Q3 architected, designed, developed, and implemented a distributed Rail and Bus support system on the Blackberry and Android devices powered by an enterprise system built on the Blackberry enterprise server.
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The client is the world's leading transport operator and transports some 2.5 billion passengers a year. The client is Britain's largest bus operator running more than one in five of all local bus services. A fleet of nearly 8,500 buses carries 3 million passengers a day in more than 40 major towns and cities. Headquartered in Cincinnati, Client operates across the US and Canada. The Group's contract businesses include Yellow School Buses, Transit Contracting and Management Services, Vehicle Fleet Maintenance, and Support Services.
The Client was going through a business transition and had undertaken a massive and very visible modernization program. As a result, there was disruption of rail services due to station, signaling, and other upgrades. Station & on-train Customer Service Staff needed enhanced tools for latest information to serve passengers better and Journey planning tools with on-station SMS/email capability. Replacement buses were planned during the blockade and new applications needed to manage the smooth operation of these buses. There were several thousand target users (station/bus stop/on-train staff) with BlackBerry and Android devices who required these new applications. The Client train station & on-train staff needed tools to meet and exceed increased customer expectations related to travel information. They had a large UK workforce on the BlackBerry platform – BES (BlackBerry Enterprise Server). The solution was to build highly intuitive and responsive mobile applications deployed on the Rackspace Cloud that could provide real-time data to their staff.
Some of the challenges faced during the project are enlisted below:
- Distribution & Upgrade challenges
- Varied devices: OS versions, screen sizes, BES policy controlled, standalone
- Real-time train running data had to be extracted from several external data sources, parsed, consolidated, and displayed to users in an intuitive manner
- Extremely responsive and high availability apps required due to the volume of passengers being handled
- Frequent refinement of requirements that needed balancing application maintenance with new initiatives through proactive release management
- Extremely aggressive timelines- apps had to be delivered over Christmas due to planned blockades/upgrades