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Swiss Federal Railways Creates a Smarter Railroad with IBM and Alcatel-Lucent

February 28, 2011

Swiss Federal Railways Creates a Smarter Railroad with IBM and Alcatel-Lucent

LAS VEGAS (RPRN) 02/28/11 — IBM (NYSE: IBM) and Alcatel-Lucent (Euronext Paris and NYSE: ALU) today announced that they are helping Switzerland's leading transportation company, Schweizerische Bundesbahnen (SBB), improve on-time arrivals and increase customer satisfaction to safely and efficiently transport 900,000 passengers and more than 220,000 tons of cargo each day. SBB, one of the most efficient railways in Europe, can find and repair over 50 percent of the typical issues that delay its trains before they even occur.

The solution's impact has been estimated to:

  • recognize and repair more than 50 percent of network issues around delays before they even occur or affect service, leading to higher customer satisfaction and an annual savings of approximately US$2.3 million.
  • give SBB better visibility into their rail system, reducing problem analysis efforts by about 33 hours each month — or about an hour a day.
  • simplify the overall management of the rail system and drive higher efficiencies with a single-view map and customizable reporting tools; and
  • provide a 2,000 minutes minimum reduction in delays per month.

The smarter rail solution enables SBB to monitor its more than 3,000-kilometer network of tracks and 800 rail stations all through one user interface.  The solution combines data from railroad track switches, stations and cars gathered from sensors and video at train stations connected by a fiber-optic cable network with 50,000 fixed and 20,000 mobile connections.

"Trying to manage 7,000 kilometers of track is a particularly daunting task," said Martin Schaeren, Head of BU Service Management, Swiss Federal Railways. "But, by leveraging our Alcatel-Lucent and IBM solution, we're able to see our entire infrastructure clearly and respond to problems before they can affect our operations."

SBB's management system is capable of tracking all of the IT and physical assets — switches and sensors -- in one place to help ensure the punctuality of its passenger rail service and the safety of its riders while optimizing cargo movement and the maintenance of rolling equipment.

"Having one IT solution that can sense, monitor and trace the location and status of thousands of rail events in real-time is creating new levels of efficiencies for the Swiss rail, an organization already well esteemed for punctuality," said Jean-Philippe Poirault, President, Media, IT and Telecom Services, Alcatel-Lucent. "Alcatel-Lucent has worked in tandem with the IBM Tivoli Netcool and SBB teams to develop a solution that ensures service uptime and reliability."

IBM Tivoli Netcool and other Tivoli software helps detect and address network issues, performs routine diagnostics to identify irregularities that may signal a potential outage of services, and automatically takes steps to resolve them, such as scheduling and alerting Swiss rail staff to a maintenance call.  Alcatel-Lucent's consulting and integration services including expertise in complex multivendor networking allows SBB to focus on its core business.  The solution provides a drill-down map of the rail line across Switzerland to get real-time information about the status of operations at select locations.

"Railroads are a complex network of millions of moving parts. Using information as it is being monitored helps SBB anticipate, fix and avoid issues before cargo is delayed or passengers are late," said Keith Dierkx, director, IBM Global Rail Innovation Center. "SBB is using data to make the trains run on time, literally."

The railway made the shift to the new integrated system after an isolated power failure in 2005 triggered 18,000 alarms from its various monitoring systems, masking the root cause of the problem, leaving nearly 200,000 passengers stranded for hours, costing almost US$5 million.

About Alcatel-Lucent

Alcatel-Lucent is the trusted transformation partner of service providers, enterprises, strategic industries such as defense, energy, healthcare, transportation, and governments worldwide, providing solutions to deliver voice, data and video communication services to end-users. A leader in fixed, mobile and converged broadband networking, IP and optics technologies, applications and services, Alcatel-Lucent leverages the technical and scientific expertise of Bell Labs, one of the largest innovation powerhouses in the communications industry. Alcatel-Lucent achieved revenues of Euro 15.2 billion in 2009 and is incorporated in France, with executive offices located in Paris. For more information, visit Alcatel-Lucent: http://www.alcatel-lucent.com, and http://www.alcatel-lucent.com/blog.

About IBM Network Management and Smarter Rail

Over 1,000 companies have selected IBM Tivoli Netcool to manage their networks. IBM has more than 100 rail and metro clients and operates a Global Rail Innovation Center to bring together rail industry leaders in an effort to build smarter rail networks.  Throughout IBM's 100 year history, the company has helped railroads around the world use information to better manage and optimize complex rail systems. The Optimization of Global Railways is one of 100 "Icons of Progress," significant company milestones during the last century. To see a video on some of the smarter rail technologies being developed, please visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ltYl3NZBun4  

For more information about IBM, visit http://www.ibm.com/smarterplanet  Join us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/peopleforasmarterplanet.  To learn how smarter infrastructure is bridging the physical and digital worlds, check us out at http://spatiallyspeaking.tumblr.com. For photos and other announcements listed today, please see http://www.ibm.com/press/us/en/presskit/33813.wss

Media Contact Name: Colleen Haikes IBM Media Relations
Media E-mail:
Media Phone: 415-545-4003
Company Contact Name: Sara Delekta Galligan IBM Media Relations
Company E-mail:
Company Phone: 415-545-6715
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