February 25, 2014
Three years ago John Osumi, Zach Negrey, and Jeff Brown met during an Android programming class at California Polytechnic State University – San Luis Obispo. For a class project they developed a crude and clunky app that scraped together real-time vehicle positioning data from the San Luis Obispo transit system servers.
As clunky as the app was, it was equally effective and they knew they were on to something. So, they kept developing the app and ultimately turned it into Bishop Peak Technology: a service that develops real-time vehicle tracking for transit organizations.
Osumi, Negrey, and Brown realized that transit managers needed a tool to help manger their day to day. Bishop Peak Technology then offers a way to audit vehicles and drivers, view routes, maintain schedules, deliver news, and offer automated dispatch services.
We wanted to dig deeper into the concept and idea, so we sat down with Osumi to further discuss all things Bishop Peak Technology.
Tech Cocktail: What are the demographics that fuel Bishop Peak Technology?
John Osumi: Specifically, our services are geared toward municipal fixed-route and para-transit systems, corporate employee shuttles, and smaller private organizations like hotel and airport shuttles. Our platform augments real-time data from vehicle GPS systems to be useful for both transit managers and their ridership; addressing each of their specific needs. Their ridership can quickly view the current location of transit vehicles, stop ETAs, route schedules, and set arrival notifications in an easy to use interface.
And then you have our on-demand shuttle apps which don't really have an established demographic since they are already a niche market. However, we've found that our municipal transit apps are more often used by a younger audience in small college towns and used more universally in larger cities. The exception would be non-smartphone owners, but that's why our platform supports two-way SMS.
Tech Cocktail: How do you see the competition in your market?
Osumi: There are already a plethora of apps that aggregate transit information – most of which rely on established schedules or crowdsourcing. We aren't competing with them, nor are we trying. As a matter of fact, we encourage them to partner with us. We can license our data to feed their apps with the best data available. After all, what could be better than real-time data pulled directly from the transit vehicle itself?
We focus on providing a cohesive software solution. We have a very strong foundation in municipal transit and can already integrate with almost every vehicle GPS hardware vendor in the continental US. We've begun experimenting with data feeds from international vendors as well. Our ultimate goal is to provide standardized real-time data for transit agencies around the world.
Tech Cocktail: How do you see this shaping the future of transit agencies?
Osumi: Transit agencies are looking to enhance their services with the proliferation of mobile devices. It allows them to become more efficient and appear as a lucrative alternative to cars for personal transportation. But to accomplish this, they need to provide a level of predictability by connecting their riders with real-time information.
Most transit agencies are already headed in the right direction by installing GPS reporting systems on their vehicles. The disconnect is now the relegated to ridership access to this information. That's where transit apps come into play.
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