French Railways operator SNCF is using IBM Watson Internet of Things (IoT) on IBM Cloud to deliver superior customer experiences, heightened operational efficiency and enhanced rail safety to its 13.5 million daily passengers.
SNCF, a global leader in passenger and freight transport services, manages the scheduling, operations and maintenance of a network covering 30,000 kilometers of track, 15,000 trains and 3,000 stations in France. Each of these elements are currently being or will be equipped with thousands of sensors.
With IBM’s Cloud-based Watson IoT Platform, SNCF is connecting its entire rail system – trains, railroad tracks and train stations to gather insights from real-time information on data. These insights will allow SNCF to manage its equipment and thus improve quality, security and availability of its trains.
“Today the IoT is entering a momentous stage in the railway sector’s history. SNCF’s involvement with the IoT rests on three core principles. It must have a strong operational focus by digitalizing the business lines processes and cover the following three pillars: cybersecurity by design, “platform as a service” deployment model, the leveraging of Big Data for decision support,” said Raphaël Viard, CTO e.SNCF. “This is why Watson’s platform, a single and scalable platform, is key to industrializing SNCF’s IoT strategy.”
To effectively collect and analyse this data, SNCF is currently developing specialized industrial sensors which are being installed on tracks and trains. These sensors will securely send tens of thousands of data points to the IBM Watson IoT Platform on IBM Cloud all in real-time.
For example, on the mass transit Parisian lines, new generation trains are equipped with 2,000 sensors, which forward 70,000 data points per month. Now rather than having to bring in each train and manually examine them, SNCF engineers can remotely monitor up to 200 trains at a time for potential issues including door failures or air conditioning, all while they are in transit.
“We are so excited to see a leading European railway, which every day helps 13.5 million passengers get from point A to point B, team with IBM Watson IoT,” said Harriet Green, General Manager IBM Watson IoT. “This collaboration is a true example of how IoT is touching everyone’s lives, in many cases without people even knowing it. In this instance, consumers benefit by experiencing minimal downtime and on time service, all made possible by Watson IoT, data from thousands of sensors and the brilliant engineers and innovators at SNCF.”
By predicting when maintenance is needed, SNCF can successfully prevent trains from being taken out of service, while avoiding more costly repairs. SNCF estimates that this train and track maintenance approach could reduce costs while significantly improving the reliability of its signals and trains. In addition, with this up-the-second insight, maintenance teams will also constantly be updated on the state of the rail infrastructure and when needed, can provide early warning to expert teams in charge, when there is risk of dysfunction.
Across the globe, IBM is working with more than 6,000 clients, across industries, to help them truly realize the benefits of IoT. Many of these innovations are on display at IBM’s Watson IoT headquarters in Munich where today IBM, customers, partners and influencers are gathering for the first ever Genius of Things Summit. At Genius of Things attendees will examine how Watson IoT clients are implementing IoT solutions to drive exceptional outcomes.