With the news that UK telecommunications operator, BT, has recently confirmed plans to withdraw its retail TDM (Time-division multiplexing) services by the end of March 2018, it has become increasingly important for UK road authorities to consider alternative communications options, such as 3G wireless networks, and develop a long term transition plan. As a result, Siemens has launched the first release of its all-new Stratos Outstation. Based on a powerful new outstation platform, the new Stratos Outstation initially provides UTMC (Urban Traffic Management and Control) OTU (Outstation Transmission Unit) functionality for use with Stratos and all existing Siemens UTC applications that support UTMC communications. Ongoing development of the outstation will add many new features, which, in conjunction with the Stratos central system, will include full controller monitoring, inbuilt count and vehicle classification and local, downloadable plan control. Importantly, the outstation firmware is able to be updated from a Siemens Outstation Support Server, so installed units may be easily updated to provide the new Stratos functionality as is becomes available, without necessarily requiring a site visit.
According to Keith Manston, head of product management at Siemens UK, the first phase of the Stratos Outstation development provides UTMC OTU and MOVA (Microprocessor Optimized Vehicle Actuation) functionality in a similar way to that provided by the Gemini 2 UTMC OTU that it replaces. Manston, explained, “Using the latest Arm processor technology, this initial release is part of the ongoing progression towards providing fully-featured Stratos outstation functionality in line with the continued development of the company’s cloud-based strategic traffic management system. Because Stratos outstation functions will be provided by a single outstation platform, it will no longer be necessary to use different platforms for UTMC control or Remote Monitoring applications, providing a cost effective implementation on-street, whilst minimizing the requirement for large spares holdings and simplifying maintenance requirements.”