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London Midland unveils £1/4 million Labs

Press Release   •   Apr 12, 2017 19:08 BST

New era for improving rail journeys

“New era for improving rail journeys”

London Midland has officially opened its innovation centre at iCentrum on Birmingham’s Aston Science Park.

Labs by London Midland brings together ten of the UK’s hottest technology start-ups to work as partners in developing solutions that improve rail journeys. And the £1/4 million investment is already producing results.

Six of the first ten start-up companies have already had their ideas taken forward by the train company.

TransReport has developed an app that allows rail users to report train faults in real-time and stay informed about progress about fixing the fault. This is done by the passenger sending a picture of the fault/issue via the app. Sensors on board provide the rest of the information such as where the train the picture was taken and which service the passenger was using.

PopWork offers an app driven network of architecturally designed pop-up pods offering on demand meeting and touchdown space. The technology allows users to locate, book and open the pods from their smartphone or computer.

Warwick Analytics uses ‘big data’ analysis that will help improve support to customers during times of disruption. This means that analytics predictions that would normally take a data scientist months of labour to compile, can now take minutes.

Bracihasdevelopeda technology that listens to the train and identifies faults – like a modern day digital wheeltapper. The same technology can also ‘cut in’ to headphones so that important safety announcements are not missed by passengers connected to their smart devices.

KOMPAS is a new take on city exploration. It has been created to save users time, by presenting tailored suggestions, relevant reviews and a hassle-free way of getting people from A to B whilst exploring a city. It uses use smart algorithms and deep learning to understand the user as an individual, and subsequently builds recommendations based on these personal interests.

Touchbyte is an anonymous customer footfall, analytics, recognition and validation software system that uses the latest, cutting edge face recognition algorithms. This has potential to improve assisted travel and reduce anti-social behaviour as well as providing more accurate and frequent passenger counts.

Commenting on the opening of London Midland Labs, the train company’s managing director, Patrick Verwer said “Today marks a new era for improving rail journeys. At London Midland we are committed to making travel simple; creating simply better journeys for everyone. Technology has a massive part to play in making this happen. That is why we have invested in Labs by London Midland and why we are investing in some of the best new talent in the UK technology sector.”

The London Midland Labs is unique in the rail industry. It forms part of the train operator’s ongoing commitment to investing in innovative technologies that have tangible and timely passenger benefits. The Labs Accelerator Programme has been pioneered and created to continue to deliver on London Midland’s commitment to bringing it closer to all the communities it serves.

Ends

Notes to editors

Who’s who at the London Midland Labs?

KOMPAS is a new take on city exploration. It has been created to save users time, by presenting tailored suggestions, relevant reviews and a hassle-free way of getting people from A to B whilst exploring a city. It uses use smart algorithms and deep learning to understand the user as an individual, and subsequently builds recommendations based on these personal interests.

RailRepay is a compensation platform built specifically for consumers and the rail industry to improve the consumer experience and enable more efficient and accurate processing of valid delay or cancellation compensation claims. It means that customers can claim quicker, and rail companies can eradicate fraud by professional criminals.

Braci is a technology solution capable of detecting sounds on board a train, like station announcements and passenger information, and uses this to push easily understood sensory and visual notifications through smart devices.

Sphere is a machine-learning messaging platform which allows commuters to communicate with nearby transportation services through their social media channels. A passenger can talk to Facebook and ask what time their train is, what delays there are and which are the most effective travel routes.

TransReport has developed an app that allows rail users to report train faults in real-time and stay informed about progress about fixing the fault. This is done by the passenger sending a picture of the fault/issue via the app. Sensors on board provide the rest of the information such as where the train the picture was taken and which service the passenger was using.

PopWork offers an app driven network of architecturally designed pop-up pods offering on demand meeting and touchdown space. The technology allows users to locate, book and open the pods from their smartphone or computer.

QShy is an innovative take on mapping. Its software measures and manages pedestrian traffic using device and system data, and complex algorithms, and can suggest alternate routes for passengers to avoid lengthy queues, or crowded areas.

Touchbyte is an anonymous customer footfall, analytics, recognition and validation software system that uses the latest, cutting edge face recognition algorithms.

Warwick Analytics produces automated predictive analytics software. This means that analytics predictions that would normally take a data scientist months of labour to compile, can now take minutes. This will save on key investment and resource.

Limitless Travel provides incredible holidays, tours, accommodation and travel for everyone. They also provide anybody who has a disability a bespoke travel offering with support, tips, resource and logistical help.

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Since 2007, London Midland has been providing train services to and from London in the south, to Birmingham in the Midlands and Liverpool in the north-west.  Over 70 million passenger journeys a year are made using on the network and London Midland manages  150 stations and operates  1,300 services a day.

London Midland is owned by Govia, the partnership between the Go-Ahead Group and Keolis. Govia is the UK’s busiest rail operator, responsible for nearly 30 per cent of UK passenger rail journeys through its three rail companies, GTR (which includes Gatwick Express services), Southeastern and London Midland.  Further information on Govia is available at www.govia.info

London Midland has won a range of awards, including Best Local Transport Integration, five Rail Business Awards for marketing, public relations and customer information, five Golden Spanner Awards for Engineering, three IOIC awards for internal communication and three Railstaff Awards for Outstanding Customer Service, Lifesaving and Charity Work. In 2017 London Midland was named as Britain's most improved train company by the Institute of Rail Operators and the UK's most improved  organisation for customer service in the UKCSI survey.

In 2017 London Midland was awarded the Investors in People (IiP) Gold Award and been awarded the 5 Star award by the European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM) in 2014.

For more information about London Midland please visit the London Midland website or the newsroom website.

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