Greyhound and the Internet of Things
Most weekdays find me riding an Amtrak connector bus from Santa Cruz to downtown San Jose, where I hop the VTA light rail to an office a few stops North of the city center. While the start of my journey is highly predictable, road conditions and traffic patterns make the arrival time less predictable. For my return trip, I almost never know when the bus is going to arrive, so you can imagine my surprise when the CIO of Greyhound Lines started talking about all the cool things his company is doing with Internet of Things sensor technologies to improve safety and efficiency in their own bus fleet.
Chris Boult, CIO of Greyhound Lines, was part of a panel at the recent CIOsynergy event in Dallas, Texas. From the stage, he shared some great examples of ways Greyhound is using sensors.
One of the key advantages highlighted was the ability to use sensor data without needing proprietary technology for analysis. IoT sensors are more open, which allows for data collection and analytics to happen in the best tools for the business rather than being limited to the proprietary solutions provided by sensor vendors. In theory this allows IT to be more agile in their approach to data analysis and should translate to delivering business outcomes at a faster pace.
From a cost saving perspective, Greyhound uses sensors to reduce idling times when buses are stopped, which reduces fuel usage and also cuts back on unnecessary emissions. Boult shared examples about using sensors to track bus locations, to help make sure drivers are following appropriate routes, which theoretically shortens times between stops, makes the routes safer for passengers, and would eliminate fuel usage for deviation from the official bus route.
As a frequent bus passenger on a competing service, I was excited to learn that Greyhound Lines will soon offer customers the ability to see where the bus is in real time. This is particularly helpful for making sure you don't end up waiting additional time for a bus that won't be arriving when it was originally scheduled.
You can watch my interview with Chris Boult below.