This blog is by Carlijn Adema at Nokia Networks.
Did you know that when you take the morning train from Barcelona to Madrid, Nokia is one of the companies which helps ensure you arrive safely? At Nokia, we manage operations for over 550 million subscribers around the world, but we also manage operations for some of the world’s fastest trains which reach 300 km per hour. So, in this increasingly programmable world in which we live, what does it take to manage operations for high-speed trains compared to managing connectivity for mobile subscribers? Is it one-size-fits-all or do we adjust our operations to the specific requirements of the ‘application’ – be it a train, a container, a connected car or a mobile device?
We adjust, of course, as operations are fully dependent on the specific connected ‘application’ with its own set of various requirements. To demonstrate what this means in practice, let’s examine the key requirements of the managed services contract that Nokia executes, where hundreds of people manage the GSM-R network, the energy, IP, transmission, fiber, CCTV, security and power control along the Spanish tracks.
Fully redundant design: In train operations, safety is paramount, so 100% network availability for a connected train is a must. In case of failure, there is always a backup: every point along the track is covered by two base stations, BSCs (base station controllers) and MSCs (mobile switching centers), which are fully redundant. Likewise, the connected car and autonomous self-driving car may have the same type of requirements – and absolutely cannot suffer from a handover failure to the next cell. Where a train will go is at least predictable: the added challenge of a connected car is that it’s not possible to predict where it will go.
Super fast response time: Time is highly critical with our operations for high-speed trains. We manage the equipment in some of the longest tunnels in the world, such as the 29 km tunnel near Madrid. As some of the maintenance is performed in the tunnels, the time window is very brief and support teams are situated along the track ready for action 24/7.
Full speed ahead with analytics for the connected world
Looking ahead to the countless applications that will emerge in the connected world, you can also expect the role of intelligent analytics in managing operations to grow as fast as a high-speed train. Analytics will enable us to predict critical issues and monitor small anomalies in hundreds of elements remotely and adjust requirements for all manner of connected applications whether for a train, a car, a container, a fridge or a streetlight. Thanks to analytics, we can move to a more cognitive network operations environment where the network knows how to heal itself before an issue can occur.
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