Amazon Alexa integration provides real-time commute data


Thursday, 01 February, 2018


Amazon Alexa integration provides real-time commute data

A cloud-based voice service is now available for transport customers who wish to see what their commute to work will be like each day.

Amazon’s Alexa service will provide real-time train, ferry and light rail arrival information from Transport for NSW’s RITA, the Real-time Intelligent Transport Assistant.

The service is available with devices such as Echo, Echo Plus and Echo Dot.

“We recognise that the information landscape is shifting towards voice services, which is why we have been so quick to adopt and innovate in this space. We see RITA’s transport service disruption information as a perfect match with Alexa,” said Transport for NSW Deputy Secretary, Customer Services Tony Braxton-Smith.

The Transport for NSW RITA ‘skill’ for Alexa gives customers easy, hands-free access to network updates and disruptions on their daily Sydney Trains, Sydney Ferries and Inner West Light Rail journeys via voice. Customers can activate the RITA skill for Alexa by searching and enabling the skill in the Amazon Alexa app on their smart device.

Customers can then say “Alexa ask Transport RITA, what’s my morning commute like?” and hear up-to-date information on disruptions affecting their saved commute. Detailed information on this function is available via the companion Amazon Alexa mobile app.

“In NSW, we know transport is no longer just about building infrastructure and running services, but embracing new technology to provide the best services for our customers. RITA began as an interactive Chatbot on Facebook Messenger. Now RITA has evolved to become an essential component of digital assistant products like Alexa,” said Braxton-Smith.

Transport for NSW’s focus on new digital products includes the launch of OpalPay, and an ongoing trial of contactless transport payments on the Manly to Circular Quay ferry route.

“As it stands, our Open Data website has served over one billion API hits. This type of innovation is now part and parcel of travelling in Sydney; it would be hard to imagine your daily bus or train ride to work without real-time transport apps,” said Braxton-Smith.

Transport for NSW hopes to explore the options for more voice-based skills on digital assistants looking ahead to the potential to include real-time bus disruption information, Opal voice activated balance top-ups in the home, frequently asked questions and much more.

“The best thing about RITA is the potential to shape and evolve the customer experience,” said Braxton-Smith.

The Transport for RITA skill for Alexa does not yet provide information for buses.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/Alextype

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