China Railway High-Speed (CRH) has begun collaboration with Sensoro and Changda Media to deploy beacon devices on 260 high-speed trains departing from Beijing. The beacon network is set to begin service to an expected 560 million passengers a year in September.
CRH is one of China’s flagship enterprises. In addition to providing high-speed railway transportation across mainland China, CRH also exerts a strong international presence through China's infrastructure investments abroad. In July, CRH and Russian companies jointly won the bid for the Moscow-Kazan high-speed railway project in Russia, expanding CRH presence throughout Eurasia.
CRH’s decision to use iBeacon technology is a bid to introduce intelligent ecosystems to the high-speed railway transportation industry. The beacon devices will connect with ubiquitously used apps such as WeChat and Alipay. Upon introduction of the iBeacon technology, CRH passengers will be able to obtain coupons, vouchers, tickets, and other prizes through the WeChat “Shake” feature on their phones. The lottery distribution service platform of mobile commerce will make use of the high-speed rail's unique channel advantages. High passenger volume and long voyage times are expected to contribute to frequent passenger interraction with the beacon network.
Installation work and safety testing have been completed for the first 260 high-speed trains. First official use of beacon devices is set for September. The mobile iBeacon network’s content will be provided by Changda Media, which specializes in advertising on CRH’s trains. Any product service is eligible to purchase advertising space on the CRH sensor network, as long as they bring passengers a pleasant experience or high quality service.
CRH hopes that the sensor network will become more than an advertising business arrangement, and will provide the foundation for a high-tech ecosystem capable of a variety of other purposes in the future.
While this case is an example of a network being deployed with Apple's iBeacon technology, Sensoro devices are also compatible with Google Eddystone technology.