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Move in on trains to earn rewards

INNOVATION FROM FRUSTRATION: The team behind the Your Move app: (from left) Yin Yue, Song Qi Yue, Miss Tan, Zhou Wan Yi and Mr Tan. PHOTOS: THE NEW PAPER
Move in on trains to earn rewards

GET CLOSE TO WIN: The app tracks how close a commuter is to an iBeacon at the centre of a train carriage and rewards him with points.


    Sep 09, 2014

    Move in on trains to earn rewards

    FED up with missing trains because selfish commuters would not move away from the train doors, a group of professionals has come up with a solution to the problem.

    They have created an app that rewards commuters for standing close to the centre of the carriage.

    Michelle Tan, 29, once had to wait for five trains before she could board one at Clementi MRT station, heading in the direction of City Hall MRT station.

    Last year, she returned from a three-year working stint in India, and had no idea the morning congestion on public transport here was so bad.

    Frustrated that she was late for her 9am meeting that day, the civil servant told The New Paper: "The trains came fast, but the commuters were not moving in. There was space at the centre of the carriage, but people would usually stand near the doors as it would be easier for them to get off."

    So when SMRT paired up with National University of Singapore (NUS) Enterprise to organise Singapore's first commuter-experience hackathon, NUS-SMRT Commuthon, Miss Tan took part.

    Hackathons are usually events where programmers and designers come together to work out solutions for certain problems. In this instance, it was to find a way to improve the commuting experience.

    Miss Tan roped in her brother, Tan Shao Ming, and three friends.

    More than 120 participants from 39 teams were given problem statements under four categories: Trains, Buses, Taxis and the Open category.

    Miss Tan's team won under the Train category with its Your Move mobile app.

    Mr Tan, a software engineer, 26, said: "With the use of iBeacon technology, the team implemented a gamification app that would reward commuters with points that could later be tied to rewards."

    Pebble-size devices - iBeacons - would be placed away from the doors of train carriages. Commuters who downloaded the app would be rewarded based on their proximity to these devices. The closer they are, the more points they get.

    Smartphones can pinpoint their location in relation to the iBeacon device through Bluetooth Low Energy technology.

    Lee Ling Wee, managing director, SMRT Trains, said that such a programme is a first for the transport industry here. SMRT will be funding some of the innovations, which it hopes to introduce to the public transport network.

    "We are confident these new solutions will work very well alongside our own initiatives to improve customer service touch-points and enhance the overall travel experience for all our commuters," he said.