World-class traffic services
Founded in 1988, Trafficmaster Plc is the UK’s leading journey management company providing high quality satellite navigation, traffic data and vehicle tracking systems.
Trafficmaster’s information is derived from its unique state-of-the-art network of nationwide static roadside sensors and transmitters that gather and distribute traffic data from over 8,000 miles of motorway and trunk routes. Traffic data and services are then delivered to the customer through a number of screen or speech-based receivers.
Trafficmaster’s Smartnav uses Trafficmaster’s unique live, incident, historic and predictive traffic data to calculate the optimum route at the start of your journey and will continue to monitor the route for delays, re-routing users around jams until they reach their destination.
Concierge service on the move
Smartnav is supported by Trafficmaster’s 24/7 Control Centre, with a team of Personal Assistants (PAs) on hand to check destinations, provide routes and connect users to emergency and breakdown services. The Control Centre also provides value added concierge services to customers on the move such as ordering flowers and booking hotels & flights.
The PAs are dependent on 3rd party services providers to deliver up-to-date information for the ancillary services. However, strong demand for the concierge service meant serving Smartnav customers was having a detrimental effect on the partner’s own internet bandwidth. Having built up strong ties with partners, it was essential to safeguard these relationships.
Additionally, with the PAs constantly searching a variety of websites to fulfil client requests, there was a risk of them inadvertently being exposed to unsuitable content. Trafficmaster took employee safety online very seriously.
Caching & filtering
ApplianSys proposed a combined web content caching and filtering solution to Trafficmaster. By using an enterprise class CACHEBOX appliance, significant amounts of partner content could be stored locally on the Trafficmaster LAN. Real time connection was only required for dynamic content or when an actual purchase was made.
To protect the PAs, ApplianSys proposed its Protex content filtering service. It can be deployed as a point solution on a single CACHEBOX, or provide a comprehensive WAN level solution. Protex uses intelligent algorithms to assess the overall ‘theme’ of the page by using weighted key phrases. Coupled with preset filtering profiles, it ensures the correct balance of filtering and access for different groups of users.
ApplianSys tries to ensure every solution matches the requirements of its customers, and so was happy to customise the Protex solution to Trafficmaster’s needs. As Ian Crossley, Network Manager at Trafficmaster recalled, “ApplianSys was extremely helpful and bent over backwards to accommodate our requests.”
Protection for partners, agents and service
The overall result of the solution has been to reduce the number of actual hits on partners’ web servers. With CACHEBOX in place, Trafficmaster can ensure the concierge service no longer has an adverse affect on partners’ sites.
“CACHEBOX has done exactly what it says on the tin. The system has had 100% uptime and it’s been a case of ‘set-and-forget’. But the biggest benefit to our business has been the way it’s helped us protect our relationships with 3rd part site owners,” declared Crossley.
Ian isn’t the only one delighted with the solution. As well as safeguarding the Personal Assistants online, their requests are cached and so subsequent requests are served quicker and can continue to be served even if a source site is unavailable. This means PAs can respond quicker to customers and so continue to help keep the Smartnav service one its customers simply can’t do without.