“In 2008, the French national railway company SNCF was facing a huge challenge: European passenger railways were about to be liberalized in 2010, and the company’s monopoly on the French—and European—market was about to end. To remain competitive, SNCF had to learn to innovate faster, better, and cheaper.”
“Of the 20 pilot projects that TGVLab has carried out since its inception in 2008, half have been successfully implemented and scaled up by SNCF. These include smartphone-based productivity tools currently used by 10,000 TGV ticket inspectors and TGV Family, train cars reserved for families, with onboard entertainment provided by partners such as Disneyland Paris (which collaborated with SNCF at the launch of the service).
One successful project that we particularly liked for its frugal nature was an SMS-based system that enables train crews to communicate with hearing-deficient passengers. To accomplish this goal, SNCF was initially planning to refit all its TGV train cars with video monitors, a project that would have cost millions of euros and would have taken years to complete. Instead, the ingenious SMS-based system tested and proposed by TGVLab cost the company only a few hundred thousand euros and was implemented across its entire train fleet in just a few months.”