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Interview with Ashok Maurya, Executive Director, Signalling and telecommunication, JMRC

July 27, 2018
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Enterprises in the transportation industry are increasingly leveraging information and communication technology (ICT) solutions to improve their overall efficiency and deliver world-class services. Besides deploying solutions such as enterprise resource planning (ERP), supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA), signalling and train information management (TIM) to improve the operational efficiency of their systems, enterprises are taking several customer-facing initiatives such as setting up websites, mobile applications and payment solutions. However, challenges in upskilling the workforce and building long-term IT flexibility and competency continue to exist. Experts from leading enterprises in the transportation space discuss their company’s ICT roadmap, deployment challenges and the way ahead...


How have your ICT requirements changed over time? What are the key telecom and IT solutions used by your company? What have been the benefits so far?

There is a demand to add all available modes of cashless transactions to automatic fare collection systems, which already use online web services and point-of-sale terminals such as e-wallets, QR codes and prepaid cards. Common mobility cards are the need of the hour. Also, there is a need for more integrated solutions based on global standards and protocols.

The Jaipur Metro Rail Corporation (JMRC) is using several solutions on the operations and usage side. These include a passenger information display system interfaced with a signal and train control system, CCTV with centralised monitoring, a tetra radio communication system, telephony systems, a fibre optic system, a GPS master clock, IT-and network management-related facilities, and a signal and train control system. Using the network management system, JMRC provides real-time facilities to passengers ranging from train operations to security and ticketing.

What are your views on the use of emerging technologies like cloud, big data, artificial intelligence (AI) and internet of things (IoT)?

Metro rail operations are safety critical and thus, the solutions deployed for them have to be reliable, maintainable and secure. AI solutions are expected to enable faster, safer, more reliable and comfortable journeys for commuters. Externally hosted solutions such as cloud may be useful to augment the available ICT solutions. However, the costs and benefits of in-house and cloud solutions need to be evaluated before adopting these externally hosted solutions.

In the face of rising data and cybersecurity concerns, how are you ensuring the security of your system and processes?

The measures include the provision of a closed loop internal network and firewalls at points where internal systems communicate with external systems. We also have an internal secure key management system. That said, data storage is posing a challenge.

What are the issues and challenges faced in the deployment and management of ICT solutions and infrastructure?

Digital amalgamations to create highly functional client-specific ICT solutions may be a challenge. Outsourcing such activity is also a concern as assets need to be in standardised protocols. In addition, there is a lack of trained resources on account of rapidly changing technologies.

What are your views on the digital transformation of the transportation segment? What are the key upcoming technology and telecom trends in this space?

Digital transformation is key to the success of the transportation industry. There is need for more integrated solutions and common mobility cards. Minimal human interventions will be required in the future.



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