The UIC Asia-Pacific Region hosted its Conference on Digital on 27 and 28 October 2021. Once again UIC was able to pull together a programme of speakers spanning the globe to discuss the topic of digitalisation. The key sponsor for the conference was Sydney Trains, and thanks go to Mr Warwick Talbot for his support for the programme.
The conference was moderated by Mr Tom Sargant, UIC Pacific representative, who introduced the programme, covering five key areas:
- Condition monitoring and machine learning,
- FRMCS and future developments,
- Intelligent rail,
- Big data.
The conference began with an introduction from Mr François Davenne, UIC Director General, who set the scene by explaining elements driving improvements in rail from a global perspective. This introduction was followed by a keynote speech from Mr Warwick Talbot, Executive Director, Network Growth Strategy and Investment at Sydney Trains, who described the urgent need to modernise systems that are old and obsolete and noted that digitalisation must be embraced as it presents an opportunity to improve the customer experience. The second keynote speech was delivered by Mr Francis Bedel, Chief Digital Officer at UIC, who presented the context of digitalisation and gave an introduction to the conference.
The conference was rich on content and covered a range of topics across the entire spectrum.
In the area of digitalisation, the participants heard from Dassault Systèmes on the use of ‘digital twins’ and how they can assist with efficient, safe and resilient train operations. This was followed by a presentation from WSP on cybersecurity and the risks faced by operators, as well as responses to such risks. The third speaker from KORAIL explained how the mobile office can be used for quick and efficient decision-making.
The second session covered condition monitoring and machine learning and included presentations from Mermec, Silver Edge Technologies and Sydney Trains. All three covered the way in which digital technology can be used to enhance and automate collection of information on asset condition and performance, as well as the issues facing industry in the face of technology advancements and how technology can be used to deal with these issues.
The third session dealt with FRMCS and featured presentations from UIC and Ericsson, both of which generated a great deal of interest with discussion in the chat box.
The second day began with three presentations on intelligent rail, most notably from Rio Tinto on its auto-haul operation in Western Australia and its driverless freight trains, which are over 2.5 km long. This was followed by a completely different presentation from JR East on how digitalisation is transforming the entire passenger experience and is about more than just the customer on the train. The final presentation during this session was from KTZ and provided an overview of how the organisation uses a digital system to automate control of its traction energy system.
Big data was the final subject area covered, with presentations from CARS, RZD and NIIAS, all describing how big data can be used in infrastructure, operation and maintenance of high-speed rail and advanced traffic management.
The final session was a round-table discussion that covered some of the key topics from the conference. The discussion was wide-ranging, with a number of questions from the audience.
The session had over 200 registrations and delegates in attendance overall.
Thanks go to Mr Vincent Vu, Director of Institutional Relations at UIC, Mr Francis Bedel and of course Ms Beatrice Segeral, Senior Advisor, Institutional Relations and Asia-Pacific region at UIC, who put in many hours of hard work to make the conference happen.