Nomad’s response to the free WiFi transition was to design an enhanced solution, providing a reliable service to all passengers, with the capability to support their future needs and requirements.
The upgrades deployed by Nomad have been extensive and represent a significant advancement in capability. Nomad provides a long‐term partnership working in collaboration with CrossCountry to future‐proof the solution. CrossCountry is not only utilising Nomad’s latest software technology, but also the latest in hardware. This delivers a significant step change, offering a more stable, performant and secure solution.
For the HST fleet, Nomad provided a dual backbone solution to support critical and non-critical applications. The first ethernet backbone supports the delivery of a free passenger WiFi service throughout the train. This ethernet backbone also provides a dedicated WiFi solution, allowing on-train staff to access the internet. The second ethernet backbone on the HST fleet connects the train monitoring systems, with the ability to deliver data from train to shore and to initiate alerts identified within the critical network.
Across all three fleets, the new portal environment provides CrossCountry with the future capability to provide rich media content, such as film and box sets, through its on‐board server environment, which can help minimise passenger WiFi usage, as the film and video content is provided and updated on servers located on‐board. The portal also provides CrossCountry with a potential future revenue generation opportunity, via third‐party advertising and sponsorship opportunities, and loyalty rewards to encourage repeat passenger usage of the portal and its content.
To overcome the challenges associated with the move from a paid for to free for all WiFi and to ensure that all customers receive a fair service, a Fair Usage Policy has also been put in place. The new WiFi solution enables on-train staff to provide a range of additional features such as e-ticketing, seat reservations and catering order facilities. Nomad’s solution also includes the provision of Fleetview. Fleetview is a secure, cloud‐based operational reporting platform complete with export and sharing tools. This provides CrossCountry’s engineering teams a near real‐time view on the performance of the on‐board connectivity systems facilitating faster resolution should any issues occur.
For the customer experience package, Nomad designed and developed a combined bespoke hardware and software solution that would mimic a customer’s connection to the on-board portal and internet. This tests the availability of the on-board access point and portal page, monitors predefined websites and captures the performance of visiting these sites. The solution also performs speed tests to understand the down-load speeds passengers are experiencing. This automated tool allows Nomad to inform CrossCountry about any below baseline performance issues, the data is fed into FleetView for CrossCountry to analyse and investigate where necessary. Nomad are continually developing new features to the customer experience package in order to maintain a high level of customer satisfaction.
Nomad’s solution also incorporates the latest security enhancements and includes the latest web filtering tools to prevent the download of any offensive materials.