Reinventing the 08:15 from Glasgow to Edinburgh; Cisco and Partners Enable High-Speed Connectivity on Trains
Country Digital Acceleration, Smart and Connected Communities
LONDON, UK – 15th September, 2017 - Cisco, ScotRail, CGI, Network Rail Telecoms and Wittos today announced their collaboration on an Innovate UK and RSSB funded proof of concept to enable super-fast Wi-Fi on trains (Project SWIFT).
The project will see ScotRail trialling the fastest in-train Wi-Fi service in the world, allowing users to experience Internet speeds on the go of up to 300 Mbps. Currently, those travelling by train between Scotland’s two biggest cities can access less than 10% of that capability; the difference between streaming a music service with interrupted coverage, and downloading the entire Beatles back catalogue, seamlessly in under two minutes.
With the existing in-train mobile service in the UK, 33% of internet requests on trains fail and with 1.4bn journeys a year, that equates to millions of lost hours of productivity, missed opportunity for online retailers, and potentially dissatisfied passengers. Consistent, high speed connectivity on trains provides a significant opportunity for not only the rail industry, but the UK as a whole.
As the recent National Infrastructure Commission report outlined, the use of existing 3G/4G networks for train connectivity has been unsuccessful, largely due to number of tunnels, cuttings and regional 3G/4G black-spots in the UK. Project SWIFT provides a viable alternative.
Led by Cisco CREATE, the company’s Collaborative Research and Emerging Technologies division, working with government, industry, research institutions and start-ups to accelerate innovation, Project SWIFT will highlight how high-speed in-carriage connectivity will improve the experience for passengers and help train operators provide better, more reliable and profitable services.
Project SWIFT has been initially implemented on a full scale train and test track near Stratford-upon-Avon, and will now see a limited duration roll-out on one of the current fleet of ScotRail trains that operate services between Glasgow and Edinburgh. The project will utilise existing trackside fibre to backhaul data from trackside masts. The masts will use unlicensed Wi-Fi spectrum to connect trains to this fibre, with a lossless session handover between masts as low as 2 milliseconds. Both existing and newly installed masts will be used along the Edinburgh-Glasgow route to ensure that consistent coverage can be trialled along the line, regardless of tunnels and cuttings.
The proof of concept trial will commence later this year, and run until the end of March 2018.
The project goes beyond providing Internet access to passengers, and investigates what becomes possible when you add data and insight to connections:
As part of Project SWIFT, start-ups and SME’s have been invited to participate in an open innovation challenge that utilizes live data from the project. Participants will build applications to enable continuous innovation for passengers, and train operators. For more information on the challenge, visit https://www.1to1.link/.
Today’s announcement is the latest example of Cisco’s commitment to support digitisation in the UK. Cisco’s digitisation strategy is a long-term partnership with government, industry and academia to deliver real outcomes faster and more effectively for the country. It is part of Cisco’s global commitment to accelerating digitisation of countries around the world. For further examples, please visit the Cisco Newsroom.
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Abellio ScotRail started operating on 1 April 2015. ScotRail provides passenger train services throughout Scotland with intercity, regional and suburban rail services across the Scottish national rail network.
Abellio ScotRail is responsible for 4,850 employees, carrying 227,000 passengers on 2,000 services per day with 794 train vehicles.
Founded in 1976, CGI Group Inc. is the fifth largest independent information technology and business process services firm in the world. Approximately 70,000 professionals serve thousands of global clients from offices and delivery centers across the Americas, Europe and Asia Pacific, leveraging a comprehensive portfolio of services, including high-end business and IT consulting, systems integration, application development and maintenance and infrastructure management, as well as 150 IP-based services and solutions. With annual revenue in excess of C$10 billion and an order backlog exceeding C$20 billion, CGI shares are listed on the TSX (GIB.A) and the NYSE (GIB). Website: www.cgi.com
Wittos is focused on empowering the local space to develop an understanding of the actual behaviours of connected consumers based on data, not guess work or assumptions, from the local space’s wireless network. Our next-gen data-driven approach blends live behavioural analytics with an open ecosystem who, in turn, generate a virtuous circle of real-time end-user value. This means that WiFi utilisation is properly forecasted, importantly the demand for connectivity can be shaped and sustainable monetisation opportunities can start to flow. Website: http://www.wittos.com
Innovate UK is the UK's innovation agency. We work with people, companies and partner organisations to find and drive the science and technology innovations that will grow the UK economy. We’re an organisation of around 300 staff, drawn mainly from business. We work across the UK, with a head office in Swindon. With a strong business focus, we drive growth by working with companies to de-risk, enable and support innovation. To do this, we work to:
For more information see https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/innovate-uk