Chiltern Railways customers can now save time, data, and no longer have to worry about connecting to separate on train and station Wi-Fi thanks to collaboration between parent company, Arriva UK Trains, digital connectivity experts WiFi SPARK, Icomera and using EE’s superfast 4G network. This first for the rail industry enables passengers to experience an optimal Wi-Fi connection, regardless of whether they are on the station platform or on the train.
Once the passenger has stepped onto the station, they only have to authenticate once to log onto the free Wi-Fi, and then a state-of-the-art ‘SPARK ® controller’ manages the rest, enabling the customer’s Wi-Fi connection to roam between the station system provided by WiFi SPARK and the on-train Wi-Fi provided by Icomera, using EE 4G connectivity.
When the train approaches a station, the on-board Wi-Fi temporarily hands over to the station Wi-Fi to give the passenger the best connectivity available, saving network costs. Passengers will not experience a loss of connection.
Passengers can be reassured that the utmost attention has been given to personal privacy and all data communication between Icomera and WiFi SPARK systems is encrypted using SSL. In addition, all Chiltern Railways stations and trains are certified ‘Friendly WiFi’ locations and meet the industry standard for filtering, blocking access to sites containing inappropriate content.
WiFi SPARK installed the latest Wi-Fi infrastructure in stations and provided the Chiltern Railways service both for passengers and Chiltern staff and guests. Icomera provided Chiltern’s on-board Wi-Fi technology and together they have delivered the state of the art roaming, ensuring a seamless connection between station and train. EE provides connectivity for the Chiltern on-board Wi-Fi and is currently working with the company to upgrade the trackside infrastructure and deliver a continuous connection along the route.
WiFi SPARK and Icomera developed a fully branded user experience for login that allows Chiltern Railways to continue to engage with passengers.
Kevin Ives, digital transformation director of Arriva UK Trains, said "This really is next generation Wi-Fi. Passengers want to be continuously connected to fast and reliable Wi-Fi as they move through every step of their journey. This collaboration with WiFi SPARK, Icomera and EE provides Chiltern Railways customers with a seamless service from the moment they arrive at the station and is part of our ongoing commitment to provide the very best digital train experience for our passengers."
Hans Stiles, head of IT for Chiltern Railways commented, "Chiltern Railways has a proven track record in digital innovation as the first operator to offer mobile ticketing and free on-board Wi-Fi. We are proud to deliver another industry first in the form of a seamless wireless experience for our customers. I would like to offer my thanks to WiFi SPARK, Icomera and EE for demonstrating a willingness to collaborate openly and bring such an innovative solution to market."
Dean Moody, chief commercial officer for WiFi SPARK said "We knew that Chiltern Railways are innovators, they want to push to continually offer the best passenger experience and service that they can, which is why we worked closely with Icomera and EE and really challenged ourselves to design a solution that would deliver both a technically advanced solution and a world-class passenger experience."