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2000-10-12 ATO-001


Pocket rockets to revolutionise fares and train information

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Association of Train Operating Companies

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Pocket rockets to revolutionise fares and train information

12 October 2000
source ATOC
type Press release

Pocket rockets to revolutionise fares and train information National Rail operators have today signed a £24 million contract that will provide staff on-trains with easy access to up-to-date fares and timetable information for passengers travelling on Britain's rail network.

The Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC), through the Rail Settlement Plan, signed the contract with Sema Group to replace and maintain ATOC's paper reference books with new Windows powered Pocket PCs and CD-ROM. The first Pocket PCs will contain timetable information, replacing 2,000 pages from the national timetable and will be available to National Rail operators in spring 2001. Later models of the Pocket PC will include fares information that was previously distributed in seven fare manuals, which weighed 25kgs and contained approximately 12,000 pages.

The PCs weigh 225gms - about the same as a gameboy - will be available to mobile staff such as train conductors in one of the largest deals to date in Europe for Microsoft's new Windows powered Pocket PC.

Rail Settlement Plan chairman, Bernard Dunn, said: "This contract demonstrates the National Rail operators' commitment to improving passenger information. This new technology will allow on-train staff to provide passengers with accurate and up-to-date information in a matter of seconds and remove the need to carry large, heavy manuals which are produced only twice a year. It will also provide staff with increased flexibility leading to better and a more responsive service to the public."

David Tait, Managing Director of Transport and Travel for Sema Group explained: "By providing this innovative solution Sema Group is consolidating its close relationship with the rail industry by continued delivery of highly innovative technical solutions. This agreement demonstrates our significant edge over our competitors and illustrates to our customers' our ability to develop services that deliver real value to our customers' in this sector."

Annemarie Duffy, Wireless & Mobility Marketing Manager, Microsoft UK said: "Sema Group's proposal for ATOC is an example of how corporate customers are enabling business solutions on mobile devices to achieve greater efficiencies and improve customer service. Pocket PCs' tight integration with Microsoft Office and BackOffice® family applications coupled with the versatility of the platform, make them the ideal tools to extend Sema Group's customised transportation application into the hands of customer service personnel."


Images are available at

For more information:
ATOC press office 020 7904 3010
Sophie Hunt, Countrywide Porter Novelli 01295 224546

For more information on Pocket PC, press only:
Miller/Shandwick Technologies + 44 207 240 8666,

About ATOC
The Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC) is the official voice of the passenger rail industry - representing train companies to the Government and other opinion formers on transport policy issues. ATOC manages many joint activities for train operators including revenue allocation and settlement, impartial retailing, the National Rail Enquiry Service, Railcard marketing, staff travel arrangements, international products and travel agent licensing.

About RSP
Rail Settlement Plan Limited exists to provide the public with through-ticketing, i.e. the ability to buy tickets from a retailer or booking office, for a journey that may involve any number of TOC services. RSP is responsible for the electronic distribution of rail information to booking offices, travel agents and internet and telesales providers, and the clearance of £3.3bn per year of passenger rail industry income. RSP is a key provider of support for inter-modal transportation settling many rail-associated activities, including bus and ferry journeys and car parking. RSP is jointly owned by all existing rail franchisees, and operates under the auspices of ATOC.

About Sema Group
Sema Group, is one of the world's leading IT and business service companies. The Group's 1999 turnover was £1.41 billion, showing a 20 percent increase when compared with the 1998 full results. Turnover has more than doubled over the past five years. The Group has 20,200 solutions consultants currently working across 140 sites worldwide.

About the Pocket PC
Windows-powered Pocket PCs offer customers the best way to connect to their most essential information while away from their desk, yet are flexible enough to satisfy the personal demands of today's busy mobile lifestyle. Pocket PCs were designed to be a secure extension to the enterprise, with core security processes and technologies. They include power-on password protection and support for SSL and PCT, 40- and 128 bit encryption, CryptoAPI 1.0 and Windows 2000 challenge/response authentication.

About Microsoft
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (NASDAQ "MSFT") is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software - any time, any place and on any device.

Railhub Archive ::: 2000-10-12 ATO-001


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