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Ground-breaking trackside network solution sets benchmark for US metro

(Newcastle upon Tyne, 9 June 2016)  Nomad Digital, the world’s leading provider of wireless connectivity and ICT solutions to the rail sector, has successfully procured, designed and implemented the very first WiMAX trackside system to support operationally critical rail signalling communications in North America.

Utilising its unique combination of in-depth digital rail experience and wireless radio planning expertise, Nomad has taken the project from an initial concept stage and designed and developed a unique trackside to on-board communications solution for Xorail (Wabtec Corp.) – a leading US rail systems integrator – providing an integrated signalling solution for Denver Transit Partners.

The brand new metro, Denver Eagle P-3 Commuter Rail Service, connects the airport and other outlying districts of Denver with the central Denver Union Station, adding over 40km of new routes to the existing light rail system.

The solution, which is considered to be a world-first, provides a robust, highly redundant, connectivity platform, which enables the delivery and management of critical operational applications such as positive train control, closed-circuit television, passenger emergency information, public announcement and maintenance data systems.

The resounding benefit to the transportation operator is enhanced safety and improved fleet optimisation. Most importantly, the communications system complies with Federal Railroad Administration standards for positive train control, a mandate that requires every rail system to provide an automated service that has a train-stop safety capability in case of loss of communication with the centre.

Through an innovative, strategic partnership with Xorail (Wabtec Corp.), Nomad designed the on-board and trackside components of the WiMAX track-to-shore communications system. The system leverages Nomad’s IP technology and connects the fleet of railcars to 50 trackside WiMAX transmission sites arranged to give multiple redundant operation, and so maximum availability.  The WiMAX system deployment has been completed on the first and largest of three corridors, the “University of Colorado A Line” to Denver International Airport, with two additional corridors, “Gold Line” to the Western suburbs and “Northwest Corridor” scheduled for service by the end of this year.

Nomad, said “In a collaborative partnership with Xorail, Denver Transit Partners, the Regional Transportation District and City of Denver, we have introduced an innovative WiMAX communications solution for rail operational application transmissions. Through Nomad’s design engineering expertise and utilisation of our R3200 platform, we have delivered a first in America, which sets the benchmark for trackside communications networks and enables the operator to run a safer and more efficient service for its passengers.”

Nomad Digital CEO, said “This is a truly exciting project, which through collaboration with our partners has delivered a global first in the North American market. A combination of technical thought leadership, digital and engineering excellence and rail expertise has resulted in a solution which has global strategic relevance to the rail industry.”

About Nomad Digital

Nomad Digital is the world’s leading provider of passenger and fleet connectivity solutions to the railway industry. It offers a broad solutions portfolio to transport operators and builders that significantly enhance passenger experience and increase fleet operational efficiency.

Its integrated and scalable solutions include the multi-award winning and patent-protected Passenger WiFi, enabling seamless connectivity with the internet and on-board infotainment. In addition, its Passenger Information System for live journey, multi-media information and Passenger Portal Framework simplifies the creation of custom portals for on-board services and entertainment. And Nomad’s Remote Online Condition Monitoring, Driver Assist and Power Train products are targeted at identifying efficient fleet maintenance operations and improving fuel economy.

Nomad is the pioneer of the Intelligent journey – a shared and secure network infrastructure to which all authorised on-board systems and passenger devices may connect.

For more information on Nomad Digital please contact:
Vicki Sloan, Global Marketing and Events Manager
+44 (0) 207 096 6966 Ext. 2082
+44 (0) 7848 085 896

Nomad's vision - connecting everything

Nomad’s digital train vision is all about collecting data from different sources, storing this data and processing it in a scalable data aggregation platform. Smart data can enable the various over the top services, across the business to realise value.

In the path of making digital trains a reality, there will be some huge opportunities for data to create potential revenue streams and/or efficiencies within the rail market. Investments can be leveraged for operations and maintenance and in areas like analytics. Mobile applications will become more common and will be a big contributor to the reality of a fully connected networked train.

A step into the mobile world

In less than 10 years mobile applications have continued to grow. This growth is mainly driven by the fact that mobile phones became globally adopted (over 1 billion smartphones exist worldwide). Users carry them wherever they go meaning it’s very convenient and easy to download and use a mobile app.

Companies that want to embrace the mobile disruption must consider that mobile apps need to be an integral part of a holistic digital strategy. At Nomad, mobile strategy is part of the digital train vision – connecting everything. That’s why we chose to undertake a mobile application discovery project and develop an application prototype.

Today we observe that mobile apps are taking over the world, for example, ‘Angry Birds’ was downloaded 5x more than the ‘Nintendo DS’ was sold. Apps can play a crucial role in digital transformation and are an important enabler for digitalisation – it’s the mobile disruption!

Nomad embrace the future

When Nomad embraced the mobile space, we started by identifying future focus areas for mobile applications and general business efficiencies. Through using design thinking methods, the goal was to understand how we could enhance mobile working using technology.

Design thinking is a method for practical and creative resolution. It’s really an innovative and creative mindset and a very different way to solve problems. Starting with the human factors it helps create business value with a human-centred design approach.

Nomad decided to engage by applying design thinking in two one-week phases: Initial analysis and deep dive.

Week one phase - empathise, define and ideate

The first week initial analysis, started with empathising with the users – our internal and field engineering teams. By interviewing them, understanding their working process and pains, while shadowing their activities we could then define the application eco-system, create personas and draw journey maps. Engaging into ideating with what was observed, we brainstormed around the capabilities and opportunities, finishing the week by identifying and enumerating five concrete portfolio opportunities that would become business propositions.

From the five portfolio opportunity areas identified, we prioritised and selected the one where mobile technology had a higher impact, could be deployed in the short/medium term and that would be most likely to return on investment. The selected proposal progressed by moving into the deep dive phase.

Week two phase – exploration, patterns and testing

The second week, deep dive, was about further exploration of solutions to pain points discovered in phase one. Using service and experience design we were able to understand and discuss how to solve some of these pains and identified patterns in terms of the user experience. Applying UX Design methodology, these patterns were then transformed and designed into a friendly user interface, incorporating brand, design, usability, and functionality.

The final phase – the prototype

The created prototype entered user testing sessions to collect feedback in terms of concept, usability and functionality. The sessions with users were crucial, we were able to analyse their feedback, refine the prototype and ensure it was fit for purpose.

At end of the second week we had built a working clickable mobile app prototype. We had validated our approach and created a great basis for moving forward, developing and deploying the real application.

As our engineering teams had continued involvement across this innovative project, everyone was excited to see the finished prototype. We are proud to be making a change and a key contribution to rail technology. Making changes are important to Nomad, we see our app as the first step to smart, simple and enjoyable future technology solutions.