IBM is moving into the transportation industry by helping railway companies operate their trains and infrastructure. In particular, IBM is helping develop high-speed rail networks globally, and released a study called the “The Smarter Railroad,” highlighting how emerging technologies will help rail companies better instrument and manage rail networks.
According to the report, the top challenges in the development of sound rail systems are capacity, congestion, operational efficiency, reliability, safety and security. And IBM says its technologies can help rail companies better instrument, analyze and manage rail networks and equipment in real-time. IBM says that $300 billion will be spent globally to upgrade, expand and initiate high-speed railway networks during the next five years.
High-Speed rail is uber-fast railway transportation between geographic areas, which goes 2-3 times faster than the Acela train, the fastest of Amtrak’s commuter trains. According to IBM, high-speed trains travel at speeds of close to 200 miles per hour. High-speed rail is a hot topic in the U.S. these days. President Obama just pledged nearly $13 billion dollars to funding high-speed railway projects in the U.S. If you take a look at the vision for the high-sped railways in the map, there are a good amount of potential spots where high-speed rail could be built. California is already planning a high-speed rail network the state.
IBM is already using its software to provide advanced transportation analytics, research, supercomputing and new sensor networks for high-speed rail projects in China, the Netherlands, Stockholm, Brisbane, Singapore, Dublin, and London. And the company hopes to be the provider for this technology in the high-speed projects in the U.S. But if these projects ever do come to fruition, Big Blue will have some stuff competition from other companies who dabble in the transportation technology space, like Accenture and Cap Gemini, for the contracts.
Here’s a video detailing IBM’s railway transportation initiatives: