Journeo relies on Pelion connectivity to create constantly connected transport solutions that enable remote management and delivers actionable fleet insights across the whole of the United Kingdom

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Journeo depends on ultra-reliable Pelion connectivity and flexible tariffs to keep its customers’ vehicles and IoT devices connected efficiently
 
Journeo has been delivering innovative integrated solutions for public transport and infrastructure customers for many years, helping them create connected systems and deliver connected passenger journeys.
 
Since 2014, Pelion has supplied Journeo not just managed connectivity for its IoT solutions but also self-service portal-based management, ongoing technical support and value-added routers with pre-integrated connectivity. Journeo uses this to support multiple customer accounts, ranging from local authorities to transport operators across the United Kingdom.
 
The most significant of Journeo’s Pelion SIM deployments is within First Bus, one of the largest bus operators in the United Kingdom. It serves 40 towns and cities across the United Kingdom – from Aberdeen in the far north of Scotland to Cornwall 600 miles (1,000 km) away on the southern coast of England – connecting more than 4,500 buses in First Bus’s fleet of which there are just over 4,000 CCTV buses from 50 depots connected to the Journeo Portal.
 
We spoke with Paul Hopkinson, Group Development Manager at Journeo about his experience of working with Pelion on the technical deployment. Mike Sixsmith, Account Manager in charge of the First Bus relationship provided a customer-side perspective.
 

Connecting buses & services

Journeo delivers all First Bus requires to manage its fleet-wide CCTV, Vehicle Tracking and Routing, Ticketing & Payment Services as well as Digital Signage and more. Everything is run via an integrated portal that helps First Bus manage its infrastructure, with IoT technology fitted across the fleet. These must connect seamlessly via any wireless network, to keep data flowing constantly for fleet management and evidence retrieval services.
 
Paul oversees this significant network of SIMs via the Pelion platform. He stated that: “Pelion has enabled all the connections we’ve done recently, and we now have more than 13,000 devices live across First Bus and other customers. We work with Pelion to make sure every part of our IoT solution for the customer operates together properly.”
 
 
This is just the current incarnation of a long technical journey between First Bus and Journeo, Mike recalled: “Journeo began by helping First Bus to evolve their CCTV monitoring from collecting hard drives from individual buses to a remote monitoring model enabling them to connect remotely and download footage.”
Since digitising the flow of security video, the options for connecting buses have expanded enormously, he continued: “Where Pelion and our Edge router come in is providing the SIMs that connect to other key systems on the bus, such as the next stop signage, audio visual announcements for passengers, and the destination signs on the front of each bus. This all used to be manual and very expensive – involving people going to each bus and swapping out USB memory sticks in between route cycles. Now it is all done remotely, and it couldn’t be done without the connectivity.”

Tariff flexibility influenced choice

Pelion offered Journeo an aggregated data pool, and this was an attractive option. Although each SIM installed in Journeo technology for customers individually provides 1GB, data usage varies constantly between those installed in different places or vehicles.
 
Pelion aggregates the data allowance for Journeo across all connections, on the same tariff. With more than 13,000 SIMs active for Journeo’s customers, Journeo have a massive pool of over a 130 Terabytes of high-capacity data to serve their customer’s needs. This means Journeo can assure customers like First Bus of the higher capacity to use whenever and wherever it is needed and can see and manage data utilisation via the Pelion portal.
 
“The flexible data really helped sell the concept for the current project to First Bus,” Mike said. With CCTV in particular, the amount of footage an analyst or operative will download from a bus is usually limited to keep data use down, but sometimes you need much more if there’s a road traffic or passenger incident.
 
The aggregated data charging model alongside the Pelion portal visibility gives Journeo the ability to offer innovative and adaptive solutions to customers. It can then monitor customer data usage and spot any excessive use which might exceed agreed service levels and take appropriate action.
 
As a result, Journeo increased the number of Pelion connections over time. Paul confirmed that “Pelion is our primary SIM card provider. We also have SIMs from another provider but are reducing those as fast as we can because they aren’t as responsive, and their tariffs are less flexible so the data charges can be higher.”
 
He reflected: “What I appreciate about Pelion is that they are never just trying to sell products. They actively engage with your application and work with you to make sure you can create the best solution for the customer. That’s a big difference from some other providers we’ve used.”
 
When unexpected needs arise, Pelion continues to be adaptive with tariffs, Paul added: “We also needed some creative tariffs after the UK left the EU. Journeo has some applications that needed export tariffs where vehicles were crossing the border, such as between Northern and Southern Ireland. Pelion provided multi-network SIMs that could connect with network providers in both areas.”
 

Always-on responsiveness

Although Pelion delivers 99.99% uptime in its own connectivity infrastructure, system outages can still be caused by a number of factors in any system involving multiple service providers, devices and networks. However, Paul is quite confident that he has support when it is needed. He remarked that: “All providers have outages from time to time – the important thing is how you handle them. Pelion is incredibly responsive, especially in the last two years since becoming independent. They are always willing to help technically when we ask. If we have an issue they are always available – and that includes senior management.”
 
This became very clear when a bus-station sign outage suddenly arose last year, he explained. We have excellent monitoring in place across the Journeo system, but with several layers is often unclear where the issue lies. Not everyone is willing to help us over the weekend, but one of Pelion’s senior technical managers was available and worked with our engineers as they found and solved the problem with our cloud provider. That left a lasting impression.”
 
Mike has experienced no issues, and simply stated: “Paul assured us that Pelion could supply SIM cards that would not fail – and he has proven to be right. It’s one less thing to worry about.”
 

Creating a connected future

This technical relationship has already evolved from pure business to include a degree of socialisation over food and drinks, whenever the Journeo and Pelion team meet up in Glasgow. Ideas about commercial and technical innovations are often exchanged, as the team discusses the potential of real-time data to enable the future of connected transport. Both companies are collaborative in nature with an ecosystem of potentially mutually beneficial relationships in the transport community, presenting many opportunities to work together in the future.
 
Pelion is Journeo’s partner of choice on several current security equipment projects being deployed within public transport networks. It continues to call on Pelion to help support connectivity for customer solutions, Paul said. “Pelion are always happy to help us help our end users and that’s a real value-add compared to other providers.”
 
The future of connected public transport services depends on ultra-reliable connections for real-time data applications and solutions. Mike summed it up neatly: “Without a reliable communication system, providing operators with remote access services could never work. None of the ideas from policymakers to encourage people to use public transport with the help of apps that tell them the bus they need is minutes away can work unless you have a system that connects everything constantly and that will work all the time.”
 
Download the Journeo Case Study HERE

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