[VIDEO] AWS Community Chat with Vix’s Paul Grobler

AWS Community Chats include interviews with Amazon’s customers and partners–showcasing the latest in tech. Paul Grobler, Head of Platform and Security at Vix, recently spent some time with AWS talking about Vix’s focus on innovation and the rider experience. Check out the video below to learn more about Vix’s partnership with AWS and how together, we’re solving transit’s biggest challenges.

Video Transcript

Hello and welcome to community chats I’m Ali Hammer and today we’re interviewing Paul Grobler Head of Platform and Security from Vix Technology.

Paul, welcome to the show. Can you start by telling our audience a little bit about Vix.

Sure, thank you for having me today. Vix is a 500 person technology company focused on providing fare collection, transit information and analytical solutions for the public transportation industry. Vix helps transit agencies manage fare collection by supplying automated fare collections systems ranging from smart-card based to open account based systems that enable contactless payments and we provide on-vehicle technology from passenger information to fleet management.

Then we have a layer of services to really to support this. Our key officers are in Perth, Australia and Cambridge in the UK and then in Seattle in the United States. We do have a presence in several locations across the globe.

Vix is about 35 years old with more than 200 plus systems delivered across the globe

Wow. I actually didn’t realize that vix is 35 years old and has over 500 people that’s incredible. Paul, can you share with us a little bit about how Vix is working with AWS to actually support your customers.

Absolutely. Transit agencies are faced with operating highly traditional legacy businesses with modern issues such as congestion and as such we’re seeing a move towards micro mobility and the broadening of mass transit. We’re trying new modes of transit into a or tying new modes into transit into a cohesive network is highly complicated.

With cloud they can innovate at speed and they can operate at a price point it was really not possible before. Previously these fare collection systems have been fully bespoke, very expensive and increasingly risky to operate. Then of course hard to protect from a cyber crime. Vix really needed to standardize the underpinning technology and simplifying the management and in enabling agencies to really focus on that digital innovation piece and the wider experience.

As such Vix has developed a modern state-of-the-art platform called Pulse to serve the needs of these customers. We do need to look after our existing customers as well so not just the new ones and so migration plans for all the legacy systems were developed. Then of course we looked at how we can re-host them in the AWS cloud.

I’m so glad that we’ve been able to help you focus on innovation and the rider experience while we take care of the heavy lifting for you. Paul, I wanted to know what has been your biggest challenge to date and how has the cloud actually helped you guys overcome it

Yeah, great question. I I would say non-standardized deployments. It’s been incredibly hard to support some of the the wide range of deployments on different platforms and data centers and some of these data center providers also would see a bunch of major incidents throughout the years who haven’t really been able to reach that stability we needed in the platform. With AWS it really got us that 99.9 availability target state and the other thing is how we overcame that was having a single code base running in the AWS Cloud to allow us to move to a centralized support model for cloud operations and engineering, where we can really benefit from follow-the-sun, and that really helped us reduce the typical size of the support team for these deployments by about 50 percent. We have five customers live on this platform now with two more coming across this year and all these customers that are benefiting from speed to value improvements. Where previously these typical bespoke build projects could take several years to complete but we can now deliver software modules using our APIs and using some automations to build these in 6 to 12 months which is really great. Then of course we’re looking at the future to deploy some of these software almost out of the box and covering about 98 of the requirements

Wow that really is incredible and some amazing outcomes there. Paul, how does AWS help Vex create an enjoyable experience for your passengers from a from a fare collection perspective

Transit is very much evolving towards a power and payment options. Passengers will always choose the most convenient mode of travel and they’re such the most convenient way to pay as well enabling a range of payment options such as contact listing. It really simplifies the decision process for passengers and equality is also very important agencies have an obligation to make transit accessible for all and services must really address the range of needs of all the riders and many don’t have smartphones or even bank accounts and the cloud has really enabled us to connect with retail networks to provide cash payments options or networks where they’ve really had a need to eliminate all cash on board.

Wow. It’s it’s amazing to hear because you know chance it is certainly evolving and it’s so great to see that Vix is empowering passengers with different payment options I can still remember every time we crossed the bridge with my mum when I was a little girl you know putting the cash in and you think technology should get rid of all this but it’s cool that you’ve still got you know options in place that if you want to pay with cash you really can because we round off this interview what do the next couple of years look like for Vix

Vix has a digital roadmap in place to really enable us to better serve ridership across the globe. Vix is really rising up to the challenge to keep supporting how cities are evolving and so this is core. Fare collection platform Pulse which we covered before really provides that foundation for future Innovations and product development and future benefits enabled by the cloud. That specifically includes data analytics where there’s a lot of future value and utility in the data we collect in our data lake. Meaningful data is one of the biggest assets companies have these days and then there’s API so each customer has different systems to integrate us at the front office and mobility mobile technology experience evolves. Then there’s open architecture you know being cloud-based means it’s easier for Vix to just make all the solutions we sell talk to each other the same thing for the customers and then lastly future developments like facial recognition Bluetooth and beacons by metrics may play a big role in identifying passengers in the future. This is how the cloud enable us to better prepare for all of these.

Paul, thank you so much for coming on the show I always find it so interesting speaking to different customers and hearing about how you utilize the AWS Cloud, so thanks so much and if anyone has any questions please pop them in the comments section below and we’ll get back to you thank you so much, thank you.