Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Hyperconnected GSM-r solutions for the developing world.

GSM-r seeks to reinvent communications on board trains, between trains, and between trains and the sorrounding world. A hyperconnected solution transforming the current wired/wireless network of people communicating with one another to a network where devices are involved as well will change it from a network of people tracking the rail network to a network which that tracks the rail network. It does not remove the human element from the equation but rather changes the human from being the singular interface to one in which the human is one of many. Information gathering and sending can be done without human intervention and it will allow the network to initiate actions rather than the current situation where the human always intiates the action.
While hyperconnectivity is seen as the next step in the evolution of networks, it will allow developing countries who have not yet evolved beyond GSM and traditional wired networks to provide viable solutions to long running rail problems that have so far proved intractable due to cultural and economic issues
Countries like China and India have huge and heavily used rail networks but the additional infrastructure taken for granted in first world countries is sorely lacking, for example displays on platforms, displays in the stations to announce arrivals and departures, information gathering and dissemination on passengers, reservations, etc. Culturally and economically, it may make sense for these countries to invest in hyperconnected solutions to solve some of these issues rather than the traditional solutions deployed in first world countries. The penetration of mobile devices in these countries is large and they are among the fastest growing wireless markets in the world making hyperconnected solutions a viable solution at present and more so in the future.
Creative solutions based around trains and hyperconnectivity can be numerous taking based on cultural aind environmental factors not seen in the first world. The problems that users of trains face in developing countries are far different to those faced in the first world and the solutions offered by a hyperconnectivity can lead to a greater quality of life. For instance, on time train service is not quite the norm in the developing world. A lot of time can be spent to platforms that could be better used. A hyperconnected world would allow a train user to circumvent this by geting updates and allow the train operators to lessen rider discontemt where there currently isn't an immediately viable solution. Hyperconnected solutions will be most useful in mega-cities, think Bombay and Shanghai, where trains are a common form of transportation, commuting times are long and professions are more and more digital in nature. Any advantages that being always connected will be embraced.
In the event of an accident, a hyperconnected GSM-r solution will allow a quick response from emergency personnal who could be provided far more information than would have been previously available. A coordinated rescue and response with data that is automatically gathered would be possible and may significantly improve rescue effectiveness.
A hyperconnected world would make driverless trains safer to operate in countries where the use of a single networks are not robust enough. Use of traditional wireless networks, Wi-Fi and Wimax networks when wireless networks are out of commision and ad hoc networks would significantly increase the robustness of the network coverage available to driverless trains.
While hyperconnectivity is another evolution for the first world, it can be a fundamental rethink for the developing world.

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