“We’re not only adjusting and compensating the PA performance by using these microphones, but also using them to select and listen to individual platforms and monitor the audio transmissions in real conditions,” said Rountree. “We are able to do all of that remotely over the network using the software and have access from anywhere that has a corporate network computer, which saves us a tremendous amount in labor.”
Info on the Go
Passengers with SmartPhone interface capability can access train and bus information via their BlackBerry devices and iPhones direct from the organization’s Web site. The information is propagated to a Web page direct from the database systems. This is the same information that appears on the digital signs.
“The dynamic signage distribution really represents the seamless integration that went into this system,” said Loucas. “We have added new layers of service we didn’t offer before. Anyone who can access the Internet using a Web-enabled mobile device can access our Web site and view the schedules on the go.”
Even with this much going on, Rountree and his team are still looking at other possibilities. Rountree and Ramsay have been communicating with Barix to add a less complex PA element to remote bus depots that cannot be tied to the network infrastructure.
The configuration adds an amplifier inside the Barix Exstreamer (called the Exstreamer 200) and directly connects it to a pair of smaller loudspeakers, removing the requirement and expense of a separate amplifier. A small digital sign is also added, allowing delivery of audio and visual information to the locations.
“We are testing the system at two small bus shelters, and we can send bus information to our customers where before they only had print schedules,” said Rountree. “It’s a very simplistic version of our main PA strategy that allows us to increase our information density at a very low cost. We can also deploy to all of these sites quicker, perhaps in two years rather than ten.”
This is a point that Ramsay hits home on.
“Nightclubs can do it in a couple of weeks,” he said. “Transit systems with 160 train stations, each with its individual upgrade schedule, can take up to a decade to roll though each location. One perspective might suggest that transit stations are changing at a glacially slow rate, but in reality the natural maintenance schedule of such a large system plays a big role.
“But the ability for NJ Transit to be this flexible, make changes on the fly and constantly evolve is really a milestone. To my knowledge, there is nobody that is doing this kind of work in house. The fact that they are pulling this off is their biggest strength.”