Planes, Trains and the Hole in the Ground By Dreamforce

Planes, Trains and the Hole in the Ground By Dreamforce

By Lee Bautista, Marketing Director, Demand Generation at Jitterbit

Dreamforce 2017 is over, and the estimated 170,000 attendees were able to move around and experience the largest cloud event in North America with barely any attention paid to the chunks of rubble and hole in the ground next to the  Moscone Center. The goal is improvements for businesses, tourism and, of course, business tourism, like everyone that was attending Dreamforce. And in parallel with all of these environmental updates and upgrades, the data infrastructure around these massive construction projects are also taking place.

If we focus on the underground train station being built next to Moscone Center, we can see the issues involved in updating major metropolitan transit systems to be at least modern and cutting edge at best.

For many of us, maybe more so for a local like myself that commuted from home to the show daily, getting to and around the SOMA area of San Francisco is filled with traffic and delays—even using the local trains and buses. 

One of the biggest issues for modern transit is the passenger experience. From ensuring that current information about their commute is always available through any device to making sure the fare payment process is as seamless and expeditious as possible, all of this is reliant on data connectivity. And this often means data moving from something as immediate as a newly-available mobile app to aging systems installed before the internet even existed. All while cutting time from a commute.

The payment issue was something Jitterbit customer Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation (LA Metro) addressed when they updated their systems for real-time IoT payments. LA Metro migrated to smart cards for fare payments that didn’t have to have balances loaded on their at stations but through mobile devices or their website. But those 1.4 million patrons still needed that balance information to be read at all of their station fare gates and vehicles. Real-time APIs ensured that riders can access up-to-date account information, remaining balances, user profiles and more from any device, any time, all with LA Metro employees able to view these data transactions as they happened. And this isn’t unique to Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta and many others have projects planned to integrate and modernize payment systems.

It isn’t just fare management; all aspects of transit are being updated for connectivity and interoperability. Fleet management. Route monitoring and maintenance. Energy efficiency. Even simple data like how many bikes are brought onto certain lines. Performance metrics and dashboards are becoming the norm for running transit. And all of this has data at its core. Especially for all of the new apps, gadgets or hacks that are creating their own industries and trends.

So while many more cities join San Francisco in their transit system revival, data integration is becoming as much of the foundation as the ground beneath these trains and buses. And sometimes the ground above it, too.


Lee Bautista has more than 18 years of marketing experience, beginning with gigs in radio and television before moving into tech. Lee has primarily lived in or within walking distance of San Francisco since he was 10 years old and can be seen enjoying a craft beer or an independent movie around the city when he’s not embarrassing himself on a basketball court.