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Touching in and touching out everyday can be annoying, especially when you’re prone to loosing your Oyster card to the bottom of your oversized backpack, difficult indeed. But what if you didn't have to take the card out of your bag every time you needed to enter the tube?
That would be the dream, and with beacons it can now become a reality.
A card-less operation would begin with a deployment of beacons at every London Station, coupled with a smart phone app available for free download on iOS and Android Devices.
The app will register a users existing Oyster card account with the app, providing real time updates of available funds and allowing a commuter to opt for automatic top ups when funds fall low.
When approaching a train entry way (within half a metre range), no need to take out your Oyster card, instead your smart phone will register your exact location and know exactly when to allow you access through security gates. If a user does not have automatic top ups enabled and enters the station with low funds, a push notification will be sent advising that they will need to add funds before boarding a train.
This impressive technology will also mean that users will no longer need to take their card with them anymore, or even have one, as they will now also have the option of purchasing an oyster card through the app. Just make sure to keep your smart phone charged throughout the day if you intend on boarding the train more than once. Keep up to date with train schedules
A more impressive way to keep up to date with train schedules and updates on arrivals and departures trains will be available through this beacon deployment. A commuter can add their desired train time and station into the app, this will prompt push notifications of any change to services including changes to platforms. You can even use the app to ask questions, ‘When is the next service to Tottenham Court Road?’ or ‘What is the quickest way to get to Waterloo?’.
The engagement level which beacons can provide its users is incredibly impressive.
Which carriage to board?
Ever run to a platform to make sure you board a specific train and notice what feels like a thousand people have just done the same thing? With no time to run to another carriage you're stuck on the busiest one. Now with the help of beacons that will no longer be an issue. A users app will recognise your location and proximity to a certain platform directing you to the emptiest carriage on the departing service, you might just be able to find a seat on a peak train now.
Use your smartphone on platforms and entry ways to get the latest information on shows, live music events and movies advertised on billboards and signs all around the station. Your phone can hover over a beacon near a sign to gain information, as well as direction to ticket purchasing sites. The beacon enabled advertisements can be used by companies and performers to provide exclusive discounts, experiences and competitions to commuters, even starting scavenger hunts on various tube lines.
These are only a few of the ways Localz thinks beacons could revolutionise the way we experience public transport in London.