Welcome!

Java IoT Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Liz McMillan, Zakia Bouachraoui, Elizabeth White, William Schmarzo

Related Topics: PowerBuilder

PowerBuilder: Article

Sybase Success Story: Kowloon Motor Bus Company

Increases mobility and provides better customer service

The largest bus operator in Hong Kong, the Kowloon Motor Bus Company (KMB), is responsible for carrying around 2.7 million passengers a day and coordinates the movement of 4,040 buses. By utilizing Sybase Adaptive Server Enterprise (ASE), PowerBuilder, and PocketBuilder, KMB built two mission-critical systems: the Traffic Operations Management System (TOM) and the Terminus Management System (TER).
Using these systems, KMB can now better handle the company's resource allocation, improve the effectiveness of depot staff in their daily duties, and provide greater mobility to its workforce at the terminals.

Key Benefits

  • Streamlines workflow
  • Standardizes working procedures across depots
  • Increases work efficiency
  • Optimizes resource allocation
  • Increases staff deployment flexibility
  • Reduces training time
  • Reduces clerical work
  • Improves staff communication
  • Increases mobility

Sybase Technology

  • Adaptive Server Enterprise
  • PowerBuilder
  • PocketBuilder

Industry

  • Transportation/Logistics

KMB Keeps Buses Moving with Sybase
The Kowloon Motor Bus Company, widely known as KMB, was established in 1933 after obtaining a franchise to operate bus services in Kowloon and the New Territories. When it was founded, KMB's bus fleet consisted of 106 single deck buses.

Today, KMB is the largest bus operator in Hong Kong with 4,040 buses, around 12,000 staff and a network of 402 bus routes transporting around 2.7 million passengers every day. KMB is now one of the world's largest privately-run public bus companies and recognized as an international leader in public bus transportation.

Replacing Manual Processes
KMB had traditionally used a manual-based approach to managing processes and information around duty assignment sheets - information essential to the smooth operation of the company. KMB was looking for a technology solution that would allow it to manage this information with greater efficiency.

A mainframe computer system was used to produce duty assignment sheets that were printed four days in advance and contained information such as the route number, vehicle registration number, and the bus captain duty schedule. The duty dispatch staff would reallocate resources such as assigning replacement bus captains in place of those who were sick, or reallocate spare buses in place of those that were unavailable due to maintenance. These allocations were done manually and the dispatch staff would be required to be familiar with the training information of bus captains and with particular features of the buses so as to assign the right person to the right duty. While staff could accomplish this task, the process was time-consuming.

As job allocation and duty scheduling is a complex process, this "manual" approach also meant that it took several years for an employee to become skilled at performing the reallocations. This meant the task was often restricted to being completed only by very experienced employees.

"With such a large fleet and the need for our business to be able to quickly respond to unpredictable incidents such as road work or accidents, as well as regular occurrences such as holidays and scheduled maintenance of buses, we knew we needed to find a better way to deploy our resources," explains Tommy Leung, head of the Information Technology Department.

Increase Mobility and Provide Better Customer Service
KMB was also looking for a way to make their depot staff more mobile, particularly when they found terminus supervisors were spending 50 percent of their time managing bus schedules and logging arrival and departure times of buses. Staff also spent a considerable amount of time managing traffic control issues and assisting passengers, while also liaising with the KMB control center and other bus termini.

"When we were looking for ways to automate our processes and make things easier for staff, we also recognized the need to make this technology more mobile.

"In the end, if our staff can do their job more efficiently, it helps our customers who use our services on a daily basis - customers can access up-to-the-minute information while staff have more time to attend to passengers," says Tommy Leung.

Automated and Mobile Operations
Using Sybase technology, KMB developed an in-house system called Traffic Operations Management System (TOM) to better handle the company's resource allocation and assist depot staff in their daily duties.

Sybase's Adaptive Server Enterprise (ASE) and PowerBuilder technologies were used as the core components of TOM, which has transformed the way KMB stores and accesses information. Using ASE and PowerBuilder enables TOM to automatically generate the daily schedules, including the route timetable, bus captain's schedule, and operational requests.

The system is able to look at various requirements, such as the familiarity of the bus captains with a particular route and a particular bus, to generate an appropriate duty schedule. Should an unpredicted event happen, the system is designed to always have a back-up schedule.

ASE and PowerBuilder also allow TOM to record precise data such as overtime hours and duty information, which is transferred directly to the payroll system for wage calculations.

KMB also uses Sybase's PowerBuilder and PocketBuilder in another core application called the Terminus Management System (TER) to automate terminus operations covering bus termini around Hong Kong. Terminus Supervisors access and record essential information such as operational data and real-time bus schedules using a PDA that runs PocketBuilder. This system has replaced a paper-based system and gives employees even more flexibility and mobility when working around the terminus. With the TER architecture in place, staff are also able to liaise directly with the KMB control center and other termini.

A New System - Better Efficiency, More Access
Implementing the TOM system powered by Sybase ASE and PowerBuilder has transformed KMB, delivering immediate benefits to customers, employees, and KMB's back office. TOM has replaced many manual processes including the manual sign-in procedure for employees that used to take up to 10 minutes and now takes only seconds. Each duty assignment sheet containing the location of the bus, route number, vehicle registration number, and a remark column is now automatically produced.

Training time spent on depot staff has also been shortened significantly as the system negates the need for staff to memorize bus features, bus captain experience, and particular route requirements. Route information and assignments are now automatically generated - faster and with much less required human intervention.

"One of the major advantages of Sybase PowerBuilder technology was time-to-market. It took us under three months to implement the mobile application and have it up and running - we were very impressed," summarizes Tommy Leung.

TER, using Sybase PocketBuilder, gives Terminus Supervisors greater mobility via the use of PDAs. Using PDAs, KMB staff have been able to greatly improve efficiency as it allows for instant communication with the depot and related departments. In addition, the use of Pocket Builder has helped the KMB minimize paper waste by saving around 250,000 pages of terminus log paper.

"PocketBuilder had the added benefit of being really easy to use, so for staff the learning curve was almost non-existent. Getting people familiar with new technology is usually the biggest hurdle of any implementation and with PocketBuilder it wasn't an issue.

"All three Sybase solutions including ASE, PowerBuilder, and Pocket Builder have greatly enhanced our business and the service we provide customers. The technology has been essential in taking our business to the next level of efficiency," said Tommy Leung, KMB.

Why Sybase?
"Introducing the TOM system and TER with its unique mobility capability was very challenging. We knew we needed a technology provider that would not only provide seamless implementation but, more important, remain our partner long after the implementation was complete.

"Sybase was able to demonstrate the superior performance of its products together with the ability for these products to grow with our business," said Mr. Tommy Leung, KMB.

•   •   •

Reprinted with permission from Sybase

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


IoT & Smart Cities Stories
Bill Schmarzo, author of "Big Data: Understanding How Data Powers Big Business" and "Big Data MBA: Driving Business Strategies with Data Science," is responsible for setting the strategy and defining the Big Data service offerings and capabilities for EMC Global Services Big Data Practice. As the CTO for the Big Data Practice, he is responsible for working with organizations to help them identify where and how to start their big data journeys. He's written several white papers, is an avid blogge...
Nicolas Fierro is CEO of MIMIR Blockchain Solutions. He is a programmer, technologist, and operations dev who has worked with Ethereum and blockchain since 2014. His knowledge in blockchain dates to when he performed dev ops services to the Ethereum Foundation as one the privileged few developers to work with the original core team in Switzerland.
René Bostic is the Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America. Enjoying her career with IBM during the modern millennial technological era, she is an expert in cloud computing, DevOps and emerging cloud technologies such as Blockchain. Her strengths and core competencies include a proven record of accomplishments in consensus building at all levels to assess, plan, and implement enterprise and cloud computing solutions. René is a member of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and a m...
Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settlement products to hedge funds and investment banks. After, he co-founded a revenue cycle management company where he learned about Bitcoin and eventually Ethereal. Andrew's role at ConsenSys Enterprise is a mul...
In his general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, discussed how Dice leverages data insights and tools to help both tech professionals and recruiters better understand how skills relate to each other and which skills are in high demand using interactive visualizations and salary indicator tools to maximize earning potential. Manish Dixit is VP of Product and Engineering at Dice. As the leader of the Product, Engineering and Data Sciences team at D...
Dynatrace is an application performance management software company with products for the information technology departments and digital business owners of medium and large businesses. Building the Future of Monitoring with Artificial Intelligence. Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more busine...
Whenever a new technology hits the high points of hype, everyone starts talking about it like it will solve all their business problems. Blockchain is one of those technologies. According to Gartner's latest report on the hype cycle of emerging technologies, blockchain has just passed the peak of their hype cycle curve. If you read the news articles about it, one would think it has taken over the technology world. No disruptive technology is without its challenges and potential impediments t...
If a machine can invent, does this mean the end of the patent system as we know it? The patent system, both in the US and Europe, allows companies to protect their inventions and helps foster innovation. However, Artificial Intelligence (AI) could be set to disrupt the patent system as we know it. This talk will examine how AI may change the patent landscape in the years to come. Furthermore, ways in which companies can best protect their AI related inventions will be examined from both a US and...
Bill Schmarzo, Tech Chair of "Big Data | Analytics" of upcoming CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO New York (November 12-13, 2018, New York City) today announced the outline and schedule of the track. "The track has been designed in experience/degree order," said Schmarzo. "So, that folks who attend the entire track can leave the conference with some of the skills necessary to get their work done when they get back to their offices. It actually ties back to some work that I'm doing at the University of San...
When talking IoT we often focus on the devices, the sensors, the hardware itself. The new smart appliances, the new smart or self-driving cars (which are amalgamations of many ‘things'). When we are looking at the world of IoT, we should take a step back, look at the big picture. What value are these devices providing. IoT is not about the devices, its about the data consumed and generated. The devices are tools, mechanisms, conduits. This paper discusses the considerations when dealing with the...