2019, when an Amazon package can be tracked with every step of the carrier,
you’d think rail customers would be able to find out where their freight is
without making a phone call.
rails until their freight is late and they call to ask why.
automation where one server makes a data request for another on a continual
basis, allowing for real-time data.
today, most of the data flows only based on request from a user, meaning data
isn’t continually updated and generally isn’t a real-time representation of
what’s happening by the time it reaches the customer.
much in the rail space. This is an area that we are actively working
on,” said Shankar Sengupta, the VP of engineering and transport
logistics at GE Transportation.
railcar’s path had done so) would be making the data available to customers.
let’s assume it’s a blockchain in the cloud, everybody can see it and everybody
can take action on it,” he said.
stuff?” real-time visibility can also help with railroads’ number one
priority, which is, in their own words — safety. For this, Internet of Things
(IoT) technology is top of mind in the industry.
familiar with installing lots of sensors and even learning from traffic data,
but there is more to sensors and cameras.
tracks and find hairline cracks and defects to speed repairs to ensure safe
railcars before they head into service.
to monitor track maintenance. Some aspects of rail car maintenance are already
of data that currently isn’t widely used effectively, according to Timothy
Thompson, senior manager of rail solutions for Uptake Technologies.
year for 2018, is using data that railcars are already
collecting to predict maintenance and downtime, reducing “road failures” and
hold you back
safety and locomotive health is available in the marketplace and in use in
problem that’s shared all over the supply chain: legacy systems.
there,” said Sengupta, who offered the example of ERPs, which he sees
as standing in the way of blockchain adoption and could equally apply to other
forms of cloud computing.
trust the cloud.
and millions of dollars of investment in ERPs. Are you ready to throw that
out?,” Sengupta asked.
sky, we will have to have a hybrid strategy,” he said.
real-time visibility is achieved, railroads will have to decide to share the
results with their customers. On this front, Thompson is optimistic.
access and utilizing asset data more than in the past,” he said, adding that
data ownership is coming up more often in contract negotiations.