How integrated systems and open data can help the rail industry
One of our strengths at One Big Circle is that we’re experts in the integration of systems. We develop our products, including our flagship product AIVR (Automated Intelligent Video Review), to work with systems already in place to ensure that data can be shared openly, when appropriate. We had years of experience in this area before we set foot in the rail sector, and this put us in fantastic stead when entering the industry and aligning with their requirements.
We recognised that a lot of data is being collected around the network, but with so many systems in place working independently, opportunities to access and share data can traditionally be hard to come by in the rail industry.
When we developed AIVR, we focused on cloud-based video technology which we knew would improve the access to data. From our previous experience in Highways and Sports Broadcasting, we knew that we could transfer data from one environment to another, online, securely via the cloud and make that data accessible quickly. This is integral, not only to our approach to monitoring, but also sharing data which may be able to solve other challenges.
We believe that making data open in the rail industry is the gateway to endless opportunities. Not only can timely access to open data sources help businesses stay on top of new trends to inform new products and services, it can also help to accelerate real-time response to incidents, pre-empt mechanical failure and decrease delay minutes, all of which are of the utmost importance in a safety-critical industry.
The benefit of AIVR being hosted on an open platform is that it enables a variety of integration options including through APIs (Application Programming Interface). It can help connect operations under one digital ecosystem which reduces costs to users in terms of logistics, allows for tighter security control, and brings convenience as you can increasingly track data from multiple sources. This means, from a AIVR perspective, users can receive system alerts from other monitoring formats and the system’s own Machine Learning and then conduct site inspections remotely and limit the need for workers to physically go out on to the track, delivering operational efficiencies and improving safety through reducing the need for ‘red zone working’.
Now that we have been in the industry for nearly two years and have numerous collaborative successes under our belt, our unique skillset coupled with rising credibility puts us in a great position when we work with our clients. We pride ourselves on being able to understand more and more integrated systems and continuously make them smarter and more efficient. We find smoother ways of updating them, but at the same time, ensure they will grow and update rather than leaving clients with a legacy system that’s difficult to operate. We also work hard to develop AIVR in response to regular customer feedback, working closely with our customers to develop and adapt the system in response to their needs, rather than expecting users to adapt to our technology.
A further benefit of our open and collaborative approach is that the same data can also be deployed for multiple purposes, achieving significant results for various industry disciplines. To help meet the challenges of lockdown, for example, the data has been used for remote driver training and for route familiarisation – particularly beneficial as AIVR has collected route data from a cab view perspective in a range of conditions.
In addition, data that’s generated by One Big Circle’s video technology, AIVR, can be securely accessed by partner organisations. This helps increase the collaboration between our key stakeholders and as a result, we can work in these partnerships to devise better industry solutions in accordance with our findings.
Not only can open data and the ability to work with multiple integrated systems precipitate better insights, it can also drive innovation and encourage further partnership working – a process that many of us in the SME supply chain are aiming for if we are to achieve the industry’s vision of a digital future.
With the William Shapps plan on the horizon, system integration is only likely to increase as we move forward into a railway network that’s joined up by one single national organisation. We look forward to the opportunities that lie ahead and hope to continue collaborating closely with others to solve complex legacy systems that improve the railway for everyone.