Cloud

For Rail

The heavily-regulated nature of the rail industry means that some applications are more natural and comfortable a fit for cloud than others. There are inarguably a wide range of applications within Rail that can greatly benefit from cloud, as evidenced by the increasing number of successful projects globally.

The rail industry in the UK remains particularly sensitive to political interference, which means rail strategy and planning can change drastically, overnight. With this in mind, cloud’s speed, agility and reliability can prove extremely useful.

rail infographic

And given the inherent geographically dispersed nature of its assets and the need to ensure both workforce and customer safety in a commercially competitive marketplace, the coming of the Internet of Things is bound to impact on Rail.

 

Ticketing

A group will always be striving to drive down the cost of its parts, and group companies are under continual pressure to make travel easier and create smarter ticket solutions. Oyster cards are an example of a customer solution that many travel providers are seeking to replicate nationwide and globally.

The fact that rail ticketing sees huge spikes in demand – on a daily basis during rush hours, and on a seasonal basis during holidays – means it is a perfect use case for cloud.  This gives rail companies and ticketing providers the ability to scale up their infrastructure for peaks and scale down for off-peaks, saving both money and time.

Data and insight derived from collated ticket bookings is also of great value to rail companies, to understand consumer trends and improve customer experience.

The Internet of Things

A recent report by Cisco states that almost £30 billion will be spent in the next 15 years on IoT projects in the railway industry. Rail network comprise millions of components, from rolling stock to signals, tracks, stations, maintenance equipment, mobile devices and – last but not least – staff. Extracting insights from connected objects and delivering feature-rich connected products should lead to better customer experiences and operational excellence.

The maturity of the cloud, coupled with the affordability and reliability of sensor technology means machine-to-machine communication is enabling operators to utilise equipment, tracks and stations more efficiently, while dramatically reducing safety risks.  Some IoT-driven examples include:

  • Combined status information from diverse on-board public assets such as toilets, food chillers and ovens, presented alongside current positional information can improve the customer experience and reduce penalties associated with having these out of service.
  • The automation of toilets can significantly reduce the cost incurred by the operators and provide a better service to passengers less likely find toilets out of order. Devices to measure the water tank levels can be used to speed up the turnaround time at a depot.
  • Improvement in food and drink replenishment can become more efficient when restocking at the terminus (or potentially at a station en route) – if real-time data is available.
  • Temperature can be remotely controlled to monitor refrigerators critical to preserving food quality. Air conditioning in customer carriages can also be monitored and controlled, and alerts sent immediately in the event of failure.
  • Remote monitoring helps rail operators reduce the maintenance time in the train depot. Train windshield water tanks equipped with level sensors enables a remote technician to see whether the water needs topping up.
  • Fault information can be analysed across multiple assets and operators, to spot trends and identify areas for preventative maintenance. This can dramatically increase the time a train spends in use. Engineers can connect to running trains in real-time, enabling the company to figure out whether a component is likely to fail.

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Why dsp?

Driving innovation and growth in competitive industries comes down to agility and confidence.  dsp know that managing data and leveraging the cloud effectively is critical to differentiate from the competition. The potential for cloud uptake within the rail industry is huge, with multiple use cases conceptualised and a huge range of dispersed assets to manage.

dsp provide end-to-end managed services to ensure that joined-up thinking translates to joined-up systems and processes in managing the infrastructure layers.  And we put it all together for you, removing any worry or uncertainty around the complexities of cloud licensing models which need to be understood and navigated carefully.

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