– As a company, we are flexible, we adapt to changes, we respond to customer needs – says Sławomir Jankowski, president of the Bydgoszcz-based PIXEL company. The company specializes in the design, production and servicing of electronic devices and IT systems, dedicated primarily to the broadly understood public communication.
The pandemic Covid-19 has proved to be a big challenge for many companies. How did it look like in your case?
Certainly, this new, specific situation required great flexibility, on the one hand in the daily organization of work, meetings, office functioning, and on the other – in production, long-term planning, and the introduction of new solutions. It also showed that we, as a company, can quickly respond to the needs of the market and customers. In just a month from scratch, we developed, produced and introduced for sale disinfectors for installation in buses, trams or trains, and then – disinfectors for schools, companies and offices. I think it shows the potential of our company, all employees, their commitment, skills and knowledge.
You also used all these advantages in your pioneering system of collecting tolls for bus journeys in Białystok.
A year has passed in April since we completed the implementation of the first stage of this project. As part of it, we installed mobile ticket machines in all vehicles of Białystok Public Transport and launched a cashless, mobile payment system. In addition to standard options, such as the possibility of purchasing various types of tickets or topping up a city card, our system also offers a Smart Tariff in the MTT / PaYG model, which we call PixBee. It is a real innovation. It is enough that when traveling by multiple means of public transport, between various zones defined by the carrier, we register the entries and exits from the vehicles in the ticket machine. We can do it with a contactless payment card, watch or telephone, we do not have to look for any options, we do not have to worry about anything or know the toll collection system in the city. At the end of the day, the system will select the most favorable (cheapest) tariff for us based on all journeys and will charge the assigned fee.
Was the implementation of such a system more difficult due to the pandemic?
Implementation of the system was more difficult than usual, as the availability of vehicles was more limited by the disinfection of vehicles, arrangements regarding the dates of installation of devices, and protection of our employees against potential contamination. For some time, access to the depot was forbidden at all. On the other hand, it quickly turned out that such a system is very necessary and helpful, especially during a pandemic, because it allows passengers to limit contacts, keep distance, pay without cash and simply travel more safely. The numbers also show how well it has caught on in Białystok. During the year of operation, our system sold over 1.8 million tickets with a total value of almost PLN 5.1 million. And it must be added that first people have to get used to the new possibilities, it takes time. In addition, the start of the system fell on the pandemic period, when the passenger load in vehicles dropped to as much as 20-30%. normal fill. We are very pleased with this positive reception. Especially that for the first time we have become not only producers, but also operators, we deal with the system from start to finish. This is a great achievement for us, a big step forward.
The next big step is the implementation of e-paper for public transport?
It’s something we’ve been working on for some time. Currently, LED or LCD technology is mainly used for various types of boards and screens, for example at bus stops. We propose a much more ecological and energy-saving solution. Our stop boards made in this technology for content presentation do not require power. Energy is only needed to change the content or to illuminate it in conditions of insufficient ambient brightness. Even then, however, power consumption is minimal. All of this, of course, while maintaining or even increasing functionality. The boards can display, for example, the entire timetable or – in a different format – the next departures, which is what the customer wants. We will provide more information in the fall – then we plan to present a ready, comprehensive solution for urban transport.
What else are you planning for the future? How will PIXEL develop further?
We have recently completed the construction of a new production hause and office space. We move to it and enlarge our research and development department, all kinds of measuring devices, climatic chambers, equipment necessary for research. We plan to launch the production of chargers for electric cars in the new facility – we have received EU funding for this project.
So you have your hands full – despite the pandemic Covid-19.
Now everything is slowly returning to normal, the service is installing new equipment at customers, making repairs in the field, we arrange meetings, not only online, but also live, we missed it a lot. In the beginning, when the pandemic broke out, there were many concerns, no one knew what would happen, how to function in a changed business reality. However, I think we have found our way. As a company, we are flexible and adapt to changes. Such a philosophy allows us to look to the future with moderate optimism.
Wywiad dla Gazety Pomorskiej, 30 czerwca 2021r.