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Customer Story

IT/OT Integration Yield's Better Operational Control for Public Transportation

  • Challenge

    Data from thirty disparate operational control systems made it difficult to monitor and operate this world-renowned destination city’s rail system.

  • Objective

    Integrate multiple rail lines and several hundred thousand IoT data points to create end-to-end monitoring and control for flawless operation.

  • Solution

    Hitachi designed, developed and implemented a monitoring and control solution that integrated multiple systems and provides context and rapid insight.

  • Outcome

    Streamlined operations speeds time-to-market and lowers costs by introducing the client-centric services needed to elevate the client experience.



Urban Rail and Transport Organization for a Large City

This company is an urban light rail and transportation organization for a large city. The economy of the city ranks within the economic size of the world’s top one hundred countries. The city is a hub for commerce and trade, but it is entertainment and gambling that make it a destination city for tourists. The rail and transportation service is a remarkable showcase of modern technology that reflects image of forward thinking and advanced society that is a source of pride for city leaders


This Asia/Pacific city’s Light Rapid Transit (LRT) rail system is the first impression for the millions of visitors that this destination city hosts every month. Flawless precision and orderly operation of the public transportation system is one of the first experiences that will form a tourist’s impression of their visit – not to mention representing a source of pride for the city’s million or so residents. The investment the city made in the rail system made it a gleaming example of modern life for the world’s elite. But as the city grew and the rail system continually upgraded to become one of the world’s finest, it became harder and harder to monitor and control operations.

The entre environment was complex, with over thirty different subsystems contributing to several hundred thousand data points that needed to be analyzed and contextualized for ongoing daily operations. Automation and Artificial Intelligence help promise, but the challenge was how to integrate the new solution into such an already complex environment? And, even more importantly, how to ensure that the operations staff had greater insight and control as the environment became even more automated.

A big concern for the executives of the rail system was that they were already recognized as one of the most technically advanced rail systems in the world. Where would they find a technology partner that had the experience and technical capability to avoid making this a complex, one-off science experiment that risked overrunning budgets and deadlines?

Hitachi Digital Services partnered with the primary contractor for the project, a rail car equipment provider. We were asked how we could help address the complex environment and provide the operational staff with a way to see and know more about operations and give them the insight and guidance to act quickly to leverage the new rail system that utilized AI, video, equipment and track sensors and advanced automation.

Phuc My Le, Consulting Services and Practice Lead at Hitachi Digital Services explains: “The client was looking for more than just promises. There was a lot a stake to make sure this was done right. In the client’s mind, they needed an organization that had the technical competency and the experience for this relatively new and fast changing approach to automating mass transit. The client put a lot of emphasis on working with someone that has a strong local presence and new their environment well and inside and out. To them, it’s what gave them confidence that the outcomes they needed would be realized in the end.”




Hitachi Digital Services had worked with the client in the past and leveraged a strong background of knowledge about the client’s systems and operations. The solution that was designed and developed for the client stood on the shoulders of many advanced monitoring and operational control systems done in the past. Hitachi leveraged industry leading capabilities and experience in AI and rail system automation to create an end-to-end solution that integrated thirty sub-systems into a consolidated view for operators. This solution has become known as the Railway Operations Command Center (ROCC) system.

The design principle of this solution was to provide the operator with the right information at the right moment. “This sounds simplistic, and although the result may look effortless, you have to remember how much information is being generated by all of those various subsystems” said Luc Hiep Tran, Head of IT Consulting and Solution Delivery Management for the project. “Traditionally we would have operators looking at the information coming in on separate screens. They would have little context for how their piece affected the entire system and would be forced to escalate to coordinators if they detected any anomalies and sensor readings that are out of range. Then a team would have to determine what the implication of the data meant for the operations, and then finally what action to take. This might have worked fine decades ago, but in the modern age, everything is automated. There’s just no way to operate at the level that is expected today by relying on teams of people. And you certainly can’t simplify it all to create a single view by dumbing it all down.”

The solution developed by Hitachi Digital Services integrated the OT sensor data and IT system  information from all of the operational systems and leveraged advanced AI to provide the insight that operators need for flawless operations. Operators have a total and complete view to monitor operations under normal circumstances. But when an issue arises, the system provides operators with a view of the issue and the tools and guidance to take immediate action – often before the issue becomes the reason for a rail delay or outage.

Some of the details of the solution included integrating 30 systems to collect and visualize data, support troubleshoot incidents, automate daily operations and emergency response. Hitachi provisioned an all-in-one workstation to assist rail operators in supervising and interacting with the necessary equipment at the right time across all LRT lines. We enabled operators to manage the daily operations of LRT, supervise the operation of all stations, depots. And as a result of the integration with our partner’s rail equipment, operators can now monitor the status of the thirty systems that make up the whole railway line to coordinate across systems to resolve incident quickly. This could not have been achieved by monitoring and controlling each single system separately.

One of the key differences that marked Hitachi’s success in this case was the effort and commitment that went beyond the solution. We recognize that no matter how technologically advanced and elegant a solution is in theory, the reality is often marked by how the well the solution is integrated into the existing environment and the knowledge transfer that must take place for the operators that use the system.

Phuc My Le of Hitachi Digital Solutions: “The implementation and deployment were important aspects of this solution for us along with the commissioning of the new monitoring and control system and the training and handover process. Our client was relying on us to achieve results, not simply deploy a solution. They needed to see quick results on a portion of their rail system before extending this approach throughout.”

Our history of working together with Hitachi gave us great confidence in their ability to deliver what we needed. However, they exceeded our expectations with the sophistication of the solution. Which was even more surprising when you consider that everything was done one time and on budget.



- Senior Rail System Executive, ,


Phuc My Le continued: “We were proud of a lot of things on this multi-million-dollar project, but the top three things that our client was most impressed by were flawless execution by the Hitachi Digital Services Team, completion on or ahead of schedule for the various project phases, and a competitive price. To that last point, our client did receive lower bids, but they believed that received far mor value from Hitachi than they would have from any other services provider. Another point that stood out to them was how much we lived up to our reputation as the market leader in IT/OT integration. Perhaps this is why our client has continued to choose Hitachi Digital Services as their strategic partner in so many additional service engagements.

The change in how the rail system now operates is significant. It’s hard to exaggerate the impact the new system has had on monitoring and operations. This solution now provides more information on what the operators need to see, and it does it faster. All while reducing unrelated information that can slow or confuse decision making. The monitoring and control is now centralized in a single view so that everything is all in one place and it makes it much easier for operators to see what’s going on.”

“A less anticipated, but no less significant outcome, has been the flexibility of the system to accommodate change” added Luc Hiep Tran of Hitachi Digital Services. Organizations often focus on solving a particular problem or attaining a more advanced way of improving something that exists today. They don’t always consider how flexibility a solution needs to have to maintain that advantage as requirements or systems change. In this case, our solution has delivered a proven advantage as an agile solution that accelerates change.”

The ultimate test of our solution is not what it looks like in the operations center, but how it looks to the world’s tourists that use the rail system. And what the world sees, thanks to Hitachi Digital Services and our partner, is a flawless modern and reliable transportation system that represents the city’s ideals.