IoT 3 mins read

Telematics Solution Keeps Track of Rail Freight

Rail Cargo Austria has been working on a smart solution to track freight cars on a real-time basis.

Baerbel Strothmann-Schmitt Baerbel Strothmann-Schmitt

There is a certain romance attached to trains chugging along the railroad tracks, taking exotic goods to far-flung areas.

But have you ever stopped to think about what’s on those railroad cars? Or who might be waiting for their contents? Rail Cargo Austria has. And it has been working on a smart solution to track freight cars on a real-time basis. I interviewed Martin Zsifkovits, Senior Solution Manager for Innovations at Rail Cargo Austria AG, who will be speaking at Software AG’s Innovation Day in Vienna.

Martin, you are Senior Solution Manager for Innovations at Rail Cargo Austria, the freight transport division of the Austrian Railway (ÖBB). Can you tell us about the project you will present on the Innovation Tour?

Martin Zsivkovits: Certainly! In my role at RCA, one of my current projects is Smart Cargo, which we are implementing in collaboration with A1 Digital. My colleague, Francis Cepero, who is Director of Vertical Market Solutions at A1 Digital, and I discussed this project and our progress to date during the Munich stop on the Innovation Tour.

That sounds exciting! Can you tell us more about Smart Cargo?

Martin Zsivkovits: We face many different challenges in the field of rail freight transport compared to road logistics: little flexibility, many strict legal regulations and the resulting rising costs. So, in response to these challenges, and to achieve greater efficiency in rail freight transport, A1 Digital is equipping approximately 13,000 of Rail Cargo Austria’s freight cars with telematic devices as part of the Smart Cargo project.

These self-powering devices can go for at least six years without receiving electricity. They have sensors that recognize position and movement. With the help of telematics, extensive data can be retrieved, such as the real-time location of a freight car. The rollout of this new equipment should be concluded by 2020. At the same time, we will start evaluating the data to really make freight transport smart.

I imagine that this is an enormous opportunity for linking freight transport in general.

Martin Zsivkovits: That’s right. Advances in connected logistics open up huge opportunities—particularly when it comes to more efficient processes. You can imagine how difficult it is to perfectly coordinate all the different units involved in freight transport. For example, real-time location tracking and automated signals when a certain point on a route has been reached are key to ensuring a smooth transport process. In addition to the location and 3D movement sensors I already mentioned that make it possible to localize the position of a car and recognize agitations, there are also other sensor models that enable measurement of data like car temperature or air humidity. This is important, for instance, when transporting sensitive goods. To maximize smart networks and functionality like real-time tracking and monitoring, you naturally need a high-performance IoT platform in the background. We work with Cumulocity IoT.

Martin, thank you for taking the time to speak with me!

Martin Zsivkovits: Thank you!

Don’t miss hearing Martin Zsivkovits at this year’s Software AG Innovation Tour in Vienna, Austria on 24 September! With presentations on API Management, Data Analytics and Industry 4.0, Software AG and well-known customers are showcasing exciting projects—all with real use case scenarios.