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Sensum 5 minute read
April 24, 2014

Sensum Supernova: In The Field With Serco Experience Labs


This service wanted to instrument a review of their services from London Kings Cross to both York and Edinburgh during peak times. This presented an exciting opportunity for us at Sensum to showcase our latest innovation, a mobile platform that allows users to track your journey experience through quick and efficient logging of their environmental observations, allowing users to focus on the experience.

Arriving early at Experience Labs HQ in London, we demonstrated the platform, spent some time demonstrating our latest tech, the Google Glass, before getting down to business. Our platform facilitates mobile notation with features such as image, video and audio capture as well as barcode scanning and typed notation. While all of this is happening the platform background records from many different sensors simultaneously sampling at 16 times a second, including location, position, rotation, heart rate and galvanic sweat response (GSR). Due to the high bandwidth of the data, it is stored on-device then to be uploaded once the experience is completed. This means we could maintain high definition data without the need to be connected to the internet to stream to the cloud.


First on the agenda was booking both first class tickets for the London to Edinburgh trip and standard class from London to York. Setting up our equipment with the participants was complete in a matter of seconds, and right away they took to the system like second nature, it providing the seamless notation facilities they are used to. We proceeded to book two train tickets and upgrade a previously booked ticket. All went as expected and our shiny new app performed admirably.

Early the next morning we set off to begin our actual train journeys. We were in two groups, firstly a 10 hour return trip from London Kings Cross to Edinburgh, and the second, a 5 hour return trip from London Kings Cross to York. Given the success of the previous day, the Experience Lab guys arrived with little or no stationary or equipment. It seems they were quite confident in the intuitive nature of the app and were happy to rely on it solely to record the detail of their experience. After arranging to collect one of our tickets at the ticket office, we enjoyed snapping some photos at the 9 3/4 platform featured in the Harry Potter movies. Then we made our way to the train platform and boarded the train all the while snapping photos and making text/audio notations.

As the experience began our app facilitated the notation on pain and engagement points whilst also recording the respondents conscious and unconscious telemetry with high granularity. We enjoyed a lovely breakfast provided by the rail line operator with beautiful views of the English countryside and coastline. We were mainly onsite as tech support but thankfully there were no major technical issues and we got to enjoy the trip and beautiful scenery. As we reached York Station at close to 11am one of the experiences had completed the first leg of its journey. Meanwhile the other journey continued on to Edinburgh where it arrived just before 1:30pm. We had a couple of hours to enjoy the scenery in both Edinburgh and York. Before our return train departed, we got fed and watered and then packed up our gear and headed to the station. The return trip passed by quickly and before we knew it we had landed back in London Kings Cross station. It was a long tiring day in the end but all in all a complete success.

After returning to Experience Lab HQ we were quite tired, but excited to download all the data collected throughout the day for further analysis. We shared our raw data with Experience Lab but in order to make sense of the hours worth of telemetry, we sent a copy back to Sensum HQ to feed into our cloud based dashboard for processing. With our expertise and tools to hand, we compiled this information into readable contextual info-graphs and presented our findings. This was in the form of a bespoke browsable web-based dashboard.


Interactive Map to view notations


Video view of ticket booking with synced notation

We were able to plot the notations on a map for the actual train journeys making it possible to scrub through the train journey experiencing events in the genuine sequence they occurred. As for the ticket bookings online, the notations were super imposed a view video recording of the booking experience using the video controls to scrub through the timeline of events. This made it possible to re-live the experience for a thorough analysis of the pain and engagement points of the experience.


London – Edinburgh GSR graph


London – York GSR graph

The feedback recieved from the Experience Lab was really encouraging and they found the end to end process very intuitive and functional. The end result was a well informed expert review with detailed blow-by-blow analysis of all aspects of the train service allowing for convenient review by both Experience Lab and the rail service officials. Using this information they could refine their process and procedure to that which best meets the needs of their clientele.