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By Beth Bacheldor

Italian Bus Company Uses Beacon-Based Gamification to Boost Ridership, Protect Environment

Onyx Beacon has announced that Italian transportation company SASA has expanded its use of Onyx Beacon's Bluetooth-enabled Smart Public Transport Solution to include the system's gamification techniques. SASA's goal, according to Onyx Beacon, is to educate and motivate its customers to use public transportation, in order to reduce fossil fuels consumption, avoid pollution and protect the natural environment. The system consists of beacon hardware and a cloud-based content-management system (CMS) platform to communicate with mobile devices via an app that runs on iOS and Android systems.

SASA, which services customers in the Bolzano region of northern Italy, has been employing Onyx Beacon's solution to guide bus riders who use its SASAbus app (see Bluetooth Beacons Delivers Alerts to Bus Riders, Drivers) since 2015. Onyx Beacon's enterprise beacons are mounted on buses that travel throughout the city, which work in conjunction with an app developed by Onyx Beacon. SASA currently provides 22 million travels every year in South Tirol, and has already installed 1,000 Onyx Bluetooth beacons within all of its 160 vehicles and at all of its bus stops.

The new version of the SASAbus app incorporates gamification techniques, developed by Raiffeisen Online (a division of Raiffeisen Bank), an Onyx Beacon partner that also has provided integration and installation for Onyx Beacon products in Northern Italy and Austria. The new version of mobile application SASAbus, the company reports, transforms all kilometers traveled by a bus into points that can be used in online challenges and are added to an aggregate personal score that is publicly visible.

The beacons on the vehicles provide an accurate measurement of on-bus dwell times and the number of kilometers traveled for each mobile user utilizing the app. The boarding and drop-off points for each ride are determined as well, and it all is turned into points and accumulated in a general score. Passengers are awarded points for every kilometer of bus travel, but they can gain supplementary rewards when responding to various challenges launched by the transportation company. For example, they are invited to follow and go onboard the ecologic fuel cell buses (powered by hydrogen engines), to accumulate a given mileage within a month or to participate in "Giornate per la mobilità" ("The Mobility Days"). For each level passed in the game, passengers receive other rewards that can be shared via social networks, and all of their results are publicly presented in a ranking, so they feel like being in a continuous competition with other users.

The passengers in Bolzano can download the SASAbus app via the Google Play website.

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