THEMEN: Cities get mobile | Research project MaaS L.A.B.S. | Usability project with students
Cities get mobile – and highQ helps them do it
The diesel scandal has had one positive effect. Ever since it first made the headlines, the focus has shifted increasingly towards the expansion of public transport and additional funds have been made available. For example, the “Digitisation of Municipal Transport Systems” funding guideline issued by the German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) has promoted the creation of Green City master plans. Around 70 cities with particularly high nitrogen dioxide concentrations have drawn up master plans for their municipalities and defined measures to reduce pollutants. One important measure in many of these master plans is the establishment of a digital mobility platform linking public transport and sharing providers in the region – one of highQ’s core areas of expertise. As a result, we are already in discussions with several of these municipalities (as “local heroes” naturally with our home city of Freiburg too) to determine what a mobility platform adapted to the respective structures could look like. Due to go live this year, our project in Osnabrück is a good example of how a comprehensive digital mobility service can be implemented step by step, based on the existing infrastructure.
Exciting research project with a complicated name
highQ is once again involved as a major player in an innovative research and development project. The slightly cumbersome name of the project is “User-centred Mobility-as-a-Service platform: Alive, Automated, Demand- & Sharing-oriented” (MaaS L.A.B.S. for short, based on the German version of the name). This is a four-year project funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) to the tune of approx. five million euros, within the framework of which various digital mobility services are to be developed and tested. To ensure a high level of acceptance for the new services right from the start, they are to be substantiated and tested in multi-stage feedback processes involving the residents of the partner cities of Potsdam, Cottbus and Hanover. “We are very pleased to be part of this exciting research project”, commented Thomas Hornig, Managing Director of highQ. “With our experience in the development of multimodal mobility concepts and our relevant product portfolio, we will be making a significant contribution.”
Apps should be fun: Usability project with students
A decisive factor for the acceptance of a software product is that it is easy and motivating to use. Developed as part of the SB:Digital project, our mytraQ app is used to make commuting more efficient and environmentally friendly. In terms of its interface, we didn’t want to leave anything to chance and reworked the design with the help of the usability experts at UseTree. At the same time, we entered into a collaboration with the Stuttgart Media University (HdM). This concerned the accompanying dashboard, which can be installed in the foyer or canteen of a participating company, for example, or integrated into the company’s intranet. The aim is to provide employees with an up-to-date performance review and to enable playful comparisons between colleagues. An interdisciplinary team of students from the HdM degree programmes Information Design, Online Media Management and Business Informatics was given the task of developing proposals for the design of this dashboard, with the goal of arousing interest and encouraging participation. The impressive results of the challenge will hopefully win many new participants for intelligent mobility.
moveBW: New mobility in Stuttgart goes into full operation
We have already reported here several times about the moveBW project for the Stuttgart region launched in July 2016, in which highQ is involved as part of a consortium. We are now on the point of going fully live. A final, two-week field test of the moveBW app involving 50 users was successfully completed in February/March. The incentive system we developed, which rewards environmentally friendly transport behaviour by crediting “time miles”, was particularly well received. The moveBW project was thus successfully completed at the end of April. The findings and experience will now benefit the people of the region in two ways. The local public transportation company NVBW, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the state of Baden-Württemberg, will take over central results as the core of its new “Mobility Data Platform Baden-Württemberg” from November 2019. Subsequently, the moveBW app will be made available to all regional citizens. Robert Bosch GmbH and highQ are expected to operate the app.
VDV Annual Conference: Focus on digital mobility
highQ was of course present at the major industry meeting that took place in June, hosted by Rhein-Neckar-Verkehr Gmbh (rnv) in Mannheim, Germany. According to the VDV, a total of 850 participants took part this year. On a joint stand with our Potsdam partner moveo Software GmbH, we presented our modern planning and scheduling solution PlanB, and were also able to engage in interesting discussions about our other mobility solutions. At the moment, numerous transport companies are asking themselves how they can use their limited resources to convert to digital mobility in the future, and we were well able to provide some useful information in this regard. Another promising development is our recently initiated collaboration with a manufacturer of interactive information steles, which are set to become part of everyday life at multimodal stops and mobility points within the next few years.
THEMEN: New abakusRE tool | New functions for abakusBT
New functions for abakusBT
Our abakusBT user meeting for savings banks was held in June this year and saw 25 of our customers taking part. On this occasion, we were guests of the Sparkasse Rosenheim-Bad Aibling, whom we would like to thank again for their friendly reception!
We were able to come away with some interesting suggestions for the further development of our property developer credit management software from this meeting. For example, there was intensive discussion about the automation of correspondence on the basis of various templates, which would relieve admin staff of a lot of tiresome routine work – or soon will. We found this idea so useful that we decided to start implementing it straight away. Our maintenance contract customers will receive the new function free of charge with the August release.
New tool for portfolio owners: abakusRE
Our controlling solutions are designed to attract the next generation of employees. In addition to the proven abakusBT tool, there will be a programme variant adapted to the needs of portfolio owners before the end of this year. With abakusRE (for real estate), banks, real estate companies and private landlords can all manage their real estate objects easily, securely and transparently.
THEMEN: Data protection | Customer satisfaction | Tomorrow's mobility
Data protection? Naturally.
Last year’s occasionally heated discussion on the European Data Protection Basic Regulation (DSGVO) has sensitised many companies to the subject of data protection. This is nothing new for us because highQ has always given top priority to the careful handling of customer data. Your data is stored exclusively on German servers, which enables us to meet the compliance requirements of many of our banking and mobility customers. All our data-related activities are also geared to the requirements of the ISO DIN 27000 standard for information security. By the way, our SaaS customers have no need to accept compromises in terms of service and capacity in return for high levels of data protection. As part of the EDASCA European cooperative, we can fully compete with the major international cloud providers in this respect. highQ is also a member of the corporate initiative “Digital Networking Charter”, which defines extended principles for a future digital society.
Customer satisfaction: Initial measures have already been implemented
As mentioned in our April newsletter, we have recently been busy evaluating the customer satisfaction survey we conducted at the end of 2018. Everybody who took part in the highQ mobility user forum in Frankfurt already knows, because our colleague, IT product management specialist Dr Katharina Peine, presented the first results there. “Above all, we wanted to hear what our customers had to say and derive direct measures from there responses”, she explained. “We wanted to find out how customers generally assess the benefits of our products and where they felt there was room for improvement.”
Initial measures have already been initiated on the basis of these findings. These include the further expansion and more efficient structuring of highQ support, the establishment of a customer portal on the website and the revision of some products by usability experts. According to the feedback you provided, highQ did well overall, with an average score of 2.11 from the numerous customer reviews received. We are happy about the great feedback but, from our point of view, we can see that there is still room for improvement.
Working for tomorrow’s mobility
highQ continues to grow. We are looking for further competent colleagues at our locations in Freiburg, Berlin, Stuttgart and Hamburg to support our numerous projects in the field of mobility – some of which we have reported on in these pages. We currently have openings in the areas of development, project management and support. As well as exciting projects, you can look forward to a family-friendly workplace and a great team.
You can find all details about the events in the News section..
THEMEN: Sylt Shuttle | Mobility Platform | bwtarif | Control App
Sylt Shuttle 2.0: Everything new for our oldest project
Talking of customer satisfaction, our partnership with DB Sylt Shuttle – which has already lasted 18 years – was confirmed again last July with a follow-up order. In the fast-moving world of IT, this is almost unheard of. That said, the solution we implemented back then proved totally reliable. Over the entire time period, the system has never once failed and the specially equipped 17/7 emergency service was rarely used.
Nevertheless, time has not stood still. What was at the time an innovative, chip card-based eTicketing system for the car train to Sylt now needs to be upgraded for the smartphone age. We will also be bringing the entire sales system up to date. In future, passengers will be able to conveniently pre-book their tickets via an app. When they enter the terminal, their number plate will be automatically recognised and the barrier to the train will open. “At that time, highQ was one of the pioneers in RFID chip card applications; today, we are leading the way in mobility apps and background systems”, explained project manager Erik Schlegel. “We are delighted that DB Sylt Shuttle has chosen to remain loyal to us and will continue to make every effort to ensure the success of Sylt Shuttle 2.0.”
Osnabrück: Integrated mobility platform nears completion
A web shop with complaint management, an EBE solution with direct connection to the (also new) TicketOffice background system, and a routing and ticketing app that enables multimodal journey chains across provider boundaries. In addition to public transport, the solution will also integrate local car and bike sharing, bicycle box rental companies and other partners. All offers can be booked and paid for directly via the app using single sign-on.
Existing subscriptions have already been transferred to the new platform and further modules will be activated progressively over the next two months. Later in the year, an innovative check-in/check-out ticketing system (CiBo) via smartphone will be added – the first such system in everyday use in Germany.
bwtarif: Reaching your destination faster with highQ support
Valid across the entire network, the new Baden-Württemberg tariff (or bwtarif for short) is proving tough for operators to implement. While the tariff makes it easier for passengers to travel anywhere within the state, transport companies needed to work extra shifts in the background to ensure that the comprehensive tariff system can be fed into their systems. The first deadline was December 9, 2018. On this date, all transport companies that operate across network boundaries needed to be able to offer the new ticket. This was no problem for highQ customers. With our support, the Sigmaringen District Transport Authority (KVB) was able to achieve punctual delivery. In the course of the first half of 2019, highQ will offer an update of our TicketApp, which already includes the new tariff. This will enable our other customers to effortlessly implement the bwtariff as well.
Control App: Penalty charges per smartphone
Many transport operators still issue paper receipts for penalty charges (EBE) in the traditional way – a cumbersome and time-consuming process. And even where electronic systems are already in use, most of them are still based on the antiquated Windows CE operating system. With our Android-based Control App, which can be installed on conductor devices as well as on standard smartphones and tablets, issuing an EBE is now much faster. The data collected by the ticket control service is transferred directly to the highQ background system, which has been extended by a module that then makes it available for the usual administrative processes. Since January 2019, Stadtwerke Osnabrück has been the first user of the innovative EBE application.
THEMEN: New Sales & Marketing Team | BUS2BUS | Public Transport Innovation Congress
New faces in sales & marketing
From multimodal apps to mobility platforms and smart city solutions, the mobility industry is currently experiencing the greatest transformation in decades. To ensure we are able to meet the new challenges and optimally support our core products TicketOffice, fare.logiQ and PlanB, highQ is currently strengthening its marketing and sales team. Alongside the familiar names and personalities, we would like to introduce you to some new faces. Read more here.
Review: highQ at BUS2BUS in Berlin
For the first time, from 19-21 March 2019, we were represented with a stand at the BUS2BUS trade fair in Berlin. We took the opportunity to present our greatly expanded timetable and duty roster programme PlanB with its integrated graphical scheduling and combination with the moveo dispatching module. Another focus was the successful integration of the Zelisko ticket printers into the highQ sales system. We also demonstrated our versatile app solutions.
On our ZEITMEILEN (time miles) stand in the Startup Area, we showed how incentives and gamification offerings can have a positive impact on user behaviour in the mobility sector. Anyone who follows the time miles route recommendations not only reaches their destination faster, but also receives bonus points as a reward for flexible mobility behaviour. These can then be exchanged for ideal, virtual or monetary bonuses. This integrated incentive scheme enables a variety of business models to support user acceptance.
We had promising discussions at both stands and are looking forward to intensifying them further in the future.
Review: 9th Public Transport Innovation Congress in Freiburg
As in 2017, “Mobility 4.0” was the overarching theme of the 9th Public Transport Innovation Congress, which took place from 12-14 March 2019 in the Kongresszentrum Konzerthaus Freiburg. As in previous years, highQ had a stand in the trade area of the exhibition. Once again, we were able to share some great conversations with you. The focus of our stand was on our solutions for moveBW, the successful implementation of the bwtarif and our mobility platform.
We will definitely be back in 2021 and look forward to seeing you there.