The Vehicle Router Revolution
Trondheim/Norway, 6 December 2016 --- Choosing the right vehicle router solution for future needs in public transport
About FourC AS
The start-up FourC AS (www.fourc.eu) is developing an infrastructure platform for management of distributed systems with focus on the Internet of Things, M2M, transport, healthcare, smart homes and automation. The customised version of this platform built for public transport is named “Cities in Motion Service Platform”, on which bus companies, public transport authorities and operators can deploy a broad range of services. FourC has 11 employees with head offices in Trondheim and a branch office in the UK. The company has received support from Norway’s research council for a €4M R&D project in the area of new solutions for public transport in Norway. More information about this project can be found at www.opensp.eu.
Public transport has seldom been at the forefront when it comes to taking modern technology into use. It has been a market where old-fashioned solutions and huge systems have been the standard.
Typically, each and every system had its own WAN Internet connection which of course became extremely costly and unmanageable as more are more systems were installed in each vehicle.
To overcome these initial problems, the “vehicle router” was introduced. The first generation of these routers was just that --- a simple router which made it possible to re-use the WAN connection for all in-vehicle systems. The first generation routers solved a specific problem at the time.
Now, the next generation of vehicle routers are available. These routers do not only offer sharing of the WAN connection, but also can host an extensive range optional functions and applications.
However, the suppliers of most of these application-enabled routers still require the customer to purchase their own hardware, even though the functionality itself might very well be enabled using standard OS features that are present in Linux. This creates a lock-in to that specific router vendor, which is something anyone with some experience in ICT for public transport knows should be avoided.
FourC takes the next generation router even further by introducing an “open router” concept. Essentially, this means that the functionality is not tied to a specific vendor of the hardware. The customers can, if they wish, choose the hardware supplier freely, and then install FourC’s “router-as-a-service” on their hardware of choice - as long as the hardware supports a minimum set of industry standard features.
In addition to dramatically lowering the purchase costs for routers, the customer can move the software from one hardware device to another without having the re-purchase the software license.
Also, the “open router” concept means that the any software vendor can make applications on the router. At time of writing, FourC have agreements with six companies that have (or are in the progress of making) public transport applications available that can run on standard router hardware.
FourC has tested the router software on a wide range of standard vehicle computers with price tags starting as low as €400.