Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Digi International supports remote-monitoring for rail operators

Iain Morris

February 20, 2014

M2M player Digi International is to support the rollout of new asset-tracking services for rail systems by long-standing partner OEM Technology Solutions.

Technology developed by OEM (Sydney, Australia) is used in more than 20,000 rail systems across 20 countries, but the company says that rail operators are still often faced with rail car downtime, leading to rising costs and falling revenues.

It plans to use a cloud-based system from Digi international’s (Minnetonka, MN, USA) Etherios division to help overcome those problems through what it calls a “connected rail solution”.

According to OEM, this will give customers a “smarter” way to reduce downtime resulting from unplanned maintenance.

The Etherios product – branded Device Cloud – facilitates two-way communications between any device and the cloud, meaning that products can alert rail operators to any faults without the need for human intervention.

OEM says the real benefit of the service is in allowing operators to adopt a “preventative-based service model” – driving down costs and growing revenue as “asset uptime increases”.

“In order for us to offer preventative service, or conditioned-based monitoring technology, we needed a way to connect our controllers to the Internet,” said Richard Gobee, managing director of OEM. “Rail systems are expected to be one of the fastest and most efficient means of transportation, and the Internet of Things makes that a reality.”

OEM is already using Digi International for hardware, including the embedded wireless modules and a cellular gateway that lets rail operators gather information remotely.

The cloud system marks an extension of their collaboration and will allow OEM to access information over the web.

“OEM Technology Solutions represents a customer that is capitalizing on our end-to-end M2M offering,” said Joel Young, chief technology officer of Digi International.