Jeremy is Nomad Digital's Head of Solution Architecture and has been with the company for three years with responsibility for the architecture of Nomad's range of innovative technological solutions for the market place. Jeremy has over 25 years' experience in designing telecommunications networks for major service providers and national critical infrastructure in the transportation market, including safety critical systems for road-based traffic control and railway signalling. Notably, he was the named architect with the British government for the £500m National Roads Telecommunications Services project. Jeremy has held several senior positions at Vice President level with prominent telecommunications companies, including Alcatel Lucent and Newbridge Networks and has deployed projects across the world. Jeremy is an elected member within the Confederation of British Industry. He has a degree in Engineering and a post-graduate qualification in Business Administration.
Everyday life is impacted by our ever-increasing expectations of the digital communications world. The more technology we have at our disposal, the more we expect from it – and if the technology doesn’t deliver to our high standards, our satisfaction levels drop.
Currently the expectations of rail passengers – who are using their electronic devices on trains to hook up to the train operator’s on-board WiFi network – are clearly coloured by the wider existing perceptions of home broadband, office networks, and mobile wireless. Connectivity is now perceived as a need – almost on a par with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.
Yet almost oblivious to the 200km/h speed whilst hurtling along a track – a rail passenger just wants the same WiFi experience as they would expect in a static café on the high street. This expectation is natural, and therefore some educational and behavioural work needs to be done to set some realistic context and manage expectations. The challenge is that the bar is set so incredibly high by what we can all experience at home or in the office with instant, fast streaming on our smart phone.
And whilst internet access on-board trains was never meant to replicate a home broadband or office connection, we cannot escape the current comparisons in a user’s mind.
So, a useful starting point might be to look at what the UK’s Department for Transport (DfT) expect each UK train operating company (TOC) to offer their passengers in terms of on-board connectivity, through five Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). They state that each passenger should receive 1MB per second throughput when connected to an on-train WIFI system. And on busy routes, throughput (internet connection) should be available for 95% of the journey, and pro rata 1MB per user per minute should be available with a minimum of 30MB download.
And they have set out the services they expect passengers to consume to include:
- Business applications including email
- Internet browsing
- Video, film, news and music
- Social networks.
This sets a framework of expectation … to some degree. However, video, film and music absorbs more bandwidth than simple business email or internet browsing. As an agile business, Nomad has had to adapt to this increasing demand for increasing bandwidth and high-definition media content.