Lessons Learned from Displaying the Transit Appliance at RailVolution

Opportunistically, I brought a couple of our “Transit Appliances” (which previously had not been tested anywhere other than my home office) to RailVolution with me.

TriMet was very gracious and allowed me to display one on their hospitality table. And I was fortunate enough to catch the attention of Clarence Eckerson of Streetfilms, leading to the national announcement of our little prototype:

I did learn a couple of lessons:

1) Public WiFi systems are complicated. The hotel had several routers with apparently differing login schemes. The appliance that easily handled my home network was almost stymied by the post-connection HTML login pages in the hotel. I had to run out and buy a keyboard to get it up for most of Wednesday, but was unable to duplicate my success on Thursday.

2) Understand your audience! I had initially intended to demo the system using the bus stops closest to the hotel (downtown Hilton), but the demand for information (which TriMet had be providing with a laptop) was clearly for MAX to the airport. I was able to quickly reconfigure the appliance to serve this need.

A number of folks from TriMet (including General Manager Neil McFarlane) were able to get a peek and were enthusiastic. Time to start thinking about a beta rollout. Anyone know some transit-friendly coffee shop owners who might be candidates?

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