VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland has developed a mobile guide for city travellers in public transport. The service delivers real-time information on buses or trams to mobile phones. Passengers can follow the route stop by stop during the trip and select an alarm from the mobile guide before the destination stop.
The Mobile Guide for City Traveller (KAMO) is a new mobile application that offers journey planning and stop-specific timetable information. Passengers can also pay their fare via the application and save journey details for later use. KAMO users can track the progress of any buses, trams or underground trains included in real-time positioning-based monitoring. The service also enables journey planning and tracking the planned route via mobile phone. Travel news concerning problems or changes to public transport is also available via the KAMO application.
The mobile service developed by VTT is based on Near Field Communication (NFC) technology. Once loaded into the mobile phone, KAMO can be accessed using the phone's menu. RFID remote reading - featured by Nokia's 6131 NFC model, for example - enhances the speed of usage. Touching the RFID tag with a mobile phone opens the application on the phone's display without the user having to access it separately via the menu. Tags can be used for mobile travel ticket purchases or accessing stop-specific timetable information. As NFC phones are not yet widely used, the application also works on Nokia's other S40 and S60 models.
The service is designed to serve both city travellers using public transport regularly and casual passengers such as tourists. To date, the application is available in the Helsinki and Oulu regions, but can be expanded to cover other cities and towns.
The service can also be enhanced with a range of additional services such as providing information on local events, news reports or location-based advertisements. In future users will be able to tailor the KAMO application to offer information only on certain routes or additional services selected.
The development of the service was funded by Helsinki City Transport (HKL) and the City of Oulu. The KAMO service will be published at the UITP World Congress organised by the International Association of Public Transport (http://www.uitp.com/Helsinki2007/) in Helsinki from 20 to 24 May 2007. The hosts of the congress exhibition and VTT, will both demonstrate the service at their stands in the Helsinki Fair Centre. The application will be piloted during the congress - visitors will be able to load the application onto their mobile phones at VTT's stand and use the application when exploring the city.
One of VTT's objectives is to study the dissemination of mobile applications by means of "social media". In the autumn VTT will select a group of schoolchildren or students who will be offered the opportunity to use KAMO and distribute it further via SMS messages, for example. The purpose of the campaign is to study the efficiency and impact of a novel advertising approach and obtain experience for the commercial launch of KAMO.
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