Friday, 08 May 2020 12:43

Inmarsat launches telemetry, satellite comms solution for rail industry

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Mobile satellite communications provider Inmarsat has launched a comprehensive new rail telemetry and communications solution for the global rail industry.

Inmarsat says the solution provides real-time data transfer and push-to-talk (PTT) communications for rail operators working in remote areas across the globe, connecting drivers and railway staff “to drive operational efficiencies and improve the overall safety of the railway”.

Railways are more critical than ever in supporting the global movement of goods in remote areas. However; there are many challenges facing today’s railway operators, including optimising network capacity, carrying out vital maintenance work, improving health and safety and minimising the impact of adverse weather conditions,” says Inmarsat.

“These are exacerbated in large regions where sections of the railway pass through black spots - areas of minimal or zero cellular network coverage. As trains travel through these areas, railway staff are unable to communicate, or send and receive any data from trains to the control centre, leading to inefficiencies and potentially safety concerns.”

Inmarsat says its Rail Telemetry and Communications Solution leverages its Broadband Global Area Network (BGAN), offering “industry-leading reliability of up to 99.9% uptime”.

“Low form factor satellite terminals, such as the new Cobham EXPLORER 323, are mounted on locomotives providing real-time GPS, telemetry and PTT capabilities anywhere in the world. This means control centres can efficiently and safely monitor and schedule the movement of locomotives, rolling stock and goods across an entire rail network, while enabling communications with crew wherever they are located,” Inmarsat explained,

Steven Tompkins, Director of Sector Development at Inmarsat, said: “Inmarsat’s new Rail Telemetry and Communications Solution builds on projects with leading rail operators in Latin America and development work with our hardware and service provider partners”.

“We are confident the solution provides the most reliable data and communications service for train companies, and will lead to a paradigm shift in the safety and efficiency of remote rail operations.”

Topkins said an important feature of the solution is the integration with existing equipment on board, with the Cobham PRISM PTT+ solution integrating easily into the locomotive’s existing radio, “so the rail operator doesn’t have to get rid of their existing trusted equipment. PRISM PTT+, a service powered by Cobham SATCOM’s innovative PRISM (Private Routing & Intelligent System Management) technology enables the BGAN PTT Solution to switch between connectivity types such as UHF or VHF, 3G/4G and satellite making the solution cost-effective and easy to use.”

“As well as being relied on to transfer critical data in real-time, Inmarsat’s Rail Telemetry and Communications Solution is unique in providing a PTT voice communication feature that can switch between connectivity types seamlessly, without any lag in reconnection,” Tompkins added.

“This provides operators complete confidence that data will always be transferred, the latest technology on board will stay operational and voice communications with drivers and crew can be maintained wherever the train is located.”


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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - retired and is a "volunteer" writer for iTWire. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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