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Swisscom wins Microsoft Global IoT Award for digitalisation of rail construction


The operator beat 4,400 IoT category nominees for its collaborative work on Rhomberg Sersa rail construction sites.

Swisscom won the Global IoT Award in the IoT category at the Microsoft Partner Awards for its work with Rhomberg Sersa Rail Group.

They are collaborating on a project to digitalise railway infrastructure construction sites using Microsoft’s cloud infrastructure and Azure services including machine and deep learning.

The project combines 5G, IoT, AI, cloud and Azure components to generate measurable benefits on construction sites, by increasing employee safety, reducing carbon dioxide and reducing costs.

The Rhomberg Sersa Rail Group and Swisscom project:
• Local 5G networks on construction sites connect all devices and machines that generate data.
• Local cloud on railway carriages “pre-processes” large amounts of data AI and machine learning on the construction site for applications such as personal safety – using image recognition in dangerous situations – construction’s progress and measurements.
• IoT at the edge – AI models analyse construction’s progress, measure the volume of excavated material and the service life of machinery to provide immediate on-site results.
• The solution tracks and knows the location of machines and other items on construction sites in different countries which is vital because maintenance windows are extremely short and the logistics on construction sites need to be carefully planned.
• Using all machine data proactively to breakdowns, bill for them directly or issue alerts.

Hubert Rhomberg, Co-owner of Rhomberg Sersa Rail Group, explains, “By working with Swisscom, we have been able to increase transparency and efficiency to make decisive progress in the digitisation of the construction site, while at the same time increasing our employees’ safety and providing our customers with even better service.”

Global benchmark

Thomas Winter, Member of the Management Board of Microsoft Switzerland and Head of Partnerships at Microsoft Switzerland, said, “The Swisscom-Rhomberg Sersa project is setting global benchmarks. There have been very few previous examples of the harsh construction site environment being successfully combined with technologies such as 5G, IoT, cloud and data analytics.”