Siemens using new tablet technology to maintain UK’s traffic control equipment

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Operating from a network of regional depots, more than 300 service operatives and engineers who are responsible for installing and repairing the majority of traffic signal and control equipment across the UK have been equipped with new bespoke tablet devices.

Siemens is the market leader in traffic management systems in the UK, and has several hundred skilled installation and maintenance engineers who have been equipped with the devices, which provide improved communications and real-time access to service information. The tablets enable the completion of tasks and documentation electronically, speeding up efficiency of traffic maintenance processes, while reducing travel, equipment downtime, and ultimately, improving customer service. Matching the increasing adoption of smart technology at home, Siemens’ traffic installers and engineers are now well on their way to a paperless environment at work.

The tablets feature specially-designed electronic processes and applications to help deliver the latest in service updates, as well as the company’s hosted fault and asset management system, InView. The application gives engineers real-time visibility of incidents and is enhanced for use with the tablet as part of preventative maintenance strategies. Allocation, scheduling and real-time update of tasks with flagging of any needed follow-up actions to both Siemens and the local authority is available simultaneously, working together to help minimize disruption. The tablets also have the added benefit of enhancing employee engagement, with internal enterprise social network and Siemens news apps installed to access internal knowledge hubs and technical forums with the rest of the organization.

Siemens’ field services director, Mick Murphy, explained, “There’s also a major emphasis on supporting our Zero Harm culture behind the investment. This technology includes the company’s Safety App, enabling timely and consistent logging of safety events, with the latest risk assessments, technical handbooks and audits, all readily available, with an easy search facility. Plus, without the need for cables, data interrogation with on-street equipment can be done from anywhere on the junction site, improving safety for our staff at busy intersections.”

Siemens engineer Kelvin Shergold commented, “Completing a periodic inspection using the tablet, rather than paper, has been well received by both employees and customers. When we identify a failure during the inspection, a photograph is taken with the tablet, and uploaded to InView, along with the form, saving time and duplication.”

The tablets will also be used by Siemens staff working on the UK Connected Intelligent Transport Environment (UK CITE) project, which will see trials of Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CAVs) on UK roads as early as next year. Siemens will develop, supply and install the roadside units that will communicate with the vehicles and the traffic infrastructure, using combinations of DSRC and LTE technologies to compare their performance. The company’s Stratos hosted traffic management system will also be used as the back office for all communications to and from the vehicles.

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International magazine and the Traffic Technology Today website since he joined the company in May 2014. Prior to this he worked on some of the UK's leading consumer magazine titles including Men's Health and Glamour, beginning his career in journalism in 1997 after graduating with a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).

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