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Case study: How is this city becoming a 'smart city'?

By Ashton Young, Tue 1 Mar 16
FYI, this story is more than a year old

In a world moving toward Smart Cities and the Internet of Things, networks must evolve rapidly to meet new challenges.

And so it was with the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA), an independent special district that provides sustainable, accessible, community-focused transportation options that are innovative, environmentally responsible, and promote the vitality of the region.

The VTA is responsible for bus, light rail and paratransit operations and also serves as the county’s congestion management agency.

On the 2nd of February, 2016, Allied Telesis – a universally recognised innovator of smart technologies for an information-driven world – announced it was chosen by the VTA to design, deploy and support a unique digital signage solution for its light rail platforms throughout the county.

Prior to VTA’s decision to pursue solutions provided by Allied Telesis, they were using LED signs on their light rail platforms that were only capable of showing the next-arriving train.

What they needed was a robust scalable solution that allowed central management of their network and all content.

The original signs were replaced with 42” ruggedized video monitors. The new digital display devices extend the amount and types of information VTA can share, including real-time arrival information, emergency announcements, informational slides as well as advertisements.

The new Allied Telesis Content Management System (CMS) was implemented in time to be enjoyed by the many fans of Super Bowl 50 and regular riders long after the big game. The 30 real-time information (RTI) signs went into service at separate platforms in mid-December and are serving passengers well today.

“The latest solution that we developed for VTA incorporated products from a variety of leading technology vendors,” says Mark Brûlé, Allied Telesis Chief Application Architect. “The CMS was installed in an Allied Telesis EtherGRID-DC deployment in VTA’s data centre as well as EtherGRID-Mini solutions at each sign to cache content and drive the display.”

Using the full-featured CMS from Allied Telesis, VTA is able to schedule content for display on the signs, manage the network that delivers that content using the Allied Telesis AlliedWare Plus Operating System and Allied Telesis Management Framework (AMF) and get real-time information on the health status of each device in the system. In addition, real-time emergency alerts can quickly be delivered to the necessary signage to react to developing situations.

“A Bay-Area IT networking leader, since the early days of Silicon Valley, we knew that by working with Allied Telesis to run the CMS communications applications on the backbone of its resilient network infrastructure, we would have a winner for VTA, its thousands of regular passengers and the tens of thousands of football fans projected to converge in Santa Clara County for Super Bowl 50,” says Richard Bertalan, Technology Manager at VTA.

Key VTA Digital Signage Solution Hardware:
  • EtherGRID-DC – This EtherGRID configuration is an 8RU rack-mountable solution that provides a fully redundant, resilient and scalable computing platform. Using this solution, Allied Telesis constructed the backbone of a private-Cloud architecture.
  • EtherGRID-Mini – This fanless, ruggedized equipment is tolerant of harsh deployment environments (subject to dirt, heat and vibration). The EtherGRID component extends the cloud out to the edge, and can be configured with a variety of wireless backhaul technologies to connect VTA assets together when needed.
  • AT-IE200-6GP – This Allied Telesis IE200 Series Gigabit industrial Ethernet PoE+ switch is a cost-effective solution that meets the high-reliability requirements demanded by industrial applications. The units can be easily managed through Web GUI, SNMP, Telnet or SSH while the fiber ports extend the connection distance, increasing VTA network elasticity and performance.

Following the successful digital signage project with VTA, Allied Telesis has also implemented a surveillance and sensor integration project, which includes compute resources in the data centre as well as on the platforms - in addition to in-vehicle deployed systems that are fully ruggedised, fanless and shock-resistant EtherGRID-Minis that are deployed in the buses.

Allied Telesis have also integrated data sharing capabilities, including live video feeds between two different jurisdictional entities. The successful outcome of this project has seen Allied Telesis extend their solutions to the surrounding regions.

If you would like to know more about the solutions that Allied Telesis can provide, click here.

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