News from BWCS


Through the Looking Glass – Swiss Company Cuts the Need for On-Train Repeaters?

Thu 10 Feb 2022

A Swiss technology company says it can make train windows permeable to mobile communications without the need to replace them. Nu Glass, which is a spin-off from the Swiss Federal University of Technology, claims its new portable laser system can transform a train pane in 15 minutes and enable 4G and 5G signals to better connect with on-board devices – thereby eliminating the need for costly on-board repeaters.

A spokesperson for the company confirmed that researchers have recently successfully tested the system on a Swiss train.

Nu glass, says it has effectively produced a mobile version of an established laser treatment that engraves microscopic lines into the metal coating of train windows, thereby enabling wireless signals to pass through. Until now, this had to be done prior to the glass being fitted. However, the Swiss company’s system can carve out a signal opening in 15 minutes on a train window, without the need to remove the pane.

Luc Burnier, the founder and CEO of nu glass believes the procedure will help eliminate the need for on-board repeaters – which can require up to 700 watts of power.

Of course, this is not the first time that companies have focused on train windows as a location for dynamic technological change.

The German branch of ad giant BBDO once trialled a system that would play adverts “directly into weary commuters’ heads” as they leaned up against the glass. The trial, which took place on the Munich - North Rhine-Westphalia line, generated adverts and passenger information if the traveller’s head came into contact with the glass. The drawbacks, of course, included startled passengers suddenly hearing voices in their heads and others banging their foreheads against the glass to retrieve an update on the train’s progress.

Speaking at the time, a BBDO official said, somewhat optimistically, “Passengers got surprised and enjoyed this new form of advertising” adding that they had “highly encouraging first reactions by commuters and our client.” However, there are currently no plans to roll out the talking window service across German trains.

Other companies have trialled train windows and on-board partitions which can display adverts and passenger information and even video content on them. One such pioneer, Vision Systems, offers a dimmable divider with an integrated information display that gives travel information informational or promotional content. This system offers privacy between classes too.

Israeli company Oran Safety Glass (OSG) has gone a step further and is currently trialling what it calls ScreeneX with a bus and rail operator in its domestic market. The system is essentially a digital LCD screen embedded into toughened, double-glazed glass which is usable as a window, an interior glass partition, or glass door. OSG says it is resistant to long-term vibrations, jolts as well as fluctuations in temperature and contact with passengers.

The company believes that train operators could use the glass to display customisable information such as timetable and connection information as the train approaches a station, destination information, as well as news and advertising. It adds that there is also scope to show movies and other entertainment on long-distance journeys (providing the passengers can agree amongst themselves which film to watch).

 

Track-side connectivity and on-board WiFi provision will be the main subjects of this year’s Traincomms Conference.  

Please see the brand new www.Traincomms.com web-site, where you can also sign up for our Free WiFi on Trains News Service.

Or, to discuss speaking and, the one remaining sponsorship opportunity in 2022, please contact Ross.Parsons@BWCS.com

Wireless network suppliers may be interested to know that BWCS’ annual Wireless Networks in Ports Conference will take place later this year. Read what the participants said about this unique, highly focused event examining the battle to install and improve wireless networks in ports here … www.Wireless-Networks-in-Ports.com 

BWCS Consultancy

As many companies start to look forward into 2022, and how they can increase their revenues, remember that BWCS is available for ad hoc consultancy to support your aspirations. Our core competencies including Understanding your markets, Growing your business, and Modelling your business options. Although we are best known for our work in the Transport sector, we also work in the Defence & Security and the Telecommunications Sectors too. Please get in touch to discuss your requirements and if we can help we will, and if we can’t we will tell you so… ChrisBD@BWCS.com

 

 

 

 



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