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Introducing John Acton: Managing Partner for Passenger Services
John Acton has recently joined O2 UK as the managing partner for Passenger Services. We asked John a few questions so he could share his insight on how he will continue to develop an already thriving sector.
In relation to Passenger Services, what O2 products do you find most exciting?
Rather than focusing on individual products, or services I like to think about the end result – the passenger experience for example – smart stations and smart railways combine a range of products from connectivity solutions to digital services, it is about choosing the right technology to enable our customers to provide a better rail experience. By combining our experience in hardware, connectivity, security, cloud, app development and many other services we are able to enable smarter working, not only for our customers but also for passengers by keeping them connected in a secure environment across our 4G network.
However, one product I am particularly impressed by is Smart Steps. Smart Steps is an anonymised and aggregated data solution that offers insight into customer footfall and commuting patterns.
How can O2 help deliver better solutions for passengers in 2015?
As an organisation I believe we should be as connected to the end users as possible, using digital technologies to gain insight on their expectations and requirements. It’s essential that we advance as fast as their needs change. We are a digital telco in the middle of a digital revolution and should be leading the way in helping our customers meet the demands of the modern day passenger. We want to concentrate on changing the mind-set of the passenger encouraging them out of their car into a more comfortable, efficient and cost-effective passenger service.
How do you see Passenger Services evolving over the next few years?
Currently there is a disconnect between passenger expectation and passenger experience. I believe – ironically – that connectivity will go a long way to address this. 4G will enable O2 and our customers to deliver real-time, relevant and effortless solutions. Combining 4G with Wi-Fi will increasingly enable passengers to stay connected and make the most of their travel time.
Mobility is changing the way we work. Technologies such as 4G and O2 Wifi are enabling our customers to operate in more efficient and collaborative ways. 24/7 remote access to work systems is becoming an expectation rather than a luxury with secure ubiquitous connectivity the driving force.
As a passenger yourself, what frustrates you the most about travelling?
I don’t think services run as smoothly as they could. For me, getting relevant information in a timely fashion is the most important aspect of travel. I want one ticket, paid for electronically, no matter how many modes of transport I use. I want to know in advance where my seat will be and if there will be any delays to my journey. And I want to always be connected so that I can work or be entertained securely irrespective of what device I am using. For this reason one of my priorities in my new role at O2 will be to focus on bridging the information gap between our customers and their passengers.