10 Welsh tech start-ups selected to participate in rail innovation project

Posted: 20 January 2020 |

Smart parking sensors, augmented reality way-finding and facial recognition security were a few of the ideas selected to participate in Transport for Wales’ (TfW) inaugural accelerator programme, Lab, which aims to improve the rail passenger experience.

10 Welsh tech start-ups selected to participate in rail innovation project

Launched in September 2019, the Transport for Wales’ (TfW) inaugural accelerator programme, Lab, is aimed at uncovering the next customer-focused innovations that could help in delivering outstanding experience for rail passengers. With 70 companies applying to take part, 16 of the best were short-listed to pitch their ideas for a new product or service that could solve a key rail industry challenge to stakeholders and decision-makers from across TfW Rail and network operator KeolisAmey.

The 10 strongest applicants have now been selected to take part in the 12-week accelerator, hosted at TfW’s dedicated innovation lab in Newport. They are:

  • Cleverciti – Manufacturers of overhead smart parking sensors. Its solution unites all aspects of smart parking management technology – including overhead sensors, mobile apps and analytics – into one integrated system
  • Big Lemon – An end-to-end consumer platform that simplifies passenger journeys and informs them about their full rail experience
  • Smart Bench – A smart public seating bench solution that improves station and depot environments for passengers and staff. The new seating will provide device and smartphone charging, WiFi, and LDC displays with journey information
  • Navilens: The Wayfarers – Using augmented reality to help passengers navigate stations more easily, making it a more user-friendly environment
  • UtterBerry – A sensor system that collects real-time information about train operations, including passenger numbers, necessary repairs and the causes of damage. It can also detect structural changes including displacement and tilt, as well as environmental factors such as temperature and humidity
  • Brite Yellow Limited – An indoor mapping, wayfinding and asset management solution to help transport operators create intelligent spaces, using augmented and virtual reality, to improve user experience and unlock new revenue
  • Realtime Knowledge – A digital platform, comprised of workflow management and data capture tools, that focuses on operational safety and security checks and inspections, as well as customer feedback
  • Hiperview – This platform provides instant customer feedback analysis collated through digital surveys, allowing operators to map journeys and identifying where and why issues have occurred
  • PassageWay – Transforms connected totems, kiosks and screens into real-time transport and digital wayfinding signs. PassageWay signs display local multi-modal mobility information with real-time updates, enabling operators to push information to both existing and new customers
  • TouchByte – A customer analytics and recognition solution, that uses face recognition technology to improve productivity and reduce costs. It helps to increase knowledge and data around passenger numbers, movements and visiting locations, as well as assisting with the identification of ‘Persons of Interest’ and boosting security.

Michael Davies, Insight and Innovation Manager at TfW, said: “We’ve been so impressed with the high calibre of ideas that have been pitched to us over this stage of the programme, making our job of selecting the best 10 extremely tough. It really is testament to the quality of innovative thinkers that we can find in Wales and around our borders that we’ve had so many applications. While the Lab offers a chance to celebrate this local talent, importantly it also presents the opportunity to develop and fast track any new ideas that can make a meaningful difference to passenger experience across our network.

“By April we will be able to demonstrate fantastic ideas that have formed into minimal viable products and can then be tested with staff and customers. We are in the process of identifying some key stakeholders to help support the programme, so if you see an idea that falls within your area and you’re happy to help support them over the project, please get in touch.”

The winning teams will be awarded a contract to fully develop their new solution, which will then be rolled out across the Wales and Borders rail network, operated by KeolisAmey.