Data + Wi-Fi = Win


You can look back on trips

and find out where you went, share those moments you captured with friends

Guest post: Shawn Low, co-founder,

Data + Wi-Fi = Win.

Project SWIFT at its heart is a way to offer both high-speed wi-fi on ScotRail trains as well as use this wi-fi to enhance the passenger experience.


When passengers sign up for the free wi-fi, they will be offered an option to get enhanced services. The pilot will look at offering services such as discounted event tickets, taxi bookings to connect with train journeys and of course travel recommendations.

The Open Innovation Challenge invited five SMEs to explore the potential of Superfast Wi-Fi and open data APIs on a train to enhance onboard passenger experience. Each of the five have been through an 8 week programme to concept, validate and create a solution which will engage passengers, create incremental revenue streams for ScotRail and/or improve customer satisfaction.

Data helps travellers

It’s no secret that data is king. Harnessing, analysing and using that data in relevant ways to help the traveller is one of the holy grails. For example, Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam has hired data analysts to assess heat maps in order to better manage human traffic flows.

There are a myriad ways that data can be used to help travellers across various stages of their travel life cycle. Here at (one of the SMEs pitching at demo day), our goal is to use our technology and content to give travellers a helpful way to record their journeys as well as get recommendations customised to their needs and interests.

Take for example, a customer’s trip to Glasgow. We understand that Frank is in Glasgow with his family (instead of business) and will recommend the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum as one of the things they should do. The interactive displays are great for kids and adults alike. If it’s a rare sunny day, we would recommend Frank take his family on the open deck of the City Sightseeing Bus Tour around town.

Taking this further, we know that it’s dinner time and Frank and his wife have a rare night alone (the kids are with some relatives!). We know that they love trying good local produce and will send a push notification for him to check out Cail Bruich, a fantastic restaurant that serves up modern Scottish fare. Our iOS app goes beyond recommendations: it uses all the smarts in your device (GPS, motion sensors etc) to record your journey into a travel journal.

You can look back on trips and find out where you went, share those moments you captured with friends and in a future update, connect with other travellers in an online community
For Project SWIFT, we are offering travellers customised content via the in-train web portal. Passengers who connect to the in-train wi-fi can browse our travel stories (courtesy of ScotRail) as well as get recommendations around their destination.

Data helps companies.

Travellers aside, data can also help organisations. Increasingly, companies in the travel space are using data to inform their marketing decisions and offerings. Take for example how the Accor Hotel Group is using data to ‘hack’ growth. They use data to extend customer lifetime value, create APIs for local General Managers to find local businesses of interest to their guests and of course optimise pricing and demand. Casino’s such as Cesear’s have been using data to extend customer life value to big profits.

Organisations now need to better understand their customers beyond basic numbers. is working on a SaaS product that offers client deep insights into travellers while off the train and around the world. The applications for this platform are varied: from analysing tourism footfall traffic to getting demographic data on travellers, to offering personalisation in their marketing messages. This data also helps with targeting for social media marketing, SEO and email re-marketing with tailored messages.

The five SMEs invited to be part of Project SWIFT open innovation challenge are pitching at a demo day in Glasgow on Tuesday 3rd October. If you happen to be in town, why not drop by for lunch and watch some demos and pitches?

Free tickets are available here.