Saudi Arabia is currently undertaking ground-breaking transformations in the transportation sector and Huawei Technologies aims to place the passengers at the heart of the new transformation by emphasizing safety, comfort and reliability as critical components of railway infrastructure.
At a recent event in Riyadh, Huawei Enterprise revealed its latest railway communication solutions, including its GSM-R, metro solution and long-term-evolution (LTE) based technologies, better known as 4G Alongside highlighting rail solutions that meet the unique challenges of Saudi railway projects, Huawei joined other rail experts in supporting Middle East railway operators to encourage more public transport commuters.
Saudi Arabia is expected to invest $ 45 billion to establish railway networks across the Kingdom. Projects include the likes of the Saudi Landbridge, the North-South Railway Line, the Haramain High Speed Rail, the GCC Rail, the Riyadh Light Railway and Makkah Metro.
The total length of these railway projects is expected to be 7,000 km, establishing a comprehensive rail network for commuters in Saudi Arabia. It is expected that the number of railway passengers will increase to 3.37 million by 2014 using the existing railway system - North-South line — and the Haramain high speed rail.
Rabii Ouadi, head of business development, transportation solutions at Huawei Enterprise, Middle East and North Africa, said: “Within the next 10 years transportation infrastructure in the Middle East and especially Saudi Arabia will dramatically change. According to market studies, the worth of the projects related to railway telecom systems is estimated to run into several hundred million dollars. Huawei looks forward to being more involved in helping shape the future of Saudi rail transport.”
At the conference, Huawei’s railway experts demonstrated how 4G technology is set to dramatically enhance passenger experience on board the train. Another focus was Huawei’s GSM-R solutions, a reliable and secure communication system developed specifically for railways to enable seamless contact between train drivers and control dispatchers on station platforms. Datacom, transmission networks, ICT solutions for metro and urban rail, and intelligent video surveillance solutions were also addressed at the show as critical to the construction and operation of modern railway infrastructure.
Ouadi added: “The future of railway networks in the region will rely heavily on the capability of its 4G technology, as it forms the backbone of all rail communication systems. Huawei is diligently researching and developing more railway features based on LTE technology, with the vision of ultimately merging the entire GCC rail network onto one single communication system infrastructure.”
Train-ground wireless network, based on LTE technology, enhances the passenger’s experience on board a high speed train by allowing for onboard broadband Internet and mobile coverage.
Enabling passengers to video-call home and connect to the office over wifi or cellular networks, passengers can also keep track of their travel itinerary through integrated scheduling and ticketing systems — all accessible by downloading an application on their smart phones.
Railway operators will also have the ability to share information on journey updates, passenger and train status as well as being able to keep a close eye on physical security issues by using the latest CCTV monitoring equipment.
Huawei recently won the Etihad rail project to provide the core network infrastructure with GSM-R, MSN (multi-service networks) and a Masterclock.
The entire railway project is expected to finish in 2013. In early 2012, Huawei successfully deployed the mobile transmission network for the Dubai Metro Green Line. Today, hundreds of thousands of passengers including small retail businesses have access to mobile services in the stations across 18 metro stops on the Green line in total.
As a global player with vast experience in the rail and metro sector, Huawei creates synergies between different technologies, laying the foundation for future railway networks in Asia, Europe and in the Middle East.
To date, Huawei has successfully deployed network communication solutions in China with similar projects under way in Australia, Central Asia Turkey and also South Africa. Rail and Metro transmission data solutions have also been deployed in Europe and North Africa.