The world’s rail transportation systems are going places. From passenger trains that move people city to city at ever increasing speeds to freight trains that do the heavy lifting of global commerce, rail continues to power modern life. Cisco is thrilled to be a part of this dynamic industry and we enjoyed spotlighting Cisco Connected Rail solutions at a recent media event on Nov. 18-19 in New York City.

The convergence of information and networking technologies – often referred to as the Internet of Things (IoT) – is giving the rail industry a boost and will change the way railroads design and manage their networks to improve system safety, efficiency and to enhance the passenger experience. Cisco is leading this technology evolution to help empower the Internet of Things with industrial-grade networking technologies that drive machine-to-machine (M2M) communications. This unleashes many new capabilities, drives new business models and allows operators to offer more value added services to passengers. This boosts their revenue and improves customer service.

Most rail communication systems today were built over 20 years ago. These aging and typically proprietary networks require specialized technical teams to keep them running. As many engineers and technicians needed to maintain older systems near retirement, rail operators need to adopt smart technology strategies now to remain competitive throughout the 21st century.

Cisco’s vision for the future is built with the Internet of Things in mind – or what we call the Internet of Everything (IoE), which encompasses virtually every industry and is poised to generate trillions of dollars in value.


And, we’re already helping to transform almost every aspect of the rail industry – on board trains, in stations and at trackside, improving communications from the locomotive to Central Train Control centers and beyond.

Cisco Connected Trackside replaces older proprietary SCADA networks with secure, highly flexible IP networks to reduce complexity, lower costs, and improve safety with communications networks for train control systems. The network can connect sensors to facilitate asset management, train controls, surveillance and other services.

We’re also transforming the riding experience with Cisco Connected Train solutions that provide passengers with on-board Wi-Fi, video, and mobile applications that deliver entertainment, advertising, and scheduling information. Train stations are getting an overhaul too, thanks to Cisco’s Connected Stations that support new services like “wayfinding” touch-screen kiosks to help travelers plan trips, check schedules and take advantage of special offers.

Sharing a Vision: New York City Media Event, Nov. 18-19

On November 19th, I led a Connected Rail Roundtable discussion that focused on where the rail industry is heading, both in commercial freight and mass transit Intercity rail. Top experts from Cisco and our industry partners discussed how Cisco’s Connected Rail solutions are being deployed in rail systems and how the Internet of Everything is creating business value across different industries.

As rail enters the (IoE) revolution, there will be new services and experiences for the passenger, boosting revenues and profits for operators. IoE will deliver quantum leaps in performance. Operators will see a 1%  efficiency savings in passage and cargo train operations, equating to savings of 1.8 billion dollars a year. This will all happen when we bring connectivity to the trains, tracksides and stations.

Lastly, we saw a Cisco interactive passenger kiosk in action during our two-day media event in New York City. These kiosks are deployed in New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) stations, which serves 15.1 million people.






Tony Shakib

No Longer with Cisco