IBM and TUB take IoT on board Braga buses

Filipa Cardoso

Transportes Urbanos de Braga (TUB) and IBM Portugal are joining efforts to improve and customize the public transportation services of the Minho region. The project, presented on September 19 in Braga, is based on the Internet of Things (IoT) and will have about 120 public buses, connected to the city's network and ready to collect data that will help improve mobility in Braga, as well as help in the decision-making.

With this partnership, TUB are now using the IBM Intelligent Operations Center (IOC) platform, as well as some of the potentialities of IBM's "super computer", the IBM Watson IoT platform. The solution will help integrate all the data from several sources that the municipal public transport company has access to at the moment, from geographical location, climate and environment maps, internet, ticket issuance and vehicles telemetry. 

With the data collection, TUB and the city's operating centre will have access to the bus real-time geolocation, allowing not only the possibility of knowing where it is, but also understanding the driver behaviour patterns, consumption and speed and also predict and anticipate malfunctions or maintenance needs. On board, thanks to the available 4G connection, passengers can access the Wi-Fi network and check their "digital journey". The solution may later be used for other purposes such as maintenance or ticketing systems. 

The sensors will also have an environmental function, that is, they will be able to measure environmental data inside and outside the bus (CO2 levels, noise, temperature, humidity). This information will be provided to the population and local leaders in real time, contributing, once more, to a more sustained decision-making process. 

Taking advantage of the existing features, while using the TUB Mobile app integration, users can get to know more about their public transport network, vehicle location and other useful city information.   

In addition to improving public transportation in the city and the individual experience of the passengers, it will also be possible to ensure a better maintenance and operation of the transport system and its connection with the city daily life.   As such, it will be easier to avoid the management discontinuity, caused by service delays, and also contribute to more a informed decision-making process.

The partnership between TUB and IBM does not end here, and the goal is "to develop new features in the IBM Internet of Things platform to integrate and analyse real-time data from several critical city systems and provide new services in connected vehicles", says the technology company in a press release.

"By working closely with IBM, our passengers will now have access to a wide range of on-board personalized services, including free Wi-Fi, city information on things such as museums or restaurants, weather alerts and also the bus location to reduce the waiting time. This IoT solution will enhance the overall experience of the Braga citizen, providing them with a new level of comfort and convenience”, said Baptista da Costa, TUB manager. "The capacity to integrate real-time data from several different systems with IBM IOC and IBM IoT platforms will improve our management, processes and asset optimization."  

"With this partnership, IBM and TUB are projecting the future by accelerating the transformation of Braga into a smarter city, taking advantage of emerging new technologies such as cognitive solutions, IoT and the cloud, said António Raposo de Lima, IBM Portugal CEO. 

For the head of IBM, Portugal has great potential in these fields. "Our country has unique conditions to be at the forefront of digital transformation. It is essential to continue investing in new skills and talents and to promote Portugal as a technological innovation and applied scientific research country brand.   Therefore, we will be able to attract more investment, talent and thus reinforce the network of added value and research nearshore centres”, he concluded. 

Currently, TUB has more than 1800 stops and around 70 service lines. In 2016, the municipal company was used by 11 million passengers.   




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