As part of our accreditation as a certified Peplink partner we are keen to discover more and more about our target markets – one of which is Public Transport. The bi-annual Coach & Bus UK event at the Birmingham NEC was an obvious place to go on a fact finding mission.

The event itself is very impressive and very well organised. It covers a large area, which is to be expected given the size of some of the exhibits. I do not know the numbers but it looked to me to be a very well attended event.

Coach & Bus logo

Two things surprised me during our day wondering around the huge hall: just how friendly people were and just how advanced the Public Transport industry actually is.

Now it could be argued that it’s an exhibition and exhibitors are trying to sell so therefore they will have their best PR smiles on but I disagree with that – I think the people were generally very pleasant by nature. Whether it was a huge stand with twenty staff or a small family outfit, everyone was happy to take the time to talk to us new kids. It could be that they are from an industry that is very public-facing and dealing with the public is all about the experience. Whatever the reason, it made the whole event an enjoyable affair.

The other surprise was just how advanced the industry actually is. Reading that back it does sound as if I thought Public Transport was stuck in the dark ages but that is not true. I have merely taken the industry for granted and not stopped to think about just what goes into making sure that a bus arrives in the right place at the right time. Getting an insight into the infrastructure behind the scenes was fascinating and seeing all the different aspects that have to be considered was very interesting.

Being from an IT background the areas that really interested me were the technologies used by the coach and bus companies. My obvious interest centred on the provision of passenger Wi-Fi as this is a big focus for the Peplink and Pepwave products. We are all so dependent upon our mobile devices now that Wi-Fi is becoming thought of as a basic need. Every shop, café, restaurant, bar, hotel, swimming pool – and any other public place you can think of – needs to offer Wi-Fi and Public Transport is no different. Being able to learn just how advanced this area is in this sector was incredibly useful to me especially learning about the proposed IT for PT “ITxPT” standard.

The provision of public Wi-Fi is something that the Pepwave range of products is designed for and is already being used for in this sector. Everyone we spoke to at the show who was familiar with the products were full of praise for them, their reliability and the endless ways they can be configured to meet the customer’s exact requirements. Getting feedback like this from people who install the products and stake their reputations on them is always incredibly useful.

We were so impressed with our day at the exhibition; the event itself, the exhibitors, the people we met and how much we learned that we decided to exhibit at the 2018 Euro Bus Expo. We will be there with our European partner, Frontier BV and the manufacturer Peplink will be there too. I’m already looking forward to meeting more people from the industry and learning even more.


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