Digital Transformation of the railway
The process of digital transformation of any business or industry is the development and integration of technology to improve processes and ways of working to deliver improved efficiency and performance.
The ongoing digital transformation of the railway is a perfect example of this in practice. An industry that is built, literally, on a centuries-old platform, is embracing digital transformation to deliver a bigger, better and safer railway for its customers of today and tomorrow.
At One Big Circle we recognised that our knowledge and expertise could make a real impact on the rail industry and its journey towards digitisation. With our experience of developing video technology to deliver data, we knew we could help the rail industry solve some of the challenges it was facing.
Through learning as much as possible about the industry and meeting many stakeholders to understand how we could make a difference, the development of AIVR (Automated Intelligent Video Review) for the railway was established.
The publication of Network Rail’s Digital Railway Strategy in 2018 set out the Government’s intention to revolutionise the operation of the UK rail network through the use of effective technology. We’ve seen confirmation of this pledge through the industry’s continued focus on innovation and its enthusiasm for and investment in new, ground-breaking products and services that benefit the industry and its stakeholders.
In particular for us, Network Rail’s engagement with SMEs is a real demonstration of the advocacy of the Digital Transformation Programme of the industry. By recognising the impact SMEs have on the economy and by opening up the opportunities to collaborate and tender, businesses such as ours have been given a viable platform to showcase our abilities and be considered in a way that has been unfeasible in the past.
The Railway Industry Association’s (RIA’s) programme of ‘Unlocking Innovation’ events and webinars, in conjunction with Innovate UK and the DfT, again shows commitment to the promotion and championing of innovative solutions and talented businesses, regardless of size or age, that can deliver real benefits to the rail industry.
All about intelligence
Through our own research of the rail industry and our understanding of the challenges it was facing, we understood early on that access to data that provides intelligence for TOCs, FOCs and infrastructure managers is integral to having a positive impact on the network.
The industry was challenged by working with a number of legacy systems that could be hard to access, and we knew that through our AIVR system, we had a real opportunity to improve on these and provide real time in-cab footage, instantly accessible via the cloud, that would allow teams to react immediately.
Our collaboration with Network Rail to develop rapidly deployable camera kit in their Tail Lamp Camera housing to be quickly fitted on multiple in-service vehicles, and our thermal hot spot detection technology has shown how existing solutions can be built upon to create a more advanced solution to bring even more tangible benefits to the industry.
Digitalisation and safety
The rail industry’s dedication to the improvement of safety across the network has never been more evident. The belief and investment in technology to provide crucial intelligence so teams can now monitor situations remotely and respond to them efficiently, is testament to the commitment the industry and the Government has made to make the railway a safer travelling and working environment.
The investment in innovative technology the industry has already made demonstrates how safety is a key driver for change and improvement. For example, AIVR is designed to help monitor conditions on and around the tracks by providing data in the cloud and enabling informed and efficient responses to detrimental situations. Technology-driven solutions such as this inform, control and protect the safe running of the railway for the infrastructure workers who manage those situations, the TOCs who run the trains and ultimately benefit the customers who travel on the railway network.
We knew when we embarked on our venture into the rail industry that our technology could make a positive change. The way the industry was openly committing to the development and the use of innovative technology to make the running of the railway better for everyone really resonated with us. We knew we could make a difference here.
We continue to collaborate with Network Rail, several TOCs and FOCs to continuously improve our video technology to meet their specific needs. The future of the rail industry is reliant on technology to not only move forward to be up to date with other transport industries such as air travel, but to offer real, tangible benefits to the wider rail industry and its customers.
It’s not only evident, but also hugely encouraging that the many different influencers throughout the rail industry are clearly invested in the use of technology to provide credible data and intelligence to make the rail industry safer, more efficient and more reliable for everyone.
We’re proud to be part of the movement towards a digital railway and the benefits it will bring.