Transport And Military-Focused Tech Firm Cubic Expands Into Digital Signage Systems

October 2, 2020 by Dave Haynes

It has been readily apparent for some time that it is relatively easy for a company to develop a basic digital signage content management system, and while that results in a lot of start-ups, it also leads to well established companies  adding the capability.

It is, as noted in the past, generally much easier to write a baseline CMS than it is to write something like a point of sales system or mass transport real-time information system.

Here’s a good example of a very well-established company looking at customer needs, perhaps weighing options of partnerships, and then just writing its own CMS.

San Diego-based Cubic Corporation describes itself as “a technology-driven, market-leading provider of integrated solutions that increase situational understanding for transportation, defense C4ISR and training customers worldwide to decrease urban congestion and improve the militaries’ effectiveness and operational readiness.”

Cubic has in excess of 5,000 employees and does everything from transportation systems to combat training systems for the military.

It has announced its Cubic Transportation Systems (CTS) business division has “won a contract from the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) to deliver a comprehensive, next-generation Customer Information System (CIS) for the San Francisco Municipal Railway (Muni) public transportation network.”

“Cubic will provide upgraded system software, multimedia LCD digital signs at bus shelters and railway platforms, on-board digital sign software, an updated mobile app with trip planning capabilities, as well as an analytics platform, all designed to optimize transit operations and enhance the travel experience for transit riders.”

“Not only does Cubic’s system provide insights necessary for service awareness and responsive planning, it also offers features especially critical for COVID-19 recovery, such as vehicle occupancy levels to encourage social distancing and real-time information to reduce wait and travel time,” says Jeff Lowinger, president of Cubic Transportation Systems.

“A better-informed traveler is a less stressed traveler – we will provide real-time information in a multi-channel environment right to the traveler’s smartphone and modern digital signage. We look forward to delivering an upgraded system that will ensure a positive customer experience for transit riders while increasing efficiencies and creating long-term value for the SFMTA.”

“By adopting technological advancements designed for alignment with the transportation landscape of today and the future, our next-generation real-time passenger information system will advise our riders with intelligent insights on the go and make Muni the preferred travel choice for San Francisco,” says SFMTA Chief Technology Officer Lisa Walton. “We are excited to partner with Cubic to implement this platform solution that sets the pace for real-time information, just like the first-generation system did and establish best practice for mobility as a service to fuel transit revitalization in our community during and post COVID-19.”

Cubic’s solution delivers the industry’s most intuitive real-time passenger information (RTPI) for proactive transit operations. The CIS system will improve the quality and quantity of information that will allow transit riders to better plan their trips and make informed decisions about their travel options, both before and during their journey.

Cubic’s system will include more accurate vehicle arrival predictions; map views of vehicle locations on signs and mobile app; transfer connection predictions; directions to alternative routes; estimates of vehicle occupancy; updated information about re-routes, delays and services interruptions; and more. By re-architecting RTPI and integrating with Muni’s planning and dispatch systems, Cubic will create an unprecedented API-driven synchronization of back-end system models that will set a new standard for providing timely and accurate information to customers about their journey.

Cubic’s next-generation system is designed to be responsive, reliable and scalable with a modern user interface. As part of the system, Cubic will also deliver an updated MuniMobile App, featuring a new industry standard for mobile apps that allows riders to ‘look, book and pay.’ The app includes an all-in-one mobile ticketing and trip planning functionality for transit and multimodal services. The trip planner offers features such as point-to-point directions; estimated vehicle arrival times; personalization for language, accessibility and service preferences; as well as live trip tracking to inform transit riders of changes to their journeys.

Cubic’s Analytics Platform will provide access to reporting tools and dashboards that will help the SFMTA make informed decisions for service and operational planning, performance management, customer engagement and customer experience.

The company has been at this for a while, and the CMS is already being used at Spokane, Washington’s airport for parking shuttle bus screens. I know, teeny job, but it’s a reference case. A run through the company’s success stories web page suggests it has substantial clients globally, doing other work in which digital signage capability could be added on.

We’ve heard over and over that big end-user companies are NOT looking to add yet another vendor, and are more inclined to go with an established, trusted vendor if they have a sufficient solution that can be added on.

Pure-play CMS companies could easily argue that their platform is much more feature-rich, and quite possibly far less costly. But when all a screen needs to do is show real-time bus information, you don’t need much of a CMS other than data integration and device management.


Leave a comment