Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

H2020

NET4TRAIN Report Summary

Project ID: 710902

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - NET4TRAIN (Revamping trains with the most advanced broadband communication system)

Reporting period: 2015-12-01 to 2016-04-30

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

In 2015 there were 325,806 passenger coaches worldwide and more than 81,956 Multiple passenger train Units (MU). Users of these coaches/units are increasingly demanding advanced travel information (location, train connections, time to destina¬tion), comfort (temperature, air quality, humidity) and infotainment (High-Quality (HQ) video and audio on demand), which is driving train operators and rail asset owners (subject to Quality of Service Agreements) to improve the quality of their services through the adoption of advanced Passenger Information Systems (PIS). However, these systems require broadband networking solutions that provide the necessary bandwidth and reliability, and current coaches do not have the necessary networking infrastructure for this. Hence, in order to meet the demands from customers, current trains require expensive “revamping” to include an adequate communication network. This situation presents indeed an opportunity for any technology capable of setting up a reliable networking infrastructure without requiring costly rewiring of aged trains. NET4TRAIN is the answer to those needs.

Following almost two years of research and development, prototyping on testing o NET4TRAIN technology, we reached a stage where it was absolutely essential to perform a technical, commercial and economic Feasibility Study of the project in order to analyze the possibility of industrially developing and commercializing NET4TRAIN. Having presented the Phase 1 of our project in December 2015 to the first SME Instrument programme, and having received the approval of this, we then performed a Feasibility Study between December 2015 and April 2016. This was led by our director Mr. Giuseppe Chili and was focused on a technical feasibility study, a business plan and a freedom to operate analysis.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

The Feasibility Study was focused on the following areas, summarized below, together with the main results achieved:
- Techno-economic analysis, where we have verified the applications of NET4TRAIN. The results obtained shows that the PLC technology used in NET4TRAIN can reduce the cost of the upgrade of the train communication network by 30%, compared to existing technologies.
- Market analysis. Through an exhaustive market analysis we have assessed the volume and potential of our target markets, our competitors and defined our market position and barriers. Based on this information, we have defined a commercial strategy, where we expect to become a preferred-supplier of any of the major European rail systems integrators, i.e. Alstom or Siemens. Furthermore, we concluded that the uniqueness of our solution (we are the first company installed PLC devices on-board of trains) together with our vast experience with this technology, represents a very favorable scenario for the deployment of our technology, improving the comfort of the passengers using the railways. Moreover, the update of NET4TRAIN´s financial forecast demonstrated the economic feasibility of the prototype, with precisely calculated production costs and sell prices (e.g. €2,700 NET4TRAIN unit) as well as sales projections (e.g. 4,500 units/year by 2023). As a result, we have prepared a commercial and dissemination strategy based on reinforcing our presence in the European market. For this reason, we will launch NET4TRAIN at InnoTrans 2018, the largest rail fair in the world celebrated biannually in Berlin. We will also focus our commercial effort lobbying major European rail companies.
- Patent research. We have conducted an in-depth analysis of the existing patents and research projects in the field of PLC technologies applied to the rail industry and concluded that there are no legal impediments to the commercialization of NET4TRAIN.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

NET4TRAIN will offer train manufacturers and rail system integrators a technically attractive solution (very easy to install, lowest maintenance cost, no need for dismantling, wide bandwidth) for advanced Passenger Information Systems at a 30 % lower cost than any other alternative available in the market. NET4TRAIN will allow rolling stock manufacturers to grow in the rail revamping market and to offer them a more attractive final product to their customers, increasing the overall number of trains sold. Regarding rail operators and passengers, NET4TRAIN will provide better services, key to increase passengers’ satisfaction and the number of people willing to use the railways. It will also offer them potential alternative source of revenues, such as advertisements, video-on-demand and other e-sales. In that sense, NET4TRAIN will be the platform for new and disruptive forms of revenues for the rail administrations around the world. It will also enable our company to grow, both financially, achieving revenues or approx. 12+M€ by 2023, and in personnel, +20% increase in our workforce.

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