WORLD PREMIERE: A BRAVE NEW WORLD FOR INNOVATION IN RAIL
Written by Frederic Kalinke
It was a “World Premiere, Red Carpet” kind of week for SilverRail as we aired the first ever showing of our Future of Rail short film at the Rail Executive’s Rail Industry Day 2015 in London on the 7th July.
Our 5 minute film, which we made in preparation for the Department for Transport’s annual industry gathering, gave a glimpse into the (near) future of just how slick and technologically connected rail travel could look for passengers should today’s existing, proven technology be properly harnessed by the industry.
Focusing on push notifications, sharing and social media and centralised data enhancing booking and ticketing, the video showed the sort of rail travel we all wish we could enjoy every day (and in fact the kind of on-the-move experience we are becoming used to elsewhere – yes we are looking at you air travel).
As I said to the auditorium, which was filled with 450 of the most senior rail industry executives from across the UK, Europe and Asia, while introducing our film, rail suffers from a customer experience problem. The public is quick to knock rail travel, and to do so publically. To survive – let alone thrive – the industry needs to change and adapt. Some of this change may be slow (infrastructure improvement for example), but some can be rapid. Smart adoption of relevant technology is something that can be implemented quickly by those rail operators willing to take the step.
It seems our movie got folk talking! The conference host Alison Phillips, Patrick Bossert, Digital Transformation Director at Network Rail and Jason Hurst, commercial manager at ICWC all referred to the Future of Rail in their presentations, and Mark Ruddy, COO for Transport Catapult even gave me a personal name check: “You’ve heard a lot about innovation in mobility already today, particularly from Will from SilverRail” (thanks Mark!).
Our brave new world of rail travel was built on three core principles:
- The Consumer perspective must come first! Be the customer. Experience what they experience.
- Recognise that competition is not just other trains; it is any other transport option out there and, in an increasingly connected world, it is the choice not to travel
- Smaller is better – we’re not only referring to “mobile first” but rather that innovation should be constant, iterative delivery and refinement.
We think our video showed just what a difference these principles can make.
We would like to thank the Department for Transport for the invitation to present our vision and for screening our film at the Rail Executive Industry Day on 7th July 2015.