News

News

Distinguished with the Stadtwerke Award

The highQ mobility platform for Stadtwerke Osnabrück received the Stadtwerke Award.

The public transport concept of Stadtwerke Osnabrück AG, which was implemented by highQ Computerlösungen GmbH and is unique in Germany, has won the Stadtwerke Award 2020. The prize was awarded by the Association of Municipal Enterprises (VKU) and the Zeitung für kommunale Wirtschaft (ZfK) and honors the exemplary and innovative character as well as the sustainability of the project. The mobility portal bundles all transport services and optimizes the sales process.

A groundbreaking step towards an intelligent municipality: With the award-winning highQ mobility platform, the Osnabrück public utility company is demonstrating its innovative strength and taking an important step towards digitalization. As general contractor, highQ Computerlösungen realized the idea of combining all of the city's public transportation services on a digital platform. Thanks to highQ's MobilitySuite, passengers only have to register once and can then access all services. Instead of buying a ticket before the journey begins, a travel authorization is purchased, which is later converted into a ticket.

"We are proud that the jury awarded the sustainable mobility concept implemented by highQ first place at this year's Stadtwerke Award. This encourages us to continue creating innovative solutions for the digital transformation of communities - the highQ MobilitySuite provides the perfect basis for this," says Kai Horn, Sales and Marketing Manager at highQ Computer Solutions. "highQ has achieved its goal of designing a solution that benefits the passenger and establishes a sustainable option for the use of public transport in Osnabrück. Our sincere thanks also go to the team of Stadtwerke Osnabrück and our partner eos.uptrade".

The Check-in/Be-out system (CiBo), which is unique in Germany, offers a combination of Beacon, GPS and Motion technologies and enables the system to automatically recognize which route a user is taking. All mobility modules used are billed once a month by sepa direct debit.

The digital public transport concept with its unique CiBo system impressed the jury "with its simplicity and fairness towards customers, its high digital maturity and the integration of all local public mobility offers". The innovative implementation is an exemplary step towards digital transformation.

Kick-off of the highQ MobilitySuite

On 31.07. highQ Computerlösungen started with a kick-off into the next project phase of the highQ MobilitySuite - extensive testing of the extended mytraQ App.

highQ has made it its mission to establish sustainable mobility concepts for the benefit of society - "highQ Social Mobility". For this, highQ has been nominated for the German Sustainability Award 2021.

A holistic, platform-based mobility solution was developed for implementation: highQ MobilitySuite, an open mobility platform with standardized assistance functions (e.g. web services/SDK/API), offers the right solution for every mobility context. The app mytraQ is the mobility controller of the suite and rewards environmentally conscious traffic behaviour with the integrated bonus system time miles. In order to achieve the goal of "Social Mobility", not the routes of the individual but of a whole group are optimized. The larger the group, the more far-reaching the benefits for the climate. Digitized mobility offers can be used to output sustainable, multimodal route chains via AI-supported calculations - for the end user simply and automatically within the app, from booking to payment. The mobility behaviour recognition is DSGVO-compliant. By enabling all users to reach their destination in a socially responsible manner, the MobilitySuite strengthens the cohesion of society - only together can we achieve the mobility turnaround. Our vision: Urban streets are no longer dominated by traffic, but once again belong to people. Rural areas remain attractive for young and old.

The next project phase started on 31.07. Now, after the successful implementation of the back office processes, the app is the focus of attention. With mytraQ, the diverse mobility services networked in the mobility platform can be used easily and flexibly by every smartphone owner. It guides users on sensible paths through the otherwise unmanageable mobility services. The preferred routes are those that are in line with social mobility (e.g. carpooling, use of public transport or bicycles) - this supports mobility management in line with the common good and equalises the traffic flow. The integrated bonus system Time Miles rewards ecological behaviour, thus protecting the environment and resources and saving infrastructure costs. Users can participate in challenges via mytraQ and receive a reward if, for example, they have covered 20 km by bike in one week. The collected time miles can be directly exchanged for awards or donated to charitable organisations. In this way, the personal contribution to Social Mobility can be experienced directly.

The highQ MobilitySuite is modular and flexibly expandable, so that an optimal mobility solution can be realized for every community and every company. In this way, the local traffic turnaround can become reality step by step. Several companies are participating in the current project phase in addition to highQ. If you are also interested, please contact us under Support mytraQ.

Let us inspire you. The highQ employees explain the mode of operation in a great video - this is how the mytraQ app works: to the german video mytraQ

highQ is nominated for the German Sustainability Award 2021

We are pleased about the nomination of the jury.

The German Sustainability Award is the national award for top achievements in sustainability in business, municipalities and research. With eight competitions, over 800 applicants and 2,000 guests at the events, the prize is the largest of its kind in Europe. The award is presented by the German Sustainability Award Foundation in cooperation with the German government, municipal umbrella organisations, trade associations, civil society organisations and research institutions.

highQ Computerlösungen has been nominated for the German Sustainability Award 2021 with its highQ MobilitySuite. Many report on sustainable mobility solutions, but highQ has already successfully implemented the first solutions in Osnabrück and the Swabian Federation.

In Osnabrück there is a uniform and digital access to the various mobility offers. Customers can use the multimodal mobility platform to enter their route, receive suggestions for routes and means of transport and, of course, be billed at the best price and also directly via the platform.

In the Schwabenbund, the passengers of the two regional transport associations Mobility Company for Local Transport in Allgäu (mona) and Transport Association of Central Swabia (VVM) with a total of 24 participating transport companies were enabled to buy any public transport fare product via a digital sales platform - a web shop or a smartphone app.

highQ has already received several awards for its innovative solutions. We are driven by our vision: to create sustainable everyday mobility for the common good and intelligent use of the infrastructure by changing mobility behavior, avoiding traffic and optimizing it.

Digitization makes it possible to make the best possible use of existing urban infrastructure such as parking garages, public transport or the road network. Congestion and overload can be avoided: by shifting in space (different routes), time (different travel times) and means of transport (car, bike, bus, ride sharing, eScooter, ride-pooling, pedestrians, etc.).

The pressure to act is high overall: large cities with particulate matter alarms and congested inner cities are just as much under pressure as medium-sized rural centres, where the main task is to maintain a nationwide regular service and improve connections from the partly sparsely populated region. Therefore, even medium-sized cities with digitised mobility offers can control commuter traffic and supply logistics. The city can, for example, help to digitise the route to work for employees and thus for local companies.

Cities can quickly benefit from digitization if they network their heterogeneous and often still analog services. Something is happening in this respect: some municipalities are focusing on cycling, others are developing apps for traffic jam communication. However, it would make even more sense to bundle them in one platform. First, to collect concrete data and second, to create incentives for citizens. The bundling of a wide variety of traffic data in the highQ MobilitySuite also makes it possible to use the advantages of artificial intelligence for mobility services. Through traffic data acquisition, learning systems can use mobility forecasts to make a preventive contribution, e.g. to avoid traffic jams, traffic flows can be analysed in real time, the capacity utilisation of public transport can be predicted and thus optimised according to demand.

A USP of a platform solution lies in the mobility data obtained from citizens: This data is collected by the city, stored on secure servers and can be used in accordance with DSGVO (German law on the protection of personal data) or anonymised. On the basis of this data, urban mobility can be improved and networked with existing information.

We are eagerly awaiting the jury's decision and are delighted with the nomination!

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highQ wins the tender of the VHH

highQ receives approval for the tender of Verkehrsbetriebe Hamburg-Holstein GmbH (VHH)

May 2020 saw the start of the implementation of the operational organisation platform for on-demand transport, bOOD for short. highQ wins the next major platform project and impresses with its comprehensive MobilitySuite product portfolio.


Verkehrsbetriebe Hamburg-Holstein GmbH (VHH) was founded in 1905 and with over 670 buses and more than 2,100 employees* is one of the largest North German public transport companies based in Hamburg. In 2019, VHH transported over 106 million passengers.

"Wherever you want to go!" - is the goal for more mobility in rural areas through demand-oriented and controlled transport. With a digital platform, the VHH wants to integrate and network all forms of mobility, such as call collection taxis, on-demand traffic and its connection to public transport in the Hamburg metropolitan region. On the one hand, the platform is intended to regulate and mediate supply and demand, and on the other hand to plan and control on-demand transport. Above all, however, the planned system is intended to enable uniform access to corresponding offers and to remove an access barrier to public transport as an overall system. The following goals are in the foreground:

  • Reduction of the traffic volume through innovative additional services and the associated increase in passenger numbers
  • Reduction of pollutant emissions by reducing individual traffic
  • Urbanisation of the rural infrastructure area in Hamburg
  • Flexible operating form as portfolio extension for the VHH
  • Reduction of access barriers to public transport and addressing new customer target groups
  • Achievement of process optimization and digitization

The service "bOOD-Mobility-Platform" tendered by the VHH represents an innovative form of linking "classic" public transport with conventional types of on-demand transport (such as call collection taxis) and new types of ridesharing concepts such as IOKI.

For these services highQ, as general contractor, together with our partner PRISMA solutions, provides a solution consisting of already existing and proven modules. These components will be connected with each other during the project and supplemented with customer-specific components to gradually arrive at the desired system. The agile process model for the development of complex products with an iterative-incremental approach, which has already been successfully used for years, is applied.

highQ will be responsible for providing the platform and implementing the central background system and will thus be responsible for booking, ticketing and customer billing.

PRISMA solutions is responsible for the calculation of travel planning and the entire cartographic information management in this forward-looking platform project. With solutions for intermodal routing and metarouting, all travel requests are combined to the best possible routes, taking into account demand-oriented transport. With the help of PRISMA's proven "TRAFF-X® solutions" solution, the travel providers, their operating areas, their vehicles and capacities are administered in a simple manner.

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New branch office in Frankfurt am Main

highQ is expanding its presence. Since June 1, highQ, with its headquarters in Freiburg, is now also represented in HOLM with a branch office in Frankfurt, in addition to Berlin, Hamburg and Stuttgart.

The House of Logistics and Mobility (HOLM) is a great platform for interdisciplinary and application-oriented project work, research, education and training in logistics, mobility and related disciplines. It unites the various disciplines under its roof and is supported in terms of content by the intensive cooperation of business, science and society. That's why we are in the right place.

Together with PRISMA Solutions, highQ im HOLM will open its representative office in Frankfurt. With the new location, we are now even closer to our customers and can use the new premises to further intensify our sales and project support activities in this region.

Dominik Danda, Key Account Manager at highQ, will be responsible for direct contact (after the end of the Corona restrictions) with our customers, as well as the numerous contacts at DB Vertrieb in Frankfurt.

"With the new office, I will now be in contact even faster with all customers and interested parties from the greater Frankfurt area," says Dominik Danda happily. "At the new location we now have the possibility to provide rooms for meetings and to welcome our customers in their own four walls in Frankfurt."

Schwabenbund: Uniform ticketing sales platform

Our customer

The cross-state Schwabenbund e.V. is an association of regional authorities, chambers of commerce and other institutions from the Allgäu to the Swabian Alb in southern Germany. It was founded in March 2012 and became a registered association in January 2015. The Schwabenbund is active in the fields of healthcare, mobility, rural areas, tourism, education and the safeguarding of skilled workers.

One project in the field of mobility was the creation of a multi-provider sales system for e-tickets. Schwabenbund-Services (SBS) GmbH was founded in 2018 as the operating company for the new system.

The task

The aim was to enable passengers of the two regional transport associations, Mobilitätsgesellschaft für den Nahverkehr im Allgäu (mona) and Verkehrsverbund Mittelschwaben (VVM) with a total of 24 participating transport companies to buy any public transport fare product via a digital sales platform – a web shop or a smartphone app. To simplify the mutual allocation of services, revenue management also needed to be put on a uniform basis. This had previously been carried out independently by the participating companies, in some cases using Excel.

Together with other consortium partners, highQ succeeded in winning an EU-wide tender for the development of the new sales platform. highQ’s task within the consortium was to set up a backend system and create a web shop for the end customers (subscribers/students), as well as for the service employees of the participating transport companies. A further web shop and a smartphone ticketing solution for occasional customers also needed to be integrated into the overall system.

The highQ solution

The central backend system is based on the highQ products TicketOffice and fare.logiQ. The two web shops for subscribers have also been integrated. Via the end-customer web shop, passengers have direct access to their subscriptions and can, for example, view their invoices or order a replacement ticket if one is lost. The second highQ web shop is intended for the service staff of the two transport associations and offers more extensive options for data viewing and processing, such as creating new customers, issuing tickets or generating replacement tickets.

Both the web shop for occasional passengers and the mobile phone ticketing service also exchange data with the highQ backend system. In this way, customers are able to use the smartphone app to buy single tickets as well as being able to view their existing subscriptions. All sales data from the three web shops converge in TicketOffice and are transferred from there to the highQ accounting system fare.logiQ via the manufacturer-independent standard interface (HUSST).

A further central highQ software module called NPS (abbr. of the German for “User Profile Service”) enables the differentiated administration of customer data. Regardless of which public transport company they are using, passengers only have to register once to be able to use all mobility services within the Schwabenbund region (single sign-on). Ticket purchases are automatically assigned to the tariff area of the respective provider.

Even though customer and revenue data are managed together, the multi-client capability of TicketOffice/fare.logiQ ensures that each provider is only able to access to its own area. At the same time, central data management enables line-specific distribution and accounting of the travel services provided. On top of that, client-specific statistical evaluations and reports can be generated by a business intelligence tool integrated into fare.logiQ.

Advantages of the implemented solution

For the first time, the sales platform created by highQ and its consortium partners enables digital travel permits to be issued for all participating transport companies in the Schwabenbund region. The multi-client-capable backend system ensures that each participating company retains complete control over its own data (and thus its customer base), despite the central database. Because the wider network structure involved numerous independent companies, this was a central requirement of the contracting body.

Public transport users also benefit from the “Unity in Diversity”. Passengers no longer need to bother about which provider they use to complete their desired journeys – they simply access the web shop and order their e-tickets. Electronic subscriptions are currently issued in the form of 2D barcodes in accordance with the regulations of the German Transport Association (VDV-KA) – either printed on paper, applied to plastic cards or as smartphone tickets.

The entire system conforms to the nationwide eTicket Deutschland (VDV-KA) standard, which means that this digital service can be flexibly extended at any time – such as by introducing a network-wide e-ticket or tourist fare offers combined with admission entitlements. The system is also ideally configured to enable interoperability with neighbouring transport associations or the integration of other mobility services, such as car and bike sharing. In this way, the sales platform can be progressively expanded into a universal mobility platform for the entire region.

The customer’s perspective

With a total budget of EUR 3 million (highQ share EUR 1.2 million), the project was implemented on schedule in close cooperation with the consortium partners involved. “The collaboration with highQ ran efficiently, on an equal footing and brought a high degree of added value for the entire consortium”, commented Marius Maruhn, Managing Director of Schwabenbund-Services (SBS) GmbH. “With its differentiated customer administration, the new multi-client-capable e-ticketing platform is precisely the solution we wanted for our diverse transport region. As a result, we are now optimally prepared for the digital demands of future mobility.”

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Successful project start mytraQ VBB-prüfApp

Despite the adversities of Corona, the kick-off for the new project of highQ Computerlösungen GmbH with the VBB Verkehrsverbund Berlin-Brandenburg GmbH was successfully carried out via a web meeting on 02.04.2020.

The scope of the project is the delivery of a VBB-prüfApp for inspectors for (partially) automated checking of the electronically stored contents of VDV barcodes and VDV user media for validity checks. The project has a duration until February 2021, already in the middle of 2020 first tests with the system will be carried out in the area. With initially up to 100 end devices (smartphone) and the highQ app mytraQ Pro, the verification of VDV

barcodes according to specifications of the VBB and VDV eTicket Service GmbH & Co. KG (VDV ETS) for all transport companies. From 2D barcodes to chip cards via NFC, in the final stage 500 devices can use the highQ solutions.

In addition to the app mytraQ Pro for the VBB-prüfApp, the highQ background systems fare.logiQ (for the administration of examiners and exams) and IONgate (for the connection to the VDV-KA, incl. the SAM server) are used. This is a good bridge to the TicketOffice for subscription/pupil card system that has been in use for many years at many transport companies in the VBB. Thomas Wanke, Branch Manager Berlin, is very pleased about this success: "Once again, highQ shows how we, with our product portfolio, make a significant contribution to the optimization of public transport processes. Only by using the already existing standard app mytraQ Pro can the VBB schedule be kept and the first tests can already be started. The app mytraQ Pro can also be used for the entire EBE process in the future to leverage further synergies.

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Prototype Web application programmed in just one day

A practical test for automatic code generation

How much time can be saved by automated software creation using a code generator? The Freiburg-based IT companies highQ Computerlösungen and Generative Software have tested this using a practical example and created a first version as a web application from a desktop program in just under seven hours.

The advancing digitalization does not even stop at the digital industry itself: More and more programming tasks are now being performed partially or fully automatically by so-called code generators. This approach, also called model-driven software development, relieves human programmers of routine tasks and reduces the risk of errors. In addition, the development process can be accelerated considerably - Generative Software, developer of the cloud-based development platform Virtual Developer, recently demonstrated how fast it actually works together with its customer highQ in a practical experiment. "We simply wanted to know how much code can be developed in just one working day with our generation logic if the project is completely new territory for the developer", says Marcus Munzert, Managing Director of Generative Software. abakusBT, a proven and mature software from highQ for the controlling of developer loans, was selected for the experiment. It is a desktop application that is used by around 60 Volksbanks and savings banks nationwide. The challenge for Marcus Munzert and his product Virtual Developer: By the end of the day, a first executable version was to be created as a web-based solution. To put this ambitious goal into realistic spheres, the experiment was limited to the pure development of the source code and an application server including an empty database was set up in advance on which the application could be started. The setup for the automated software development was also created to be able to use the corresponding software generator. The JEE generator on the Virtual Developer platform was used to generate code for web applications.
 

In just under seven hours to a fully functional app
The experiment started at 9:45 am. Heinz Rohmer recorded the individual work steps and the times required for this. Christian Disch, highQ's managing director and product manager for abakusBT, stood by as "experiment customer" and showed the masks and input forms that were to be implemented in the first web version in any case. Only three hours later the first version of the new web application saw the light of day, and after further iterations, in which additional input masks, overview pages and links were modeled, generated and adapted, and after the final completion of the navigation, the experiment was successfully completed - after exactly 6 hours and 50 minutes. During this time, over 350 files of source code were generated. At highQ they were impressed by the result: "All the forms I

had pre-selected were implemented in the web application," confirms Christian Disch. Thus, a working prototype with first basic functionality of abakusBT is given, even if numerous extensions would be necessary for the complete web application. "But even these we would surely be able to create in record time thanks to the automatic code generation". Marcus Munzert is also satisfied: "We were able to demonstrate how quickly and effectively the porting of a software to a new platform can be implemented with our tools". If this had been a "real" customer project, developers and users would have benefited equally, emphasizes Munzert: "As a developer, I would have gained a lot of time to be able to concentrate on the creative tasks, and for my customer, the time saved would have brought a significant cost saving". For these reasons, Virtual Developer is used intensively at highQ.
 

About Generative Software

Generative Software GmbH was founded in 2007 by the mathematician Marcus Munzert and the engineer Heinz Rohmer. The central field of activity of the company is the industrialization of software development through intelligent code generation using the cloud-based development environment Virtual Developer. Generative Software is based in Freiburg im Breisgau.  www.virtual-developer.com

highQ again receives extensive customer feedback

We are pleased about the again high participation in the customer satisfaction analysis 2019.

We are pleased about the high participation in the customer satisfaction analysis 2019, the results have now been evaluated and the winner of the raffle has been drawn.

highQ would like to thank its users* for the many valuable responses! Participation in the customer satisfaction analysis is doubly worthwhile:

  1. The lot has decided: Our sales manager Kai Horn personally presented Mr. Heimann from the Volksbank Dreieich with the won Black Forest gift basket, he was very happy about it.

  2. Your feedback goes directly into our product development: In comparison to last year, we were able to improve our overall impression of product quality, user-friendliness and clarity. The product developments in the area of abakusBT, the personnel and quality improvements in support as well as the optimization of the sales process were especially praised.

We were also very clearly shown further potential for improvement, especially in the areas of delivery management and testing. As a first concrete measure, we are therefore now linking the areas of testing and support, because above all we want to work even more closely with you.

A highQ primary rock will take over the management of this new area. We warmly welcome back our colleague Mr. Josue Schade, who will take over the position of Head of Customer Satisfaction in the future as your central contact person. He has had product responsibility and project management in the area of our mobility solutions for many years and is therefore very familiar with the interfaces of support and quality assurance. If you are not in a development project or have an already assigned customer project manager, he will be your new central contact person as Head of Customer Satisfaction.

The close cooperation with Dr. Peine from product management ensures that your suggestions are immediately incorporated into the products.

We look forward to receiving your feedback to further support us in the Customer Satisfaction Analysis 2020, which will take place again in September.

highQ belongs to the best 2% and receives the CrefoZert award

Creditreform credit rating index - Top rating for highQ computer solutions

The Creditreform credit report uses a creditworthiness index, a balance sheet rating and management surveys to assess the creditworthiness of small and medium-sized companies. For the calculation, a wide range of information is evaluated, weighted according to their respective relevance and summarised to form a total value (in the form of a three-digit number). Sophisticated mathematical-statistical analysis methods are used. Structural changes in the economic structure as well as probabilities of default in individual market segments are taken into account.

 

On 4 February 2020, highQ Computerlösungen was presented with the CrefoZert award. The Creditreform CrefoZert creditworthiness certificate certifies highQ Computerlösungen that our business conduct has always been impeccable and that the forecast for the future is very positive. This puts us among the two percent of German companies with an exceptionally good credit rating. We are proud of the award and thank our suppliers, partners and especially our customers for the good cooperation.

 

Photo: Presentation of CrefoZert certificate, Kai Horn (highQ Computerlösungen) und Adem Keskin (Creditreform) (v.l.n.r.)

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TicketOffice certified according to GoBD

The TicketOffice fare management system complies with the principles of proper accounting.

The fare management system of the Freiburg IT company highQ Computerlösungen fulfils the principles of proper accounting - this is confirmed by a current certificate. Transport companies working with the upcoming GoBD release of the TicketOffice fare management system are playing it safe for tax purposes. This is because the integrated accounting module demonstrably fulfils all the requirements of the principles for the proper keeping and storage of books, records and documents in electronic form and for data access, GoBD for short. These requirements, which were published by the German Federal Ministry of Finance and last revised in November 2019, regulate the handling of electronically generated business documents.
To prove GoBD conformity, the accounting module contained in TicketOffice was subjected to a relevant audit by an accredited auditor in December 2019. The guideline was the IDW PS 880 standard for the testing of software products, which covers both the GoBD-compliant functionality of the software and the development and release procedure at the manufacturer, i.e. highQ. As a result, the "proof of complete and correct processing" was provided and the "fulfillment of compliance requirements" with regard to data archiving and recording obligations was certified. A detailed check consisted, for example, of feeding the system with incorrect and inconsistent data and thus checking whether the software's plausibility checks were effective. "The transactions we carried out were completely and correctly mapped by the system", is certified in the test certificate. And further: "The software application TicketOffice was able to meet the requirements for the document function, the journal function, the account function, the logging function, the documentation, the access protection as well as the data backup, archiving and restart procedures". Migration to current release recommended.

In addition to the above-mentioned functions for fulfilling GoBD conformity, further (optional) functions were also implemented. "In addition to the certainty that all processes are correct in the fiscal sense, our customers thus also benefit from a significantly expanded range of functions," explains Simon Gumbert, highQ product development manager. "This includes, among other things, the administration of increased transport charges, key account contracts and an SAP connection."

highQ sales manager Kai Horn is also pleased about the successful certification of TicketOffice and recommends all users to upgrade soon: "The development was demanding and tied up enormous resources. But it was also important because of the large number of companies that use TicketOffice, and we will make all interested customers a fair offer for the upgrade. And for early subscribers, we are offering special discounted rates again until 30 April 2020". From February 2020, TicketOffice will be delivered to all new customers with the current GoBD-certified accounting module.

 

Photo: TicketOffice product development manager Simon Gumbert and project manager Nico Buchmüller (from left to right) are happy about the successful certification.

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Online mobility marketplace

city of the future

Making purchases via online trading platforms has permanently changed our habits. Never before has it been so convenient to order and pay for products from different suppliers via a single access point. In the future, it will be just as easy to use train, bus, car sharing and other public transportation services via a mobility platform developed by the IT company highQ Computerlösungen. Among the pioneers of this new, digitally networked mobility is the city of Osnabrück in Lower Saxony, Germany.

 

“If you want to get people out of their cars, you have to make them a really attractive offer”, observed Thomas Hornig, Managing Director of highQ. The mobility specialists at the 60-strong Freiburg-based IT company have been thinking for many years about how a change towards more environmentally friendly forms of transport can be achieved. Their pivotal approach is a digital mobility platform on which all of a city’s transport services are combined under one (software) roof. Following a one-time registration with the platform (single sign-on), transportation users can then book any intermodal travel chain directly via an associated smartphone app.

 

This concept, also called “seamless mobility” by transport experts, is intended to compensate for the comfort advantage of the private car. “This is a great opportunity for transport companies to reposition themselves as comprehensive mobility service providers”, Thomas Hornig pointed out. highQ develops the necessary software modules for this type of networked transport service, for example to enable cross-supplier billing for the various transport services provided.

 

Osnabrück leads the way

Among the pioneers in this field is Stadtwerke Osnabrück (SWO), which has been implementing a comprehensive digitisation programme for urban mobility services for three years now. Based on the highQ platform concept, the system has so far integrated municipal bus services, local car sharing and municipal parking garages, with lockable bicycle shelters set to follow soon. “Thanks to the modular system structure, we can add further offers at any time, such as rental pedelecs and e-cargobikes”, explained Maik Blome, marketing and sales manager for SWO’s mobility services. “Following a one-time registration, our customers then have access to all transportation offerings.”

 

A service that appears so simple for the end user required a considerable amount of effort before it could be achieved. In particular, heterogeneous IT inventory systems needed to be linked via adapted interfaces so that the flow of data between the various Osnabrück mobility providers could run smoothly. The implementation of the entire system was carried out under the leadership of highQ as general contractor. According to Maik Blome, this proved to be a good decision: “We always had one central contact person for any questions or problems.”

 

One swipe and off you go

The Osnabrück mobility platform is scheduled to go into full operation in the course of 2020. As well as being able to use all modes of transport across all providers, this includes a new type of ticket system. The check in/check out ticketing system makes bus travel much more convenient for occasional passengers. When boarding the bus, a swipe of the smartphone is all that is required – and that’s it. The system itself determines where you change and get off and automatically calculates the price for the distance covered. A further advantage for passengers is “best price” invoicing. All individual journeys completed within a certain period of time are retrospectively charged to a day or week ticket – meaning that customers always receive the cheapest ticket. “With this system, we in Osnabrück are a nationwide pioneer”, Maik Blome explained.

 

With its mobility platform, the city in Lower Saxony has also prepared the way for the digital future of local transportation. Maik Blome offered a foretaste of how things will be by 2030: “Public transport in Osnabrück will be networked, digital, electric and autonomous, providing passengers with a seamless, multimodal mobility chain from door to door.” In the future, this will include on-demand, non-timetabled services for the last mile. Blome summarised the city’s ambitious goal: “We aim to make public mobility in Osnabrück so easy and convenient that you will never miss your car again.”

 

Rewarding sensible mobility behaviour

Experience shows that it is difficult to persuade die-hard drivers to switch to public transport, even with the best offer. For this reason, highQ has developed an even more far-reaching strategy that includes private cars in the mobility mix in addition to the means of transport provided by the environmental alliance. The concept is to use highQ’s mytraQ app to provide commuters with individual travel recommendations based on current traffic data and the behaviour of other mytraQ users. If traffic is congested somewhere, the app suggests less congested alternative routes or recommends switching to public transport, car sharing or a combination of different modes of transport.

 

Anyone who follows the app’s advice is rewarded twice over. For a start, they reach their destination quickly and without stress. In addition, they are credited with “time mile”, which can later be exchanged for free journeys, free parking periods or shopping discounts. Research results confirm that this type of bonus system works. Provided that a conurbation has sufficient public transport, monetary or non-cash incentives can be used to steer individual mobility behaviour in the desired direction in terms of choice of transport mode, route and time of day. The concept has already been thoroughly tested in Stuttgart under the project name “moveBW” and will soon be put into live operation.

 

Apart from the road users themselves, the cities benefit too by evening out traffic flows in terms of time and space and distributing them more evenly over the existing infrastructure. However, commercial enterprises can also use “time miles” to motivate their employees to use bicycles more frequently or to form car pools, thereby improving the efficiency of parking space management and their environmental balance. As highQ Managing Director Thomas Hornig concluded: “In any case, it makes more sense to invest a comparatively small amount in intelligent mobility than to invest huge sums in additional roads or parking spaces.”

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Barrier open for the modernised DB Sylt Shuttle

The cooperation between highQ and the DB Fernverkehr AG has already lasted over 18 years

highQ’s collaboration with DB Fernverkehr AG, the operator of the “Sylt Shuttle” motorail train between Niebüll and Westerland, has now been in place for over 18 years. highQ managing director Thomas Hornig remembers the beginnings of the project well: “Back then, at the beginning of this millennium, we converted the Sylt Shuttle ticketing system from paper to electronic chip cards and thus – literally – digitised it.” This chip-card-based system, called SVT01, was then in continuous use for 18 years, 365 days a year.

 

Naturally, the technology has not stood still since then, so highQ was given a follow-up order in July 2018 to modernise the Sylt shuttle. The aim was to bring both the customer interface and the backend up to date. The new SVTneo system, which went live gradually during 2019, incorporates a number of new features. These include a customer web shop and a convenient app ticketing system that replaces the chip-card-based payment and barrier machines.

 

“This has now brought the Sylt Shuttle fully up to date for the mobile age”, explained highQ project manager Erik Schlegel. Car train passengers can now book their transfer in advance, either online or via their mobile devices, and then directly enter the loading terminal through the open barrier. This is because the check-in process is now carried out automatically via license plate recognition. “The resulting customer experience is almost magical”, said an enthusiastic Schlegel.

 

highQ was expressly praised for the good and timely implementation by its customer, Deutsche Bahn: “We are proud of the new, jointly developed Sylt shuttle booking system and, at the same time, we can look back on a truly long-standing collaboration since 2001”, commented Thomas Hellwig, who led the project for DB Fernverkehr AG. “Thanks to the company’s expertise, highQ has been able to keep our system up to date over the past two decades through continuous further development – in the fast-moving IT world, this is certainly anything but the norm.” highQ boss Thomas Hornig was happy to return this praise: “We were delighted to receive the follow-up order, as it demonstrated that even after 18 years of partnership, our excellent relationship shows no signs of fading”, he observed.

 

The third group in the mix – the actual users of the Sylt Shuttle – also seem to be happy with the result. The new app received overwhelmingly positive ratings in the app stores and was already used for 600 bookings in the first week after its release on the web and as an app – even before the new functions were actively promoted.

Travel smart, save time

Commuters lose a lot of time every day on their way to and from work. The Time Miles bonus system promises to help:

Commuters lose a lot of time every day on their way to and from work. The “Zeitmeilen” (time miles) bonus system promises to help by rewarding flexible, multimodal mobility behaviour and thus helping to even out traffic flows.

The worst situation is in Berlin: according to a study by the US traffic information service INRIX, in 2018 Berliners lost an average of 154 hours of their lives in traffic jams and slow-moving traffic. Things are not much better in other German conurbations. Nationwide, it is estimated that over half a million hours are lost every year, valued at 4.5 billion euros, and the environment is polluted with an additional 600 tonnes of CO2 as a result of the increased fuel consumption. And there is no prospect of a sustainable improvement, because neither the road network nor the public transport system can be readjusted in the short term to meet the anticipated further increase in commuter traffic.

 

Berlin start-up Zeitmeilen AG aims to demonstrate a way out of this dilemma with a novel digital service. The idea is that rather than stubbornly take the same route every day, commuters should base their route selection on the individual recommendations of their mobility app. Despite having an identical destination, the recommended route can be different every day, or – for example in the case of extensive traffic obstructions – suggest parking the car at the nearest park & ride place and continuing by underground train. In any event, anyone who follows the recommendation will reach their destination faster and with less stress, and the city as a whole will benefit too. This is because the traffic flow will be temporally and spatially evened out and optimally distributed over the existing infrastructure.

 

How it works

For each participant, the Zeitmeilen app determines an individual, congestion-free route to his or her destination. The application is primarily intended for commuters who regularly need to make the same journeys. However, the prediction function also allows new journeys to be time-optimised. The basis for the system’s recommendations is the movement data of all Zeitmeilen users, supplemented by current and historic traffic data from the regional traffic centre. This enables valid predictions to be made based on the most up-to-date data, including taking short-term factors into account. Conversely, the system can also provide traffic authorities with valuable additional information that they can use to influence and optimise traffic flows.

 

Advantages over other routing apps

Compared to other routing apps, Zeitmeilen has several advantages. For one thing, the system has access to a comprehensive regional database and can therefore also take foreseeable traffic restrictions into account in its recommendations, such as those caused by future roadworks. Secondly, the system not only optimises the individual routes of individual road users, but also the routes of all Zeitmeilen users in parallel, thus making use of “swarm intelligence”. It can also take account of the ‘common good’ by not routing alternative journeys through sensitive parts of a city such as residential areas or past schools, for example. And last but not least, Zeitmeilen meets the highest data protection requirements. The application uses a patented positioning system that conforms to the German General Data Protection Regulation (DSGVO), meaning that no individual movement profiles are created. All processes run anonymously and encrypted via German servers and networks.

 

Bonus points create additional incentives

All that remains is for road users to follow the good advice of Zeitmeilen and everything would be fine... Unfortunately, of course, humans are creatures of habit and like to take their accustomed route every day. To help them discover new routes and to encourage them to adopt “sensible” mobility behaviour, Zeitmeilen also includes a reward system with gamification components. Anyone who uses the application regularly and follows the route recommendations will not only reach his or her destination faster, but can also – as a thank-you for being flexible – collect bonus points (time miles). These can later be exchanged for non-cash, virtual or monetary rewards, such as periods of free parking or shopping vouchers. In this way, the incentive programme integrated into Zeitmeilen also enables a variety of participation models for regional mobility providers.

 

Corporate applications

Apart from commuters who use the Zeitmeilen app to avoid traffic jams, and local authorities who benefit from reduced traffic peaks, companies can also gain advantages by introducing Zeitmeilen for their employees. For one thing, staff arrive at work punctually and more relaxed in the morning, while concrete savings can be achieved through the more efficient use of company fleets and the reduction of parking spaces. The costs of setting up and operating the Zeitmeilen application are thus rapidly recouped – after all, it takes just a fraction of the costs that would otherwise be incurred in the construction and operation of parking spaces, for example. Moreover, the company can improve its long-term CO2 balance by actively involving its employees in sensible commuting.

 

Incentivisation within companies

Incentives can be used in a meaningful way in the corporate context as well. If an employee follows the recommendations of the app (e.g. driving outside rush hours or using an alternative route), or drives in a resource-saving manner such as carpooling, using public transport or cycling, she or he will collect “time miles” (Zeitmeilen) that can then be exchanged for a bonus. On top of that, internal competitions (“Time Miler of the Month”) can boost motivation. As a supplement to the app, there is a dashboard for tracking individual records of success. This can be placed in the company canteen, for example, to motivate other employees to participate. Because Zeitmeilen always rewards positive mobility behaviour rather than imposing sanctions, employee representatives and trade unions generally have no reservations about introducing such incentive measures.

 

Flexible integration into mobility apps

Today, Zeitmeilen AG belongs to the family of Freiburg-based software company highQ, which specialises in the development of IT solutions for public transport and controlling solutions for banks. Users of the mobility app mytraQ, developed by highQ, can therefore already use the full spectrum of Zeitmeilen functions to optimise business mobility. In addition, Zeitmeilen will continue to be available as a stand-alone app and as a white-label product for integration into routing and ticketing apps from other providers. One example of this type of white-label application is the multimodal mobility app moveBW in Stuttgart. Zeitmeilen has also already been used in the corporate context as part of the SB:digital initiative of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

 

To maximise user acceptance, Zeitmeilen fundamentally follows the principle of “rewarding instead of punishing”. Rather than being sanctioned for driving your own car – as in the case of a driving ban or congestion charge, for example – motorised private transport remains part of the mobility mix optimised by Zeitmeilen. However, if the user chooses, switching to the transport modes of the environmental alliance can be rewarded via the incentive function. In this way, even die-hard motorists are more likely to be won over and gradually moved towards multimodal, more environmentally friendly transport behaviour. Consequently, it may turn out to be more effective for traffic-stricken communities as well as companies to invest a small amount in Zeitmeilen rather than infinitely greater sums in additional roads or parking spaces.

 

About Zeitmeilen AG

Zeitmeilen AG is a sister company of highQ Computerlösungen GmbH and makes a concrete contribution to the realisation of sustainable mobility. Through the technological networking of information, mobility can be made convenient and stress-free for the individual, efficient for the economy and society, and environmentally friendly.

www.zeitmeilen.de

Intermodal and demand-driven: planning for transportation transformation

Development of an intermodal planning component based on the planning system PlanB

Integrated traffic concepts consisting of scheduled services and on-demand offers are to be tested within the framework of the MaaS L.A.B.S. research project. Freiburg IT company highQ is developing an intermodal planning component based on its PlanB planning system.

 

The world of mobility is still clearly divided into two halves: motorised private transport on the one hand and public transport on the other. Within the next few years, however, traffic in cities is likely to look much more colourful. Line-based public transport will be supplemented by individual, demand-driven sharing components, sometimes referred to as “individual public transport” (German “IÖV”). The aim is to enable all transport users to reach their destinations as safely and conveniently using environmentally sensitive modes of travel as they are used to with travelling in their own cars.

 

The feasibility and acceptance of such a transport system is to be clarified by the four-year research and development project MaaS L.A.B.S. (Mobility as a Service Platform: Alive, Automated, Demand & Sharing Oriented). The project is funded by the BMBF with approximately 4.5 million euros and was officially launched on 15 May 2019. Potsdam was selected as one of three pilot cities. There, the existing public transport schedule is to be supplemented by self-driving electric microbuses as well as car, bike and ridesharing services. All offers will be brought together via a common digital platform to create a uniform, attractive overall offer for transport users.

 

Integration of all mobility offers

The basis of the system is an integrated mobility platform that links the transport services of the various providers and enables comprehensive and coordinated planning, control and billing functions. Transport users will be able to access the complete range of services via a routing and ticketing app, which is yet to be developed. Users will be able to compile their individual travel chains via smartphone, receive a total price for the chosen option and then book it directly.

 

In addition to the transport companies of the three pilot cities (Potsdam, Cottbus and Hannover), several universities and IT companies are involved in MaaS L.A.B.S. One of the ten project partners is Freiburg IT company highQ Computerlösungen GmbH, which has already gained experience in numerous research and customer projects in the field of digital mobility. Alongside its involvement in the overall MaaS architecture, highQ is significantly involved in the development of the platform’s own ticketing and clearing systems, as well as the MaaS app and the MaaS planning component.

 

Making planning more flexible

An integrated offer of this kind, in which scheduled and on-demand services are flexibly linked with one another, requires intermodal operational planning. This has so far not been supported by conventional public transport planning tools. As part of MaaS L.A.B.S., a planning tool of this nature will now be implemented for the first time. The basis is provided by the highQ planning software PlanB, which will be supplemented for this purpose by additional modules for preliminary planning and ad-hoc deployment planning of on-demand transportation. The supply corridors will be defined in the preliminary planning phase. The actual deployment planning of the vehicles will then take place in real time on the basis of passenger requests. These requests will be efficiently pooled onto the vehicles, and connecting services will always be taken into account to minimise waiting times for passengers. In this way, reliable travel chains can be created that offer a genuine alternative to travelling in your own car.

 

Because on-demand transport will be handled by electric microbuses, the specifics of electric vehicles – such as range and recharging time – will also need to be taken into account in route planning. The necessary additions to PlanB are already being implemented. The creation and optimisation of the routes will then be based on the available (remaining) ranges of the vehicles, depending on the energy requirements (e.g. elevation profile) of the respective route, as well as on the climatic conditions, which also have an impact on actual vehicle ranges.

 

A role model for other cities

The project results of MaaS L.A.B.S. are intended to form the basis for an ecological traffic transformation in cities – away from private transport and towards what is being called “individual public transport”. For this reason, the project will not focus solely on the technical aspects: it will also actively involve the population, urban development, transport planning and political representatives of the participating cities. If the desired project objectives are successfully implemented and achieve the hoped-for acceptance among transport users, planned intermodal transport systems will soon be introduced in other cities and municipalities.

 

 

Flexible planning for every size of operation

The PlanB planning system was originally developed for timetable, route and duty scheduling in small, regional bus companies. For this reason, the focus was on making the system as simple and intuitive as possible, as well as achieving significantly lower implementation costs than the “big” planning systems on the market. PlanB continues to offer these advantages, even though the system is now used just as much in large transport companies and associations as it is for the planning of tram services. Today, PlanB is being used by a large number of public transport companies nationwide, in rural areas (e.g. Nahverkehr Hohenlohe/NVH, Verkehrsgesellschaft Vorpommern-Greifswald/VVVM) as well as in special transportation in metropolitan regions (e.g. Verkehrsbetrieb Hamburg-Holstein/VHH, Dr. Richard Linien, Vienna).

 

PlanB is particularly suitable for flexible planning scenarios, such as those required for tendering. For instance, meaningful results can be generated by entering just a small amount of data. The simultaneous provision of routing and service information allows tendering participants to take into account the applicable legal and tariff regulations. Optional modules for optimising vehicle and duty rosters support planners in the best possible use of resources. Another particular strength of the system lies in the flexible planning of day-specific services, for instance in school traffic.

 

The latest version 11 of the programme, released in August 2019, additionally offers a functional “planning situation” extension to display alternative plans (route sequences, journeys) in specific time periods. This enables current traffic events to be prepared even more effectively and the corresponding planning data to be made available for subsequent passenger information or operations control systems (ITCS).

New talent in five areas

highQ gains new talent and strengthens its team in five areas / new offices for the Hamburg branch

The 57 strong highQ team is happy to welcome new employees at the Freiburg location. Since the beginning of June, Oliver Brügner has been part of the mobile app team as a software developer and Kathrin Adler has been working for us as a personnel officer for personnel development and employee management. And we have also been successful in gaining new colleagues for highQ in the areas of sales and project management. Since mid-August we have been delighted with the active support of Raphaela Herrmann in the sales office and Nico Buchmüller, who will be a new member of the TicketOffice team as project manager. In addition, with Insa Räuber, a familiar and popular face for many is back from parental leave and strengthens our marketing activities. The Hamburg branch has moved and has significantly expanded its office space. On September 1, colleagues moved into Hermannstraße 10 and from October 1, branch manager Martin Jäschke will welcome a new colleague in support. However, there are still some vacancies, especially in Berlin, where a project manager and supporter is urgently sought, and in Hamburg, where a project manager is urgently sought.

 

Photo: Oliver Brügner, Nico Buchmüller, Kathrin Adler, Insa Räuber, Raphaela Herrmann (v.l.n.r.)

Optimisation of property developer financing - a progress report

Developer financing has always been highly risky and must therefore be intensively reviewed. This, and the fact that they are processed in accordance with the Brokers' and Developers' Ordinance, gives rise to numerous special features in processing. Credit processing is usually very complex and costly. The personnel deployment at the banks for a professional handling of the loans was and is enormous. In cooperation with Sparkasse Freiburg-Nördlicher Breisgau, highQ Computerlösungen GmbH has therefore been continuously developing abakusBT, the solution to map the property developer financing process more efficiently and accurately, since 1999. Nicole Farrelly, head of the property development group at Sparkasse Freiburg-Nördlicher Breisgau is the "co-inventor" of the software. In this article she presents the essential features for banks.

In recent years, it has become necessary to obtain very detailed knowledge of market developments, but also of cost and contract award risks, due to the ever longer building permit periods and the often significantly increased construction costs and rising project sizes. It is therefore becoming increasingly important for lenders to have a functioning "early warning system" in order to identify possible imbalances or problems in the loans concerned in good time. "With abakusBT we have a software that not only saves double entries in different systems, but also checks the entries for plausibility. With the highQ solution, the users are guided through the masks in a sensible way, so nothing is forgotten or overlooked. Through this systematic approach, the software casually conveys to the user the bundled knowledge of all experts who work with abakusBT and continuously contribute their knowledge. summarizes Nicole Farrelly the motivation for the development and use of the highQ software.

The property development loan business is a highly interesting line of business, but the lack of land in urban areas results in high land purchase prices, sometimes combined with building law risks or conditions on urban development contracts that make sales more difficult. The combination of very high purchase prices combined with long development times harbours a highly potentised risk, as market prices today must be forecast for many years to come. The credit requirements of property developers are high and the scarce resource of equity capital is therefore tied up for years and the limits of the banks usually also limit the volumes. Nevertheless, property development financing is and remains a highly interesting business area for banks, which often results in further business, such as the final financing of buyers or property sales. In order to be able to realise the potential profits from the financing here, the processing must be lean and tightly organised. Risk controlling and risk management must be constantly updated.

abakusBT combines these necessities and promotes the highest possible efficiency in processing. By means of plausibility checks, the software offers high security standards at an early stage of processing through detailed cost and contribution margin controls. The individual data are entered once into the clearly arranged input masks. Plausibility

checks during input and storage largely prevent incorrect entries, and the DSGVO is of course complied with. With abakusBT you manage your property developer loans optimally. The simplified and uniform processing of property developer loans with abakusBT is a particular advantage over the classic methods. The constant manual transfer of object and buyer data for the various evaluations is no longer necessary. In addition to the basic property-related and developer-specific data, all account transactions and purchase contracts are recorded. With the help of intelligent input completion, even large amounts of data can be recorded quickly and easily. Thanks to the time-saving import interfaces (AMADEUS, DTAUS), you can also import data supplied by the property developer (e.g. calculation, unit list, transfers) directly into the software.

All important entries and changes are logged and thus documented to ensure the dual control principle. abakusBT is easy to use for every user due to its clear structure. The recorded data is evaluated by the program and compared with the planned figures. This enables a detailed control of the use of funds and costs, current profit calculation and an automatic update of the contribution margin. The interfaces to the original EDP systems additionally simplify the work in the daily business.

As a result of the ever increasing financing volumes and project sizes, bank partnerships are increasingly being formed. Uniform processing facilitates these joint financing arrangements immensely. abakusBT is the solution for property developer financing in all banks, at the level of the administrator, consultant and controller. According to the guideline "more overview, less risk" the highQ application optimizes the credit business - and creates security in daily business through precise, audit-proof workflows. With just a few mouse clicks, all relevant data such as average sales proceeds per sqm, current sales status, current remaining credit, remaining loan/sqm and much more is available to you. Standard forms and letters, including the declaration of exemption, already contain all the necessary data and can be printed out (automatically completed) if required. Under constant monitoring of plan and actual data, the bookings, divided into cost groups, are included in the evaluation. Indications of cost overruns are immediately displayed with cost element and amount. The system enables the complete recording, continuous updating and regular checking of all financing-relevant data of a construction project, a task that can hardly be performed "by hand" sufficiently. Volker Kluitmann, head of the real estate customer department at Stadtsparkasse Düsseldorf, would therefore not want to do without the helpful software any longer: "abakusBT is an essential component for the risk-appropriate support and control of the property development business in our company".

However, the system not only supports the specialists in their daily work, but also leads to the "forced professionalisation" of less experienced clerks, as Nicole Farrelly, head of the property development group at Sparkasse Freiburg-Nördlicher Breisgau, puts it. "The system helps institutions with little property development business to ensure uniform processing in accordance with the procedure that has proven itself in practice. Not everyone has to reinvent the wheel. In this way, professional handling of the property development business is also possible in smaller houses that do not have their own property development department," continues Farrelly. New employees in this area have also reported that the clear structure of abakusBT makes it much easier to familiarize themselves with the new job.
The software developed by highQ in close cooperation with the users ensures that the performance of the application is always adapted to the current requirements of the property development loan business. Currently, the requirements of the DSGVO have been implemented in the software. In this way, a best-practice solution has been created based on the know-how of many experienced specialists. The further development of abakusBT is especially supported by annual, nationwide user meetings, the last meeting was held at the Sparkasse Rosenheim-Bad Aibling. Enhancements or changes that affect all users are discussed and coordinated together at these events and often already considered in one of the next software releases of abakusBT. However, the value of the user meetings goes far beyond the further development of the software: "At the user meetings I especially appreciate the direct contact to other abakusBT users, in order to exchange information about current questions and developments in the property development loan business", emphasizes Bernhard Hedrich, head of the property development center of the Kreissparkasse Ludwigsburg. In fact, the personal contacts have meanwhile developed into a network of experts, in which lively communication takes place between the annual meetings and many a risk is mitigated.

 

Authors:
Nicole Farrelly, head of the developer group of the Sparkasse Freiburg-Nördlicher Breisgau
Kai Horn, Head of Sales & Marketing, highQ Computerlösungen GmbH, Freiburg

 

Germany’s first ever CiBo ticketing service launches in Osnabrück

After two years of development and implementation by the Freiburg-based IT company highQ and other industrial partners, the digital mobility platform of Stadtwerke Osnabrück is scheduled to go fully live this year. The highlight will be a check-in/be-out (CiBo) ticketing service with retrospective best price billing – an all-time first in Germany.

It couldn’t be simpler. To check in on the bus, all it takes is a swipe on the smartphone and the passenger can even check out without having to do anything else. The system automatically registers when the passenger leaves the vehicle and reconstructs the travelled route or chain. Pricing is determined fully automatically in the background following the best-price principle. If someone travels several times on the same day or in the same week, the individual tickets are bundled into daily or weekly tickets so that the passenger always pays the lowest price. Stadtwerke Osnabrück (SWO) is one of ten partners of the communal transport network Verkehrsgemeinschaft Osnabrück (VOS). Its innovative CiBo ticketing system complies with VDV-KA/extension stage 3 and makes SWO a pioneer among German public transport companies.

CiBo ticketing is currently undergoing intensive testing. This year’s planned transition to regular transport services marks the culmination of SWO’s multi-stage digitisation strategy, which was launched in 2016. The aim is to progressively rollout an end-to-end digitised multi-modal mobility service. The development and implementation of the various modules is being led by the system houses highQ from Freiburg and eos.uptrade from Hamburg, with other industry partners involved as suppliers.

Following the redesign of the tariff structure to achieve greater customer orientation, the existing VOSPilot mobility app was correspondingly adapted and, in addition to local public transport, the regional car sharing service was also integrated. Further mobility offers such as the use of public car parks and bicycle parking facilities will also be added. Thanks to the system’s modular architecture, it can be easily expanded to include additional services in the future.

Since January 2019, the highQ-developed ControlApp for inspectors has also been in use. This enables electronic checking of travel authorisations and, if necessary, the issuing of increased transport charges (EBE). The app can be installed on Android-based ticket inspection devices or simply on standard smartphones. If a mobile printer unit is added to the system, the inspector can issue an EBE receipt directly on the spot. The ControlApp feeds the EBE data directly into the back-office system, where it is available in real time for billing, accounting or other purposes.

Central sales platform and multi-provider billing

Another milestone is the development of a web-based customer portal. Via this portal, every passenger can access the various mobility offers in Osnabrück, regardless of whether they are season ticket holders or occasional customers. Once they have registered, the offers they have selected are available to them in their VOSPilot. This also enables direct booking of intermodal, multi-provider journey chains. While the app itself was developed by eos.uptrade/Hacon, highQ was responsible for linking the various back-office systems and making the necessary interface adaptations. The backbone of the new online sales platform is the highQ fare management system TicketOffice.

All system modules meet the requirements for interoperable service according to the German VDV-KA guidelines and are therefore future-proof. “Together with Stadtwerke Osnabrück, we are doing pioneering work here”, explained Kai Horn, Head of Marketing and Sales at highQ. “We are particularly pleased that we were able to apply all the key highQ mobility modules in the new mobility platform. We would like to expressly thank the entire SWO team and the ICG consulting team for their outstanding cooperation and patience in implementing the numerous project milestones”, Horn continued.

The sales data of all integrated mobility providers are consolidated in the highQ fare.logiQ accounting system, thus enabling central, multi-provider billing. Once a month, the customer receives a clear summary invoice for the trips he or she has completed. “Thanks to the uniform, digital access to our various mobility services, the obstacles to taking advantage of local public transport and other environmentally friendly means of travel have been significantly diminished”, commented Maik Blome, Head of Marketing for Mobility Services at Stadtwerke Osnabrück. “Our new digital mobility platform provides our customers with one-stop access to all mobility offers in the Osnabrück area.” Blome anticipates that the convenient CiBo ticketing service in particular will win new customers for public transport in Osnabrück.

Eighty mobility experts at the highQ user forum in Frankfurt

The first central highQ user forum for our customers from the mobility industry took place in June 2019. The managing directors Thomas Hornig and Christian Disch were pleased with the lively participation - around 80 participants came together in the Co-Work & Play, an innovative coworking space in the centre of Frankfurt am Main. The focus was on the expanded highQ product portfolio with solutions for GreenCity/SmartCity applications, the highQ mobility platform and the EBE app. Sales Manager Kai Horn also provided an insight into highQ's second important business area, Controlling (Property Developer Banking Solutions/abakusBT), which is playing an increasingly important role for mobility providers (e.g. in the topic of revenue sharing or the evaluation of which incentive has the desired effect in the optimisation of the transport strategy).

The first central highQ user forum for our customers from the mobility industry took place in June 2019. The managing directors Thomas Hornig and Christian Disch were pleased with the lively participation - around 80 participants came together in the Co-Work & Play, an innovative coworking space in the centre of Frankfurt am Main. The focus was on the expanded highQ product portfolio with solutions for GreenCity/SmartCity applications, the highQ mobility platform and the EBE app. Sales Manager Kai Horn also provided an insight into highQ's second important business area,

Controlling (Property Developer Banking Solutions/abakusBT), which is playing an increasingly important role for mobility providers (e.g. in the topic of revenue sharing or the evaluation of which incentive has the desired effect in the optimisation of the transport strategy).

Customers report on their experiences and challenges
The morning of the first day of the event was dominated by customer reports on the products used and the cooperation with highQ. Fabian Pfeiffer from DB Vertrieb GmbH, for example, reported on the use of highQ TicketOffice in a wide variety of applications and also addressed future requirements for the solution. Thomas Mager from the Baden-Württemberg Ministry of Transportation gave the audience an overview of current requirements for industry partners and upcoming projects. And Maik Blome, Head of Marketing/Sales for the mobility offer of the Osnabrück public utility company, reported on the progress made in setting up the SWO/highQ mobility platform there and gave an exciting insight into the complexity of the tasks and processes that have to be mastered in the process. The witty conclusion of the customer reports was provided by Bernd Hasenfratz, authorised signatory of the Lake Constance transport association BODO, who used impressive pictures and humorous analyses to highlight the introduction of an eTicket project and the challenges involved. In the afternoon, workshops on the various mobility products from highQ followed. For example, users and interested parties were able to exchange views on the extensive functions and possibilities of TicketOffice and PlanB. Even specific questions were not neglected - after all, no questions should be left unanswered at a user meeting. The workshops on the development status of the various highQ apps and mobility platforms were also in high demand. Top topic: the joint mobility marketplace.

The question of how the various highQ products can be effectively combined into a common "mobility marketplace" was also much discussed - this was clearly the top topic of the event. From a holistic mobility analysis and consulting to the implementation of the entire workflow, highQ offers a

complete portfolio of solutions. The icing on the cake is the commuter app, which optimally supports the mobility concept that has been developed: The app simplifies mobility by intelligently equalizing traffic flows through software-based recommendations, redirecting them when necessary and thus suggesting seamless connections from the front door to work - multimodal and resource-saving. Tickets for public transport and reservations for car/bike sharing services can also be booked directly via the app. In addition, user groups can connect with each other through a communication component, for example to share their daily commute to work (carpooling). The app's integrated "time miles" bonus system provides users with additional motivation to change their own traffic behavior. All this helps to shorten travel times, reduce costs and promote an environmentally sound choice of transport mode.

Another important topic was the aspect of interoperability - here highQ's expertise in eTicket and back-office implementations was particularly in demand. Topics of the relevant workshops were the fare management system fare.logiQ, revenue sharing in networks as well as the easy connection to interoperable networks via the certified highQ IONgate.

Customer feedback explicitly desired
A lot of space was also given to customer feedback: all participants had the opportunity to voice their criticism (and also their praise) to the highQ managers. This and the presentation of the results of the Customer Satisfaction Analysis 2018 marked the end of the first day of the event. Finally, to round off the day, highQ's 23rd birthday was celebrated together in the wonderful setting of the Oosten restaurant, located directly on the Main River, with the opportunity to exchange ideas with other users of highQ solutions. On the second day of the event, the focus was on joint work: Five mobility topics were dealt with in groups before the event came to a successful conclusion with a joint excursion. A repetition in two years can be taken for granted!

With innovative software solutions we support companies, municipalities and financial institutions in the effective planning, implementation, optimisation and monitoring of their tasks. Our highQ IT solutions make public transport more fluid and environmentally friendly, provide more transparency in real estate projects and identify potential for improvement in corporate structures and processes. Gladly also for you - we look forward to your inquiry!

MaaS L.A.B.S. research project

Designing new mobility for and with users

Once again, highQ is playing a major role in an innovation research project. On 15 May 2019, the BMBF approved the research and development project “User-centred Mobility-as-a-Service Platform: Living, Automated, Demand- & Sharing-oriented”, known under its German acronym as MaaS L.A.B.S.

The aim is to develop innovative, digitally supported mobility services in Potsdam, Cottbus and Hanover. MaaS L.A.B.S. will shape traffic transformation through flexible and demand-oriented public transport, which will add automated microbuses to its high-performance offering and combine it with new car, bike and ride-sharing services. This ecological, cost-effective, social and city-friendly transformation of our mobility system is developing solutions that address the challenges of climate change, air pollution and traffic congestion. The innovative offers are founded on the changing values of the urban population and shifts in mobility behaviour that are already perceptible today.

Drawn from the social sciences, engineering and economics, the interdisciplinary MaaS L.A.B.S project team is placing road users at the heart of its development work and aims to test technologies and business models step by step to avoid planning errors. There are four interlinked services:

  • An app informs city residents about integrated mobility offers (public transport and sharing offers) and facilitates mobility planning and billing
  • Intelligent sharing services complement public transport to create an attractive overall service that is capable of competing with private cars
  • Automated microbuses pick people up at their doorstep and thereby improve the accessibility of large residential areas
  • Control systems ensure the seamless operation of this integrated transport system, which responds in real time to current passenger demand

For the first time, the MaaS L.A.B.S. system is looking in greater depth at the specific requirements of small- and medium-sized cities within the framework of research and development. In the cities of Potsdam, Cottbus and Hanover, “living labs” are being set up in which offers are developed in active dialogue with the population, urban development, transport planning and politics. Extensive demonstrations make the various technologies tangible and shape technology and process development by means of step-by-step feedback processes.

 

The research and development project is being funded by the BMBF for four years (15.5.2019-14.05.2023) in the funding line “Individual and adaptive technologies for networked mobility”. The total funding volume of the project amounts to around 5 million euros. The project consortium consists of three universities (TH Wildau, University of Siegen, FH Potsdam), three public transport companies (VIP Potsdam, Üstra Hannover, Cottbusverkehr) and five private-sector providers of data-based mobility infrastructure ranging from app development to sharing and hardware offerings.

Project partners:

  • Technische Hochschule Wildau
  • Universität Siegen
  • Fachhochschule Potsdam
  • ASEW-Stadtwerke-Netzwerk
  • Cottbusverkehr
  • Getaway
  • GHM Mobile Development GmbH
  • highQ Computerlösungen GmbH
  • IVU Traffic Technologies AG
  • üstra Hannoversche Verkehrsbetriebe AG
  • ViP Verkehrsbetriebe Potsdam

Revenue management for every size of business

The fare.logiQ EFM software

The fare.logiQ EFM software from Freiburg-based IT company highQ has so far been designed primarily for use in small to medium-sized transport companies. In its latest version, the system can now be scaled up as required and offers full functionality for even complex installations in large transport companies and associations. At the same time, highQ has preserved the system’s simple, intuitive operability.

“Revenue management is a central component in mobility solutions of every size”, explained Kai Horn, Head of Marketing and Sales at highQ. “That’s why we have made our system capable of meeting the exacting requirements of our major customers. fare.logiQ has already been in use across Germany for 15 years and now has full mass data capability. Our largest installations, such as DB Vertrieb, will soon have as many as one million customers in the system.”

Whether for small, medium or large companies, fare.logiQ makes revenue management much easier and clearer. This is because the sales and booking data of different accounting centres or affiliated companies are combined in a central revenue database. Appropriate interfaces (e.g. SAP) make it easy to transfer EFM data to general ledger accounting. Another advantage is that fare.logiQ is database independent, allowing it to be easily integrated into existing IT infrastructures. The system is infinitely scalable, from a small installation using a cost-free database to complex installations with an Oracle connection. Beyond that, fare.logiQ is also available as a SaaS solution.


eTicket Germany compliant
A frequent customer requirement for EFM systems is conformity with eTicket Germany, also known in industry circles as the VDV core application, or KA. As one of the first providers of VDV-KA-compliant solutions, highQ was instrumental in the development of the Germany-wide standard and was also the first to receive the relevant certification. This means that highQ products are proven to ensure safe interoperable operation.


Integrated BI and CPM tools
Large transportation companies in particular also attach importance to business intelligence and corporate performance management functions, which enable them to systematically analyse and optimise business processes. As a result, fare.logiQ now also features modular BI and CPM tools. Despite this enormous increase in functionality, one proven feature of fare.logiQ remains intact: the simple and intuitive operating concept. According to Kai Horn, this is currently being optimised together with user-experience experts for use in large transport companies. “This means we are now in a position to offer a suitable solution for companies of all sizes.”

 

fare.logiQ features

  • Completeness check of the device layers
  • Flexible cash management with optional Safebag administration
  • Driver accounting via driver accounts
  • Customisable consolidated booking function
  • Retrospective additions and deductions in the customer centre
  • Accrual accounting via daily and monthly financial statements
  • Monthly composite reports and statistical evaluations
  • Configurable managed, multi-client data management
  • Vendor-independent database technology, for example for Oracle or MS SQL Server
  • Integrated BI tool
  • eTicket Germany certified

Osnabrück makes multimodal mobile

Interoperable background system, mobile ticketing, webshop for subscribers

Interoperable background system, mobile ticketing, web shop for subscribers: With highQ Computerlösungen as the general contractor, Osnabrück will have a fully digitized, multimodal mobility offering.

For the customers of the Verkehrsgemeinschaft Osnabrück (VOS) the digital age has begun. The smartphone app VOSpilot offers up-to-date timetable information for public transport in the city and district - in the city even including car sharing. It now makes it easy to plan a journey from door to door without having to leaf through printed timetables first. This year, booking options for customers in the city of Osnabrück will also be integrated for local providers of car and bike sharing and BikeBoxes.
Ticket purchase should also become more convenient for subscribers. This year, a subscription webshop will be set up, where subscribers can buy and renew their subscription directly online. To enable the new ticket world with mobile ticketing and online subscription system to take hold, highQ has already installed an integrated sales system (IVS) based on the proven highQ-EFM software TicketOffice. "Whether subscriber or occasional driver, we want to offer all our customers a convenient service from a single source," explains Maik Blome, who is in charge of sales of the mobility offer at Stadtwerke Osnabrück. In future, occasional drivers in particular will be able to buy a ticket directly from their smartphone in the city of Osnabrück. This mobile ticketing solution is provided by eos.uptrade GmbH from Hamburg.

The new background system conforms to the VDV core application and is therefore interoperable, so that other service providers are integrated in addition to VOS. For a more comfortable use of public transport, the introduction of a smartphone-based check-in/out system (CiBo) according to KA expansion stage 3 is in preparation for 01.07.2019. The internal tests for this have already begun. CiBo enables fully automatic price calculation in the background with best price settlement, a further, considerable increase in attractiveness for public transport. "We are using our commitment as part of the VOS to enable the first pilots to use the app in as customer-compliant a manner as possible," says Blome. In further steps it is therefore conceivable to extend this service to the entire VOS area and thus the entire district of Osnabrück.

The renewed mobility offer in the Osnabrück area is to be implemented in 2018-2019, with highQ acting as general contractor. "Stadtwerke Osnabrück is developing from a pure transport company into a comprehensive service and mobility provider," is how the responsible business unit manager Werner Linnenbrink describes the project goal. "With a completely digitalised service and the smartphone as the central user medium, we want to initiate the mobility turnaround in our city and convince as many Osnabrück residents as possible of the advantages of multimodal mobility.

[Translate to Englisch:]

Equalising commuter traffic

mytraQ app helps escape the daily traffic jam

The mytraQ app from the Freiburg-based software company highQ helps to equalise commuter traffic.

It is not just people and the environment that suffer from the daily grind of commuting, but companies as well – employees arrive at work already stressed or even late, and are less productive. A novel app promises to help remedy this situation.

“mytraQ” simplifies the daily commute with intelligent route recommendations based on an analysis of the needs of the company and the preferences of the employees. The digital solution is individually adapted to each company by highQ.

The goal is to create seamless connections from the front door to work and back again – via public transport, bicycle, on foot, in their own cars or as car pool passengers with colleagues. An integrated bonus system provides employees with additional motivation to make intelligent use of different modes of transport. “Sensible” commuting behaviour is rewarded with time miles, which can later be exchanged for bonuses. There is also a playful competition (“Time Miler of the Month”), so commuting can even be fun.

The development of myQommute is funded through the SB:Digital research project under the “Future of Work” programme. You can find more information here.

The new bwtariff

highQ customer starts on time with the new bwtarif

Providers of intermodal transport services in Baden-Württemberg were obliged to offer their passengers the new, state-wide BW tariff on the cut-off date of 9 December 2018. With the support of highQ, the Sigmaringen roundabout operators (KVB) were able to make a precision landing.

The new BW tariff, introduced on 9 December, is intended to make inter-city travel more comfortable and cheaper. With its 22 regional transport associations, Baden-Württemberg is an extremely challenging environment. For many, especially smaller transport providers, however, the additional tariff offer presented a challenge, as the tariff data supplied by the state had to be entered into all sales and control systems. This mainly affected rail transport providers such as DB Regio, but also national bus companies such as KVB Sigmaringen. The "Regiobus Donau-Bodensee" operated by the KVBs, a 48-kilometre bus line from Sigmaringen to Überlingen, connects the transport associations Neckar-Alb-Danube (Naldo) and Regionalverkehr Alb-Bodensee (RAB).

"All transport companies that operate across the association's boundaries had to complete the tariff integration by the deadline," explains Erik Schlegel, who is responsible for the project for highQ customers. "For our customer KVB Sigmaringen we were able to implement this very powerful and complex tariff on time despite the very tight time frame". This was highly appreciated by experts, who compared the BW tariff with a "new association" due to the effort involved. "Nevertheless, thanks to highQ's extensive experience in handling tariff data, the implementation was possible quickly and inexpensively", says highQ sales manager Kai Horn. The advantage here was that KVB already had modern, tablet-based sales and control systems with the highQ-TicketApp.

The new fare data is supplied by the state in the standardized PKM format (product and control module), the transport companies are then responsible for the integration themselves. Or they get support from experts like highQ. Erik Schlegel is therefore already in talks with other customers: "Those who do not offer intermodal transport services will have a slightly longer period of time to implement the BW tariff". In the course of the first half of 2019, highQ intends to offer an update of its TicketApp, which already includes the new tariff and will thus enable the sale and control of BW tickets for all users of the highQ app without additional effort. Next year, as soon as the country supplies the tariff data for e-tickets according to VDV-KA, highQ will also update its app mytraQ for mobile ticket control accordingly.

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