The 2019 Railway Interchange conference showcased the pulse of the industry as it rolls toward a future that embraces innovative technologies. Digitization was a main focus, along with a number of other trending topics. Which trends are having the greatest impact on the industry? Read on to find out!

Digitization: the new standard

The adoption of digitization and Internet of Things (IoT) solutions to support and scale business operations demonstrated a promising, forward-moving direction in the industry. While railways focus on achieving the highest safety standards and adhering to the latest safety certifications, they also need to make sure the emergence of new ideas and technology adoption isn't impeded. It’s clear the industry is embracing digital strategies to forge ahead into the future.

IoT for Maintenance of Way equipment

IoT is reaching beyond the tracks to connect maintenance of way (MOW) and off-rail equipment. Whether it’s equipment users, OEMs or rental companies, much value can be derived from equipment monitoring for location, maintenance requirements, crew behaviour, safety, and more.

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning: the next step

With information digitized and readily available, the next step in digitization is to push beyond data to bring precision scheduling and predictive maintenance to life. Artificial intelligence (AI), or machine learning (ML), are two ways to achieve this, but with many AI/ML software providers, the railway industry will need to ensure the provider has railway experience and a broad understanding of the industry's needs.

Crucial integration

As more companies create innovative technologies, we see greater availability of industry software and solutions. As this continues, integration will be crucial so that railways with multiple suppliers and numerous on- and off-rail assets can get a complete digital picture of their operations.  Railway experience and the security of the data generated by any digital solution will be critical.

Security is the key

In an industry that’s focused on safety, the protection of information is no exception. While the industry is embracing the digital future, a main concern continues to be the data security. Every component in a digital strategy requires the highest standards in data security so that every link in the railway is secure and functioning optimally.

These are major advancements and represent significant growth in the rail industry, as only a few years ago, Railway IoT was the exception in conversation, not the norm. As an innovator in the market, ZTR has decades of experience in both railway and IoT, and recognized the value in connecting the two industries years ago. With hundreds of thousands of assets monitored worldwide, ZTR understands the unique needs of the railway market and the capabilities required to implement viable and beneficial IoT solutions. Here’s how we help railways get a clear picture with a secure, end-to-end digital solution.