The French National Railway Company’s (SNCF’s) mission is to make the travel experience simpler and to deliver seamless, sustainable passenger and freight transport. In order to successfully achieve that mission for the Net U, RER C, and TER center rail lines meant a constructing a new control tower capable of managing any daily rail crises that arise—from an individual on the tracks, passenger discomfort, a switch problem, a power interruption, and more. This requires the coordination of the various services and access to a range of critical information sources workstations to workstations as well as video walls. Integrator Polymedia Europe identified that in the course of a day the organization’s challenges changed frequently. SNCF needed a visualization solution that would give the control tower teams the flexibility to manage any situation quickly—making faster decisions and responding more efficiently with visualization tools that would grant them access to up-to-date passenger and train information, no matter the display surface.
For this project, two VuWall VuScape video wall controllers were deployed, allowing users to control and distribute all content sources to any display on the network. For the new control tower, the inventory of displays comprised two 3x2 video walls in the control room, one 3x2 video wall in the crisis room, one beamer in the crisis room, as well as two 2x1 LCDs in the control room. Two VuScape controllers manage the displays, while the third second one provides failover.
SNCF can mix baseband and IP sources on the same VuScape controller, supporting multiple 4K HDMI, and DisplayPort inputs. The controller can also display any kind of content coming from cloud/network-based solutions such as websites, data, third-party SCADA, business analytics, and social media data. For SNCF operators, sources include France’s 24-hour rolling news and weather channel; a map of France showing train schedule status, so they can instantly know which are on time or late; and the surveillance cameras at Montparnasse Station so that operators can be apprised of traffic and ensure the flow of passengers.
While the control tower is able to work with any source available at their fingertips and from any display, the VuWall system is especially valuable when it comes to operating in a crisis. In the event of an emergency, teams can construct a diagnosis using a schematic map. That information can then be distributed to different entities to allow all vested parties to make a fast, informed decision. VuScape effectively closes the gap between the different source formats in a user-friendly controller.
For the next phase, SNCF is exploring the option to add VuScape’s KVM functionality enabling the control of computers remotely with a networked keyboard/mouse emulator. This will give operators seamless continuity between controlling the video wall and their desktops, essentially creating a multi-surface system where the video wall will become an extension of their desks.
“We have over 100 million passengers each year that depend on us to keep them safe,” said Yvan Gonzalez, project director of Emergency Alert Systems and Exploitation at SNCF. “Selecting the right technology for our operations is key. VuWall’s visualization solution gives our team the confidence they need to control what they see, when and where they need to see it, in order to respond quickly to keep our passengers and our employees safe.”