Cisco Delivers Network-Based Approach to Rail Operators Across Europe To Improve Efficiency

This week at InnoTrans, the International trade fair for transport technology, Cisco announced the launch of Secure Station Service Platform (S³P), a device which can provide station operators with a more reliable and cost-effective way to safeguard levels of station security and deliver enhanced information to passengers.

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When rail stations are confronted with power shortages or severed cables, it can result in the disruption of critical station services and inter-station communication, which can potentially impact service and passenger safety. S³P provides an intelligent, distributed network allowing consistent communication between stations, high availability of help points and passenger information services, and advanced video surveillance and analytics, regardless of whether or not a station is offline.

This new solution utilises Cisco’s Application eXtension Platform (AXP) technology, which provides the basis for leading manufacturer, ASL, to closely integrate its application intelligence into the station IP network. The AXP technology is combined in a Cisco Integrated Services Router, effectively reducing the number of separate devices in the station equipment room. Compared with traditional solutions, this integrated solution is immediately more cost-effective, more energy efficient and is significantly simpler and less costly to update and maintain.

Secure Station Service Platform (S³P) Key Facts/Highlights

  • Improved Passenger Information: The Cisco Unified IP Phone connected to the S³P in branch stations allows station masters to make public address announcements or choose to play pre-recorded announcements in their own or another station. ASL’s fault reporting and diagnosis functionality in S³P ensures consistently high availability of help points, video surveillance and passenger information services, even when the communications network link to the head-end station is unavailable. Passengers are therefore provided with the latest information.
  • Greater In-Station Security: Using on-board video analytics from ASL, S³P can monitor and report trackside intrusion, can help control flow of passengers, tailgating/fare evasion at turnstiles, abandoned luggage, car/person in level crossing, smoke/fire detection, car park theft, loitering and graffiti amongst other things. This increases security within stations and provides increased commuter confidence.  Once an issue is identified, S³P can then send an automated message to alert station employees.
  • Easier to deploy and maintain: S³P can offer significant savings on deployment and maintenance costs. Compared with alternative solutions, this integrated approach has the potential to help reduce energy consumption and significantly reduce initial capital expenditure. By combining the majority of applicable technology necessary for train stations into one single box, S³P consumes far less rack space compared to traditional solutions.   Routine maintenance can be performed without requiring a technician on site and station service upgrades can be deployed more quickly and at a lower cost.
  • Lower Risk of Interruptions in Critical Services: Stations often face the continuity of station operations being degraded when the link to the central station is down.  For example, when there are power cuts or severed cables, communication between stations can be cut.  S³P can operate autonomously and intelligently even when a link to the head-end station is down meaning that communication can be maintained as can other critical technology such as video surveillance and public address.
  • Reduced Penalties: S³P can lower the financial risk of incurring penalties from interruptions of critical services in stations, such as video surveillance, help points, and Customer Information Systems (CIS) including long line public address (LLPA).
  • Clearer Public Announcements: ASL’s Dynamic Ambient Noise Sensing (DANS) uses advanced techniques to constantly and smoothly adjust public announcements so they can always be heard.  When a train arrives, just as your platform is being called, you’ll be increasingly assured to get the message.  This is also great for local residents as DANS also combats noise pollution by keeping default volume down until it’s really needed.
  • Improved Fault Reporting: S³P provides station operators with fast insight into station faults such as door ajar alarms.  The inbuilt ‘Derived Status Handler’ then decides which alarms have a lower priority and which need to be routed to whom, e.g. to a faculty management contractor rather than the central control centre.
  • Reporting Compliance: S³P provides stations with a recording and time-stamping of all emergency and public address announcements to support reporting compliance creating a more efficient and compliant station.
  • Compatible with Station Management Systems: The solution includes iVENCS S³P, ASL’s state-of-the-art station management system, with future support for other station management systems. This allows for faster deployment of services in stations, such as video surveillance and access control, while giving station operators the flexibility to choose their management system.

Maurizio Taffone, technical product marketing lead, for Borderless Networks at Cisco:

“The ability to function and communicate as a station regardless of whether or not the link to the main central station is working is a huge advancement in this industry.  This allows stations to provide an efficient and consistently reliable service to commuters using a technology that is more cost-effective, energy efficient and easier to maintain.  Not only is S³P transforming the station operator experience but it is also driving a new wave of more informed and secure passengers.”

Sousan Azimrayat, founding director of ASL:

“We are delighted to work alongside Cisco and this new solution will benefit our rail customers by rationalizing equipment, delivery and maintenance budgets while improving key performance indicators and managing operational risk.  The defining principle for S³P is an elegant architecture which is centrally directed but locally controlled.  In our opinion, S³P is an essential component in the distributed rail network.”

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