When most people think of trains and buses, they don’t necessarily think of futuristic technology or wonder about the logistics of mass transport, especially on-board communications. Many people – including myself – actually take for granted that we can check emails or even stream videos on moving trains and buses, but have you ever wondered how this is possible and what technology is involved?
This year’s InnoTrans at the Messe Berlin had all the answers.
InnoTrans – the world’s leading trade fair for transport technology – only takes place every two years at the Messe Berlin exhibition grounds because of the sheer magnitude of the event, which is comprised of 41 halls and a massive Outdoor Display covering 3,500 metres of track. It is sub-divided into five segments – Railway Technology, Railway Infrastructure, Public Transport, Interiors and Tunnel Construction – where exhibitors can showcase their latest and greatest technology.
This year’s event attracted almost 150,000 trade visitors from more than 140 countries and, as HUBER+SUHNER’s PR agency, myself and another colleague had the pleasure of attending the show to support the launch of new, innovative connectivity solutions for rail and bus.
On the opening day, we were taken aback by the range of products on display – from the cutting edge technology usually associated with prestige telecoms events like Mobile World Congress to real trains and buses, it was clear the transport and technology industries have collided – and the result is a first-class experience for consumers no matter how they are travelling.
Our client HUBER+SUHNER’s booth was a prime example of this, focusing on Connected Mobility – the notion of enabling broadband network connections on board, from train-to-ground and trackside. As such, it showcased connectivity solutions which allow operators and passengers to run their increasingly demanding applications seamlessly, including Internet, e-ticketing, passenger information, train control, CCTV or fleet management.
Also part of HUBER+SUHNER’s technology showcase were the company’s SENCITY® Road antennas for buses. SENCITY® Road combines several radiating elements for different communication standards – cellular, WLAN, GPS/Glonass and TETRA – for buses within a single product and can be installed on new vehicles, as well as being easily retro-fitted across existing fleets.
Exciting product launches and company announcements completed the event, with HUBER + SUHNER launching its innovative Omni-S MIMO 4×4 antenna, designed for installing Internet in trains, and agreeing a framework with Weidmüller on their strategic alliance in the rail technology market. Of course, the on-site support we provided to HUBER + SUHNER was instrumental in the success of these announcements!
With so much technology dedicated to Internet on-the-move, ubiquitous broadband is quickly moving from vision to realistic concept and, having seen the amount of work behind the solutions, I for one will not be taking my next connected commute for granted.