TERATRACE — Providing Crowd Awareness to Public Transport Operators in Real-Time
What is your business idea?
With our crowd awareness platform we want to deliver tangible benefits to public transport networks by broadening the horizon of what is possible.
TERATRACE has developed the most cost-effective and scalable technology in the market to provide crowd awareness to public transport operators in real-time. Our technology uses artificial intelligence and sensor fusion to monitor and predict crowd dynamics network wide.
Our actionable insights impact the optimization of operations, safety, management of congestion, passenger satisfaction and enable data-driven decision making for long term investments and new sources of revenue streams. With TERATRACE operators can save Millions of € every year while enhancing their service quality.
What problem do you want to solve, what is your goal?
Public transport operators are under enormous pressure: Their infrastructure has to handle an expanding number of passengers — as cities are growing at an extremely fast rate and public policies aiming for more eco-friendly cities increasingly promote the use of public transport instead of cars.
What happens is that the public transport gets crowded! And crowding/congestion is a really big problem to operators: Crowding leads to service disruptions which ends up in low service quality and (non-) tangible cost for the transport operators as well as for the passengers. And crowding in public transportation is a global problem causing estimated annual costs in 9-digit levels per city.
To tackle this challenge transport operators have to understand crowd dynamics. However they rely today on labor intensive, inefficient and inaccurate methods like manual people counting, face-to-face interviews and disaggregated sources of data.
TERATRACE offers actionable insights by monitoring and forecasting in real-time the service demand and characterizing crowd dynamics network wide. This enables transport operators to manage and reduce the problem of congestion and further develop towards an integrated sustainable mobility system through the benefits of digitization.
How did you come up with your idea/concept?
We developed an innovative technology that enables massive asset tracking in real-time. Then we applied it in the area of logistics and sports. But when we got to know about the crowding problem of mobility in smart cities and public transport operators we realized the potential of our solution. Now we are really motivated to offer a high-tech product that not only saves cost to another business but also impacts the quality of living of millions.
What is your business model?
We offer our platform as a Software as a Service (SaaS) with a monthly recurring revenue which consists of a fixed price per station and a variable price depending on the number of passengers. This allows our customers to start small and realize the value of our solution without a big initial investment.
How does your product work and why is it better than other solutions in the market?
We use a network of inhouse-developed scanners that anonymously detect the mobile devices of passengers within and around the stations and inside the transportation vehicles. Our system estimates the number of passengers and anonymously tracks their position and movement within the stations and along the transportation network. By aggregating these measurements with other sources of sensor data and external data sources that strongly correlate with congestion, and by using state-of-the-art machine learning algorithms, we are able to accurately estimate crowding levels, identify disruptions and predict demand and congestion situations. The TERATRACE system can also aggregate existing WiFi data in case WiFi tracking systems already exist within the transportation network.
We differentiate from the competition because we are:
- the most cost-effective and scalable solution
- offering state-of-the-art crowd prediction
- completely anonymous and secure
- specialized for the use case of public transport networks
- compatible to existing connectivity infrastructure
- not only counting people but understanding network wide dynamics
How do you handle data privacy?
Data privacy and data security are very important to us and to our customers. We invested a lot of time and resources to offer a product that guarantees anonymity to passengers. Because anonymisation is effectively implemented at the time of data collection, TERATRACE is fully compliant to European GDPR (see GDPR recital 26). We further built several security fences that prevent external entities to enter our system.
What is the readiness state of your product?
Our solution is running in a pilot in one of the main subway networks in Germany and is ready to be deployed in additional networks. In the beginning of 2019 we are going to start additional projects in two big markets such as South America and India.
Who are the people working for TERATRACE?
We are a multidisciplinary team assembled by talented data scientists with experience in implementing lean and scalable solutions using state-of-the art technologies such as wireless sensor networks, big data and artificial intelligence, balanced with a skilled troop of professional business developers, marketers and communicators. We are also supported by a great network of partners, such as the TU Munich, UnternehmerTUM and the European Space Agency.
Why did you decide to work with XPRENEURS?
We won the innovation award of the city of Munich in 2018 and got invited to work with Xpreneurs. As this incubation program has a great reputation in the German Start-up Community, we were very happy to take this chance.
What are your next steps?
We are aiming to close a seed round in 2019 with the goal of launching a fully commercial product by end of 2019 and expand our business in 2020. In the short term we are focused on expanding our current projects and acquiring new ones.
We are looking forward to get in touch with anyone interested in making public transportation smarter. Please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can get more information about TERATRACE on their website or follow them on Twitter or LinkedIn.
You want to become part of the XPRENEURS incubator program as well?
Get more information and apply at https://xpreneurs.io/.