On Thursday 19 April, SPLUNK organised a discussion on digital developments, Big Data and the railway developments they have facilitated through DP Application and Proof of Concept with IP. A number of representatives from the sector were present, including SNCF Fret, SNCF Big Data and industrial players, such as SIEMENS and ESE.
The aim was to facilitate an exchange on the impact of digital developments on railways and how railway companies use Big Data to carry out preventative maintenance on their installations and materials.
UIC and its members aim to introduce existing solutions, to share experiences and to help the implementation of incubators that develop or take advantage of any digital services that can be optimised.
Mr Loubinoux discussed the context of digital at UIC: “Today, we are facing the so-called fourth revolution: the digital revolution.
This revolution is having a huge impact on all decision-making processes, all production and maintenance processes and, obviously, on the information chain as a whole.
Rail evidently needs to profit from this technical revolution in order to rapidly and efficiently improve productivity, security and services – all this thanks to connectivity.
One key word is “rapidity”, as we are currently facing very strong demand from the markets.
These can be intra-urban markets, inter-urban markets, inter-regional markets and even inter-continental markets, if we consider the emergence of large inter-continental corridors.
Nowadays, decision-making cycles are becoming ever faster. This can be seen as contradictory to railway operating modes, as investments are really important considering the size of their deployment and the long ROI cycles.
These rapid developments obviously require new approaches and new competencies directly linked to the field of information.
However, these have to remain fully compliant with rail technologies and the complexity of the rail system.
We must admit that, today, the rail sector, regardless of the economic context, is running out of resources that would allow the development and implementation of these new emerging technologies.
With this in mind, we definitely have to adopt new modes of cooperation:
- Intermodal partnerships have to be enhanced in order to mutualise potential impacts on interfaces and on shared customers.
- Incubators allow a different way of working, including a focus on research, anticipation of the development of Proof of Concepts, demonstrators, etc. Innovative funding modes also have to be taken into consideration.
- Links with universities must be encouraged, as they will provide the talent to express the future needs of the markets. They are the ones who will answer these demands with the emergence of new expertise.
This is why UIC works in close partnership with major actors such as UITP, UNFCC and IATA; why we have developed a Digital platform and an Alliance programme with universities.
Such collaborations ensure a better design for our interfaces and the provision of seamless information to our customers, whether freight or passenger.
Over the last three years, the UIC Digital Platform has proposed some initiatives to support digital development in rail:
- The design and development of demonstrators;
- The organisation of thematic seminars and workshops focusing on the most important current digital trends, such as IoT and Big Data, cyber security and blockchain;
- A major workshop dedicated to Artificial Intelligence to be held next September in Shanghai, in cooperation with Chinese Railways;
- Invitations to digital tours and exchanges with major worldwide digital hubs, such as Silicon Valley last year and China in 2018.
These initiatives have allowed UIC to actively participate in Las Vegas CES and CESG from this year, providing a unique opportunity for the rail sector to be present at such outstanding events.
Another consequence is the opportunity to meet new partners and to create appropriate synergies.”