Rail transport accelerates on track to new era of automation

top1

This article first appeared in Transport 360 magazine.

Although the pandemic has meant passengers are staying home, the retail supply chain has massively increased its utilisation of rail cargo.

To handle this growth and deal with the challenges of attracting passengers back to rail transport, train operating companies are increasingly adopting IoT systems and applications. To achieve this, they’ll need to automate and add industrial computers, sensors, monitors and gateways to gain visibility into passenger flows, offer improved experiences and run their trains to ensure passenger safety and minimised environmental impact.

Alicja Strzemieczna, the regional sales manager for Industrial IoT at Advantech Europe, explains the challenges the industry faces to George Malim, the managing editor of IoT Now, and emphasises how the company’s co-creation strategy is enabling development of specialised applications and services that power the new era of rail transport.

George Malim: What is Advantech’s strategy in the transport industry and what trends do you see emerging?

Alicja Strzemieczna: The transportation industry’s value is projected to triple from 2016 to 2023 and that represents very rapid growth that poses many questions for us and many others. The challenge is to make the best of the pandemic situation and also life afterwards. There are many technological trends driving innovation and IoT is just one of them but, in the transportation industry, IoT is a very general term that covers a broad spectrum of very specific applications, services and requirements.

Transportation itself is highly fragmented with companies owned by various global and local industry players who view strategic partnerships and acquisition to aid expansion as important ways to achieve growth but also to make use of their strengths and skills for other companies in the market. It is also influenced by trends in ecommerce and retail businesses. These have grown rapidly during the pandemic and that growth is definitely here to stay because people are now used to buying online a daily basis. We are now entering the era of omni-channel ecommerce, where customers expect to be able to research, browse, shop and purchase seamlessly on different devices and platforms. Online purchasing is only set to grow, placing great demands on the logistics and, by association on the transportation sector, too.

This change in demand profile places demands on IoT and also encompasses other important technology trends such as artificial intelligence, big data and predictive analytics. All of these have big impacts and the potential to power new ways of doing business, with the flexibility needed to adapt to rapid market changes. IoT is powerful, for example, in enabling the revolution in the fleet management industry which has enabled fleet owners and other companies to use IoT to remotely manage vehicles. This capability relies on telematics, cognition and advanced analytics and, taking this foundation in fleet management, we can extend to intelligent transportation which can assist in improving road safety and help guide traffic, averting accidents.

Global trends, such as digitisation, connectivity, sustainability, energy conservation, and the integration of IoT, have led to the advent of smart railways.

The global population is expected to reach 9.8 billion by 2050, of which 75% will live in cities, and all of these people will need access to reliable, connected transport. The role of the rail sector will therefore become even more important, and this will especially be the case in urban areas, with a strong emphasis on minimising emissions. Indeed, by 2050, it is expected that passenger mobility will increase by 200 to 300%, with freight activity growing by 150 to 250%.

The use of technology to optimise efficiency in both passenger and freight transport is critical, and IoT holds the key here. Timetable management, capacity optimisation, ensuring on-time service, and predictive maintenance are the primary reasons for the adoption of IoT solutions in rail systems. Rail network operators in developed parts of the world are already actively investing in the development of IoT-based analytics systems, with cloud-based systems currently the most prominent.

Continue reading this interview on page 10 inside Transport 360 magazine

FEATURED IoT STORIES

9 IoT applications that will change everything

Posted on: September 1, 2021

Whether you are a future-minded CEO, tech-driven CEO or IT leader, you’ve come across the term IoT before. It’s often used alongside superlatives regarding how it will revolutionize the way you work, play, and live. But is it just another buzzword, or is it the as-promised technological holy grail? The truth is that Internet of

Read more

Which IoT Platform 2021? IoT Now Enterprise Buyers’ Guide

Posted on: August 30, 2021

There are several different parts in a complete IoT solution, all of which must work together to get the result needed, write IoT Now Enterprise Buyers’ Guide – Which IoT Platform 2021? authors Robin Duke-Woolley, the CEO and Bill Ingle, a senior analyst, at Beecham Research. Figure 1 shows these parts and, although not all

Read more

CAT-M1 vs NB-IoT – examining the real differences

Posted on: June 21, 2021

As industry players look to provide the next generation of IoT connectivity, two different standards have emerged under release 13 of 3GPP – CAT-M1 and NB-IoT.

Read more

IoT and home automation: What does the future hold?

Posted on: June 10, 2020

Once a dream, iot home automation is slowly but steadily becoming a part of daily lives around the world. In fact, it is believed that the global market for smart home automation will reach $40 billion by 2020.

Read more
RECENT ARTICLES

Infineon simplifies secure IoT device-to-cloud authentication with CIRRENT Cloud ID service

Posted on: October 21, 2021

Munich, Germany. 21 October 2021 – Infineon Technologies AG launched CIRRENT Cloud ID, a service that automates cloud certificate provisioning and IoT device-to-cloud authentication. The easy-to-use service extends the chain of trust and makes tasks easier and more secure from chip-to-cloud, while lowering companies’ total cost of ownership. Cloud ID is ideal for cloud-connected product companies

Read more

MNOs want clearer views of network performance and user experience to generate new 5G revenues

Posted on: October 21, 2021

Quebec City, Canada – While 88% of mobile network operators (MNOs) are set to deploy 5G standalone (SA) in the next two years, many are still searching for the tools that will enable these networks to generate revenues from enterprises and industry. This is according to joint research findings from Heavy Reading and EXFO Inc., the communications industry’s

Read more