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Mobile Display of #NewJerseyTransit #Bus and #Train Updates

Posted on January 14th, 2016

MobileDevNJ

01/14/2016 @ 50 Harrison St, Hoboken, NJ

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Bob James @ NJTransit spoke about their acquisition and dissemination of real-time train and bus data. This is exemplified by the current bus locations shown on 198.177.3.211.

Bob talked about 12 years of automating the collection and reporting of real-time data. The initial goal was to automate arrival and departure announcements at train stations. Doing this required locations of trains and buses in real time. This eventually led to DepartureVision and other in-station and mobile displays of arrival times. (Locations with LED signs will eventually have countdowns included in the display.) Systems are also being upgraded from recordings (female voice) to text-to-speech systems (currently a male voice) by Loquendo. In most cases, the triggering of announcements is fully automated.

Ticket sales were the first items in the mobile app. This was followed by trip planning, station information, etc.

Buses. Currently all 4,000 buses are tracked by GPS. The MyBus app shows bus locations in real time. A system was also developed to record when buses leave, number of passengers, departure gate, … This is populated by a central database and updated using mobile apps. Within NJT, eStarter, a mobile app reporting arrivals and departures at Port Authority, is used by dispatchers to reschedule and redirect buses to keep them on time. The system replaces manually created monthly performance reports. It also has proven useful during storms when counts of morning commuters are used to estimate the evening demand. Clever Device automates the counting of people boarding and exiting each bus.

Trains. The position of each train is reported by track circuits since trains do not have GPS on board. 50 stations have wifi provided by CableVision. Spring 2016 will see the rollout of onboard wifi. Currently, most mobile access is through 3rd party apps which can combine data from other transit providers. Eventually he sees a move from the current feeder system to Uber. This will also make it easier for all riders to get to and from the train station.

posted in:  applications, MobileDevNJ, UI    / leave comments:   1 comment

#AppleWatch & #PlaceCodes

Posted on April 8th, 2015

#MobileDevNJ

4/8/2015 @Mission50 room 213, 50 Harrison Street, Hoboken, NJ

The presenters were

  1. Peter Kramer talking about his experience developing and app for the Apple Watch
  2. David Ingerman @PlaceCodes, tells mobile users the nearest place to purchase a product

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Peter Kramer talked about his experience extending his stock position app to display daily returns on the Apple Watch. His original StockPosition app monitors how your positions performed during the trading day.

He was invited to Apple’s headquarters to expand his app to display on the Apple watch. His app, “Watch My Stock” is currently being reviewed for inclusion in the App Store. The data download is still done by the phone, but the returns are communicated to the watch over a Bluetooth link. He found that the slowness of communication had a major effect on his interface design on the watch. These included:

  1. There was a delay in the download using an actual watch. This delay affected the program design. However, the simulator showed an immediate download.
  2. Since it could take 5 seconds to transmit the portfolio, the interface was designed to display the initial entries on the top of the screen as a fixed image while downloading the remaining positions which were in a more general format. These positions would be revealed only when the display was scrolled.

His description of the interface, communication link, available hardware, and programming constructions such as notifications , etc. lead me to believe that the general programming tools and hardware limitations for the Apple watch are similar to those of the Android watches. Peter was more ambitious in developing his application than I have been in my Google watch application, however, some of the issues he encountered appear to be due to quirks in Objective-C. Swift and ADT/Java may not have some of these issues.

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David Ingerman @PlaceCodes: “the shortest distance between intent and purchase”, helps businesses drive consumers to physical locations. Their approach disintermediates Google by giving the seller control over the list provided to the customer of the nearby locations selling the product.

For example if a mobile user wants to buy Friendly’s ice cream, a custom web page from PlaceCode can provide nearby locations of both restaurants and supermarkets selling the product. By contrast a Google search only shows the restaurant locations and will show locations for competitors.

David talked about how their approach can include promotions. He gave an example in which customers could win football tickets when they went to a Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant on Tuesday nights. When the user opened the app on a Tuesday it would display a sweepstakes entry form if the customer was at a Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant. If it was a Tuesday, but the customer was not at a restaurant, the app would show the nearby restaurants. If it was not a Tuesday, it would show the nearby locations and invite the customer to come back on a Tuesday to enter the contest.

He talked about how the user locations where the app was opened could be mapped in real time versus the store locations. He also talked about future developments including

  1. A customer searching for locations could save a reminder/coupon to buy the product upon arriving at the store.
  2. Image recognition: a scanned billboard or other advertising image would open a list of nearly stores.

posted in:  applications, iOS, MobileDevNJ    / leave comments:   No comments yet