Northern Powerhouse

26.09.19

The importance of edge infrastructure

Source: Sponsored Interview

The world is in the midst of a digital revolution, bringing with it a new level of opportunity for innovation in the rail industry. Vertiv is at the centre of this digitalisation and, ahead of next month’s TransCityRail North event, RTM’s Jamie Bennett-Ness spoke with Emiliano Cevenini, Vertiv’s vice president of sales, mobility and critical energy in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), on all things edge infrastructure, rail and TCR.

In recent years, we have seen technology play an ever-present role in almost every aspect of our daily lives; in our increasingly smarter cities, our homes and now our transport. Particularly in the rail industry, new technologies are creating exciting possibilities, but are also placing extraordinary pressure on our IT systems. On board trains is where this is particularly evident, explained Mr Cevenini.

Rolling stock can now communicate continuously, creating a massive amount of useful data which allows the train to communicate its location, status and a whole host of other algorithms. Mr Cevenini stated that when these services require real time data to make real time decisions, we cannot simply rely on the cloud. “The train itself is effectively becoming a data centre on wheels, and this is where we see the necessity of edge infrastructure.”

This is where Vertiv come in, covering all segments of railway. Whilst the focus is now less on rolling stock and more on station infrastructure, there are a number of specialist services such as housing IT racks on board high-speed trains. These racks are extremely specialised equipment as they require a specific construction technique due to the train’s vibrations. Beyond the touch points in rolling stock, Vertiv focus on regional operation control centres, providing everything from the screens, mountable consoles, ticketing systems and technical furniture in the data rooms.

Trackside, Vertiv have a long history of providing internalised power systems, fully air conditioned, for any type of environment. This stretches from the coldest Nordic countries to the hottest deserts in the Middle East and Africa - Vertiv are able to provide backed-up power systems, train and life control systems and more. The necessity for an edge infrastructure is also central to the traveller’s experience, said Mr Cevenini, and Vertiv focuses very much on the rise of 5G. He explained that when passenger’s want access to high-speed data and high-quality streaming, this requires a strong edge infrastructure – be it 4G, Wi-Fi or 5G.

Vertiv position themselves as ‘architects of continuity’ because the organisation aims to get the full view of how digital infrastructure is being built, and to make sure it is made ready for today’s needs and the needs of tomorrow. Mr Cevenini explained that one of the company’s key distinctive factors is thinking of their customers’ needs not only for today but for the entire lifetime of the system. Put simply, the infrastructure must be future-proofed.

Emiliano Cevenini will be speaking at TCR North on 3 October alongside a host of other high-profile speakers from across the sector. When asked why his company wanted to sponsor the event, he said Vertiv understood that collaboration with the end user: the train operating companies, was key. While Vertiv already has excellent working relationships with a number of other global companies, TransCityRail offers the opportunity to really expand its visibility and make more people in the industry aware of the size and breadth of its portfolio.

TCR North offers the chance to meet with companies from across the supply chain, hear from a wide range of experts and to build new relationships. To find out more about the event and how you can attend, click here.

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TransCityRail North 2019