Train-alytics—or How Automation Improves the Human Condition

TIBCO CAF Train-alytics
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The jury is in: automation improves the human condition. 

The evidence: my podcast today with Javier de la Cruz, Managing Director at CAF Digital Services. CAF Group is a manufacturer, maintainer and operator of mobility ecosystems, which builds trams, metros, commuter and high-speed trains. A TIBCO analytics user, LeadMind, CAF´s data-driven platform, provides hi-tech solutions to improve the operations and maintenance of those trains. Its clients include public transport giants around the globe: Renfe, SNCF, CPTM, STC in Mexico, Northern, Wales and Borders, Transport for London and Auckland Transport among many others.

But the story about how CAF automates their systems, to me, shows the positive side of automation.

LeadMind uses analytics, the cloud, and embedded IoT sensors to create over 20 analytics applications, or “train-alytics”. It is a combination of advanced analytics in partnership with TIBCO and CAF’s engineering expertise to maximize the benefit for train operations and optimize maintenance.

However, these applications and automation don’t replace jobs, they make jobs better. Or, as Javier said, “My role is to help our people do the right thing at the right time, with the right knowledge.”

Automation and analytics also help make train travel safer. CAF delivers automatic train scanning systems that use computer vision to measure and detect anomalies to make operations safer and less expensive.

LeadMind’s new application based on TIBCO, built during COVID-19, automatically detects how many passengers are in each coach. That knowledge is sent in real-time to the next stop, so you can choose which car you want to get in. I told Javier I want this app here in my city for restaurants and bars!

And, yes, real-time insights help CAF save money. In the past, trains were taken out of service to inspect the traction system, wheels, brakes, and so on. Now, embedded IoT sensors emit 10-15,000 data points every day so LeadMind can continually identify issues without taking trains out of service. 

LeadMind uses computer vision to evaluate wheel wear and manages contracts all over the world. That adds up, in sum total, to “thousands and thousands” of wheels. At $1,100 per wheel, that’s millions of euros in multi-year cost. Reducing maintenance costs by just 10%-20% saves CAF, in aggregate, three to six million euros in several maintenance contracts.

Results of Analytics and Automation: Safety, Cost Savings, and More

Better insights. Safety. Cost savings. Increased public health. These are the results of analytics and automation. Automation enhances the human condition. CAF re-skill their people for higher-level jobs.

Automation is unstoppable. All over the world. Customers are asking for more automation, not less. More intelligent services that help humans do the right thing at the right time with the right knowledge.

Science magazine found that false information spreads six times faster than truthful news. I think that’s why the narrative about job loss and automation spreads so much better than stories like CAF’s. 

LeadMind's new application based on TIBCO, built during COVID-19, automatically detects how many passengers are in each coach. That knowledge is sent in real-time to the next stop, so you can choose which car you want to get in. Click To Tweet

To learn more about how CAF gets the best performance from the fleet with a powerful combination of quality data, engineering expertise, and best in class cloud technology, listen to the podcast where I discuss with Javier. 

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