more delays or cancellations prevented at the last moment without any back-up solution. Our app users could become Smart Citizens in a very simple way, without any cost to them”

“This partnership with Citygoo is the result of a change in people’s mobility behaviours towards growing intermodality, which will be of great benefit to citizens in their everyday travels”, Laetitia Gazel Anthoine, CEO of Connecthings

“With this intelligent, personalized and non-intrusive alert system, we bring added value making communication between the application and the user more relevant and making it easier to make decisions among the different options available when needed”, adds Laetitia Gazel Anthoine, CEO of Connecthings.

Based on its machine learning technology at the heart of its urban covert platform, Citygoo saves time and money on journeys poorly served by transport. A convenient way of getting around, Citygoo is specially designed for suburban or suburban commuter journeys where transportation offers are particularly limited or even absent.

The only platform to offer instant carpooling, to date the application facilitates 100,000 journeys per month, which places it as one of the leaders in urban ride-sharing with a market share estimated at 45% of all trips made.

Connecthings provides the Citygoo application with true location intelligence that includes multiple real-time data points. Combining this intelligent geolocation expertise with mobile expertise and tools, Connecthings enables application vendors such as Citygoo to create more engagement by triggering the app at the right time and in the right place.

Connecthings launches pilot program bringing Capital Metro bus information to people who are blind or visually impaired in Austin

  • Network of beacons at bus stops deliver real time schedule and alert information to riders via the BlindSquare app
  • Demostration is part of AustinCityUp’s vision of using innovation to facilitate a truly inclusive community while raising the quality of life in the city

Austin, Texas (U.S.) — Connecthings launched today a pilot program to deliver real time Capital Metro bus schedule and service alert information to riders who are blind or visually impaired. The program, which will run for the next sixty days at sixteen Capital Metro bus stops across downtown Austin, was developed in partnership with RATP Dev USA, Capital Metro’s bus service operations and management partner, BlindSquare, the world’s most popular accessible GPS application for people who are blind or visually impaired, and BlueCats, manufacturers of the world’s most advanced Bluetooth® Low Energy (BLE) beacons and intelligent internet of things (IIoT) asset tracking solutions.

This digital infrastructure, powered by Connecthings, works in connection with the BlindSquare app to transform how transit riders, who are blind or visually impaired, interact with public transportation in Austin. Through the app, riders can now get real-time bus schedule and service alert information automatically when in proximity to the stop. BlindSquare brings the riders to the stop, and supports the continuation of the journey to the destination of choice when exiting the bus.

For riders who are blind or partially sighted, Connecthings, Capital Metro and RAPT Dev are breaking down key communication barriers

“Technology is a remarkable thing. Every day new developments, devices and discoveries are made which have the potential to change the world as we know it,” said Laetitia Gazel Anthoine, CEO of Connecthings. “For riders who are blind or partially sighted, Connecthings, Capital Metro and RAPT Dev are breaking down key communication barriers that can inhibit the lives of those who are, in this case, visually impaired. This pilot program will demonstrate how easily and efficiently transportation systems can deliver information to riders from the first mile to the last mile.”

“The use of beacons, especially integrated with smart mobile apps, provides the potential of many useful applications that can benefit the community,” said Joe Iannello, Capital Metro vice president and chief information officer, and President of Austin CityUP. “This initial demonstration in Austin with Connecthings, BlueCats and BlindSquare is a first step in exploring some of those benefits.”

“We push back on the void of darkness, replacing it with the illumination of information – daily.” said Ilkka Pirttimaa, CEO of BlindSquare. “With BlindSquare we support independent travel – a necessary ingredient for life, employment and pure fun for all – now delivered by Capital Metro/Austin Public Transit, a  service ready, willing and now able to close the void for riders in Austin who are blind.”

At launch, the pilot program will only be open to a select number of “beta-riders” that will use the app on a daily basis while providing feedback and input for optimizing and improving the service.

“Quality service and innovation are benchmarks of our core services and those of our transportation partners like Capital Metro,” said Sandy Freeman, Vice President, Innovation & Product Delivery at RATP Dev U.S. “This is especially true of our Paratransit services where we make it as easy as possible for any passenger to reach any destination, at any time. Testing this technology in Austin demonstrates our dedication to technological innovations in transportation.”

This program is just one of many services that can be enabled by Connecthings in a smart city environment.  In addition to delivering real-time bus information to the blind and visually impaired, the same information can be access by other riders via push notifications. In June 2017, Connecthings joined AustinCityUp, a smart city consortium of companies, organizations, and individuals collaborating on activities that advance Austin, TX through digital technologies, data collection, analytics, and modeling.


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