Microsoft Brings the Internet of Things to the London Underground

Redmond is working with partners to create a monitoring system

By Bogdan Popa on August 21st, 2014 09:26 GMT

Microsoft is one of the companies that are working to improve the Internet of Things world and now, in collaboration with Telent and CGI, it’s trying to bring this concept to the London Underground.

All these companies have been called by local authorities to create a monitoring system that would help perform essential maintenance of the critical rail assets before problems affect the service. Microsoft will install devices and sensors to keep an eye on basically every single mechanical component, with data to be collected and stored using Microsoft Azure Intelligent System Services.

Information will be available for engineers via a dedicated web-based interface, thus helping perform faster maintenance, better service and reduce costs.

A video rolled out by Microsoft and presenting the concept in detail reveals that the sensors that the company is planning to install would collect all kind of data, including operating temperature, vibrations, and humidity. The exact location of the found problem is also displayed, so service teams could repair them in a shorter period of time.

“Many manual monitoring processes can now be streamlined; disconnected systems can be securely integrated and automated. Most importantly, equipment degradation can be spotted in real-time, based on live data - and with new insights from data, London Underground can measure asset performance over time,” Telent Managing Director Steve Pears says.

“When one system can connect thousands of devices and data streams across a rail network serving millions of people, that's the Internet of Things - and it's here right now. That's why we chose Microsoft.”

The London Underground was officially inaugurated in 1863 and is the oldest underground network in the world. It currently has a total of 270 stations and covers no less than 402 kilometers over a total of 11 lines. Official statistics reveal that the London Underground carried no less than 1.23 billion passengers in 2012 and 2013.

Microsoft, on the other hand, is investing aggressively in the Internet of Things concept and is even offering a free custom version of Windows 8.1 to Intel Galileo owners to support them as they try to develop new solutions.

At the same time, the Redmond-based software company is also getting involved in new projects that would help transform simple objects into smart gadgets, with a previous campaign launched earlier this year indicating that Microsoft wants to bring Windows on smaller devices too through the world of Internet of Things.

The London Underground could soon be transformed completely with Microsoft's help
   The London Underground could soon be transformed completely with Microsoft's help
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