Beacons enable services on SBB trains.

The free internet service ‘SBB Freesurf’ is based on beacon technology, as is ‘SBB Inclusive’, the travel assistance programme for people with visual and hearing impairments. 

What are beacons?

Beacons are small transmitters which work via the Bluetooth Low Energy standard (BLE), just like wireless headphones. These low-radiation transmitters can support localisation for mobile devices in places where GPS is difficult or impossible to use (buildings, trains). As beacons are solely transmitters, they cannot record, process or transfer any information. To use the beacon signal, a receiving device is always required (e.g. a smartphone). If beacon use is activated on the smartphone via an app, digital information can be linked to a specific location.

What does SBB use beacons for?

Both the free internet service ‘SBB Freesurf’ and ‘SBB Inclusive’, the travel assistance service for people with visual and hearing impairments, are apps which work using beacon technology. The ‘On Board Information’ function in the SBB Preview app also works in conjunction with beacon technology and provides information about the current train journey. SBB also uses the beacons internally, for example for train cleaning. Here, the beacons perform a vital role in better identifying requirements in the trains and making cleaning more efficient. 

What about data protection?

Data protection is vital to SBB and is guaranteed. The beacons cannot identify passengers. They are purely transmitters and cannot locate or track devices. You can find more information in the privacy policies for our services.

Go to the privacy policy  Link opens in new window.

How many trains have had beacons installed?

SBB has installed beacons on all trains to offer passengers various services as they travel. Around 200 other transport companies have also equipped their vehicles with beacons. The technology is widely used in the public transport sector.

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