This is part of a blog post series discussing how you enable a simple, secure and scalable infrastructure for mass transit. As was discussed in my previous blog post on “The three Ss of remote and mobile assets,” if you manage a fleet – whether for mass transit, mobile services or first responders – you probably face two dueling challenges. You’re expected to ensure stability and continuous operations even as your budget is flat or declining. Add in the massive shift in mass transit ridership in 2020, and you have a good reason to hit pause as you rethink how you meet the new safety measures and  provide the right infrastructure to deliver the technology experience riders prefer. This includes supporting capabilities like social distancing, mobility on demand (MoD), contactless payment, on-board Wi-Fi and matching the experience ride sharing companies have established.

Unfortunately, this is difficult when the on-board network has been layered on over time, resulting in a complex and expensive data center on wheels. For evidence, look at the “porcupines” on top of most buses – that is, the collections of multi-vendor antennas required for connectivity across disparate systems and services. Multiply the costs and complexity across an entire fleet and it becomes clear that the status quo is unsustainable.

Legacy systems are expensive to maintain, incapable of scaling to meet rider expectations and fraught with security vulnerabilities. How can public transit organizations address these challenges? The answer is to create a fleet of smart buses powered by a multi-service network that can evolve with the requirements.

Cisco has developed a solution that combines secure, multi-function routing with native edge compute – in other words, a single box that delivers needed connectivity for everything from payment and location services to dynamic signage and maintenance monitoring. Our solution also offers gateway and SIM management that can be maintained by mechanics – no IT involvement required.

This solution is the perfect vehicle to get mass transit organizations where they need to go.

  • Simple unified management of gateways, and remote and mobile assets, so bus mechanics and non-IT staff can deploy and maintain thousands of smart buses with integrated fleet, vehicle, and mass transit operations.
  • Secure infrastructure platform that can integrate with the enterprise security fabric to provide a single control point for managing cybersecurity threats. Customers have derived numerous benefits from this including enabling two-way data flows using VPNs, more effective content filtering and edge security as well as secure access to support remote troubleshooting and updates.
  • Scalable infrastructure based on robust hardware and operating systems that have been field tested across millions of deployments, custom silicon to provide greater throughput and reliability and an open ecosystem of edge compute capabilities to support next-generation applications.

Focus on simple, secure and scalable design principles to allow your mass transit system to be optimized as you link your existing assets with the applications that can provide your business a new digital future. Settle for nothing less than an infrastructure purpose built to support the needs of real-time IoT data, a mix of different technologies and integrated asset operation.

Want to know more? Explore Cisco’s solution for remote and mobile assets here.



RJ Mahadev

Head, Cisco Retail IoT Solutions

IoT Business Unit