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VR Group is the state-owned company that operates the Finnish railway system. It provides a wide range of road and rail transportation services in long-distance and commuter traffic. The main passenger services customer groups are commuters, business travelers, families and students. The Finnish population made a total of 69.3 million journeys by train and 26.1 million by bus in 2012.
Accenture helped the company synchronize customers’ tickets to their mobile devices for convenience so VR passengers can complete purchases, recall ticket information and update preferences on the go to enjoy a smarter, more convenient travel experience.
The new mobile solution and apps serve major modern mobile device operating systems. Today VR customers can perform a number of travel-related functions on their mobile devices, including:
Logging in to their accounts using handsets quickly without repeatedly entering a user ID and password.
Using mobile tickets for long distance travel despite the original sales channel.
Boarding trains using the 2D barcode on their mobile phones as tickets.
Booking specific multi-ride ticket seats.
Checking real-time information of any train and station.
VR had been running mobile services since 2007, mainly providing timetable information. In the renewal of the sales channel, VR wanted to respond to increased customer demand for mobile optimized solutions—and meet or exceed customer expectations set by general growth of mobile business and solutions in the other branches. It also wanted to increase the share of self-service tickets sold through mobile devices to enhance profitability and to develop a solution that would allow it to scale quickly and respond to future needs.
Based on Accenture’s experience in mobility, track record and understanding of rail operators’ commercial systems, VR asked us to help build a mobile service solution for its passengers, including dedicated apps for mobile devices and a responsive, mobile optimized Web application with backend integrations and a content management platform.
VR required a mobile solution that could service mobile devices users directly via a mobile browser and dedicated apps for the most popular mobile operating systems such as Apple’s iOS, Android and Windows Phone. Accenture provided a solution built upon an existing service-oriented architecture with Web-based interface while offering additional value for the users of dedicated apps.
Based on VR’s mobile vision and requests for new mobile services, Accenture designed developed and deployed a solution with VR for mobile services, content management and related mobile apps. The solution used modern Web development techniques—RESTful services, HTML5 and jQuery Mobile—and dedicated apps aimed at a more convenient user experience. Using the existing architecture we helped reduce development and operation costs and optimize delivery time.
The new mobile platform and apps have helped VR improve customer service, customer satisfaction and customer convenience using a highly flexible and scalable technology solution. The steady growth of sales and VR customer feedback of the mobile solution are concrete proof of the solutions’ success.
Mobile services are a strategic channel for VR to better serve and understand passengers’ needs and offer customers valued products. The new mobile solution positions VR to offer other services to passengers in subsequent releases, such as additional ticket purchase types and ancillary services. Plans to add these services are already under way for future releases.
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