Panasonic: a new approach to the railway industry
S News meets John Boyle of Panasonic Solutions Group Europe to discuss a new direction for the Japanese electronics manufacturer.
Mister Boyle, in April Panasonic launched a new Solutions Division. Why?
“Solutions” is a buzz word. Everybody is claiming to be a solutions vendor, but most of the time there is no real engineering behind it.
This is exactly what we have successfully developed. A team of systems integration specialists, who are able to advise our key clients on using Panasonic connected products, plus those of third parties, all brought together using the right integration software and services.
What does that mean for your customers?
Well, in key vertical markets, Panasonic is now capable of delivering complex solutions involving the hardware, software, engineering and post installation support.
To help maximise the business potential of our enterprise customers, on the 1 April 2015, Panasonic launched a new solutions company, focused on the development and delivery of end to end solutions for various vertical segments.
One of the first verticals we will work with is the transport industry and the railways. We will partner with our rail customers to design, develop and implement value added solutions utilising Panasonic’s trusted B2B products and those of third parties.
Panasonic’s global experience of working with rail customers will unquestionably benefit the industry and allow us to deliver real insight. Initially, we will focus on safety and security, but increasingly we will overlay our advanced analytics technology, which can benefit the commercial operations of rail providers and operators.
Could you give us a snapshot of the type of solutions you can offer to the industry?
Sure. Let’s start with securing unmanned level crossings.
By combining core sensor technology, PV energy systems, thermal camera systems and cloud connectivity using our M2M network, we can help secure these industry problem blackspots. For remote locations, this can help to reduce the infrastructure investment, while ensuring a secure environment.
Higher accuracy on carriage capacity
While the train is in motion, our security cameras can people count and map, to provide accurate data to the next station, so passengers at the station know which carriage to wait for. This can help reduce departure delays and ultimately increase customer satisfaction. By tracking the gender and age of the passengers, in-train infotainment systems can provide customised marketing messages.
Virtual fencing on platforms
By utilising the analytical software embedded within security cameras from Panasonic, an alarm can be generated, informing station management if people are too close to the edge of the platform. This could be an automatic, audible warning, informing people to move away from the edge. Any breach of virtual trip wires can trigger an automatic warning to the train approaching the station, reducing the risk of human loss of life.
Preventing loitering inside stations
By having the ability to predefine restricted or problem areas using the analytics inside the security cameras, it’s possible to track if there are people hiding or waiting in areas which are not secure.
In cases of national security, the system can be uploaded with possible suspect faces. Facial recognition can be used to track and find these suspects if they use the railway system. What is more, the in-camera analytics can be preset to trigger an alarm if a package or item of luggage is left unmoved.
During events and at busy times of day, it is possible to use heat mapping and people counting to ensure the safety of all passengers. In the case of an alarm, station staff can either prevent access to the station or redirect passengers to less crowded areas. Alarms can be set to automatically highlight problem areas. In the event of an issue, the recordings can be used for proof of safety performance.
That means full integration, doesn’t it?
Panasonic Security is built on a heritage of providing evidential quality CCTV footage, developed over the last 50 years. More recently, we have built on this solid foundation and are able to extend your security system so that it incorporates fire alarms, access control, intruder alarms and a centralised control hub too.
Our 360â° surveillance camera is perfect for use within the railways. Not only does it provide 4K image quality across a wide area because of a fish eye lens, it is vandal proof making it suitable for installation outdoors. The big benefit is that fewer cameras are necessary to maintain a complete surveillance overview. Even in low light, the camera supplies crisp and clear images.
The partnership which Panasonic has entered in to with Bravida, Scandinavia's leading integrated supplier of technical installation and service solutions, has enabled the full integration of Bravida’s access and intruder systems with the security systems from Panasonic. Every event, every transaction is secured with visual proof using the camera systems. The access control system is capable of securing an almost unlimited number of access points.
In addition to this, Panasonic took a big step toward total security solution provision, by developing fire alarm systems for the European market.
By integrating the Fire Alarm system with the security cameras and access control system, Panasonic has successfully moved from a provider of hardware to a provider of integrated solutions. Our new solution company will deliver real insight for our customers. We will combine this insight with our hardware to make processes more automated and more accurate, ultimately delivering greater business benefit.
by Monica Bertolo