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London Underground gets its own Internet of Things

Microsoft is saving costs and improving services by 30%.

By Amy-Jo Crowley

The London Underground is looking to make its tube stations more intelligent after rolling out a variety of devices that communicate with each other via the Internet.

Known as the Internet of Things (IoT), the technology is being tested on escalators, lifts and rail tracks to improve customer service for passengers at reduced costs.

The scheme is being implemented by Telent, the Tube’s equipment maintenance contractor, according to The Register, which is piloting Microsoft’s Azure Intelligent Systems services.

Microsoft’s technology is expected to improve customer service levels on tubes by 30% and save 30% on the cost of running the rail support network, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.

Alastair Norman, head of asset conditioning monitoring for Telent in San Francisco this week, said: "The sensors look at the fault as it begins to occur."

The roll out comes as the IoT market is predicted to grow to $8.9 trillion and 212 billion devices globally by 2020 and after Westminster City Council started rolling out its own smart parking scheme.

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Nick Appleyard, head of digital at the Technology Strategy Board, told CBR in March failure to agree a standardised approach for components in this emerging technology sector could result in failure.

"The challenge is to get to the point where you have a marketplace where you can make a new box, which would work in any of the smart homes or smart transports or urban environments because you’ve got standards, which allow you to operate these things…making sure that they can all talk together," he said.


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