Sunday , 17 February 2019

Network Visualisation in ITS – Information Exchange holds the key to solution of problems!

It is collaboration in ITS Architecture that brings the result. This, however, is quite natural. As collaboration brings in effectiveness efficiency, it produces the result. And it is the result that matters the most.

When we talk about collaboration, it is just not talking over phone. It also means sharing the data, information and facts & figures. In the case of ITS Architecture, any information anywhere must be shared. That brings the efficiency. ITS efficiency faces a large number of challenges. Some of the critical challenges in ITS efficiency are: Design (control room, information end points and information exchange), Information Ubiquity and Collaboration.

An integrated visualization platform for ITS has several critical elements. Primary among them are:

a. Control room(s): Centralized, Distributed and Hierarchical, hybrid control rooms

b. Information End Points: Input Nodes, Output Notes, Control Nodes and Service Nodes

c. Information Exchange: Intra Control Room, Inter Control Rooms, Cross Federation and Mobility

Information exchange could be within the control rooms, within multiple control rooms but even this could be within the cross federation. For example, if there are control rooms for metro railways and control rooms for road traffic, there has to be collaboration between these two federations. All these designs should be scalable and that too through modularity. If we want to add services, set up subsidiary rooms, install Remote Collaboration Rooms and connect other sites across your network, it should be possible.

Another challenge that comes is easy expansion and upgradability. If something turns obsolete, it should be upgraded and there must be scope for that. It should be modelled in such a way that there is no need for redesigning or starting from scratch. For this, the network structure must be IP based and not any proprietory architecture. The solution has to be designed in such a fashion that it could sustain for 15 to 20 years. If any component gets obsolete, it should be possible to replace it without any difficulty.

For easy expansion and upgrade of the system, it should not be expensive to redesign it whenever required. It should be possible to just plug in or swap out devices and to use standard, off the shelf components and devices wherever possible. Further, the network architecture should be based on IP standard. The right ITS solution which could last for years should also be sustainable through the use of modules, be energy efficient, easy to maintain and built to last. AV over IP delivers lower total cost of ownership thanks to its high performance, extensive functionality, incredible scalability and flexibility. There should be one standard cable for all the sources and displays, instead of a mess of different cables and connectors.

Technology trends affecting the ITS Ecosystem

Way back, in the 1960?s and 1970?s, there used to be a centralised mainframe. The software used to be in the mainframe and all work was conducted from one machine.

Then the scenario changed. The era of the Personal Computer (PC) dawned. Computer networks were introduced and software became distributed in both server and client computers. One could work from the user location.

Now we are in the internet age. Everything is networked. Information available in the control room is also available in other places. We can do anything from anywhere because everything is connected. What is important here is that the software is decoupled from the hardware. We can work from anywhere. That is why people are able to do many things that they were not able to do earlier. When we look at the wide spectrum of the collaboration, we find that it can start anywhere: it could be the classroom, it could be the premises of corporates or it could be a college campus. Wireless technology is available today.

With digital signage in vehicles, we find that information can be shared among passengers while they are travelling. Contents can be distributed and the mobile phones can play a vital role in it. Digital signage can be customised. Any information can be viewed anywhere.

Digital signage challenges for ITS are guaranteed system uptime, security and serviceability, use of personalised, interactive messaging to engage viewers, increased dwell time and improved targeting and measurement.

For the next generation of ITS, the design phase needs to include not just the control rooms but also the information end points and exchange of information. Practically speaking, information ubiquity is the key: any source, anywhere. Collaboration will allow faster resolution by sending problems to experts instead of the other way ? waiting for resolution to happen.

Collaborative networked visualisation is the platform which has the solution.

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