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How is Bellrock Technology Innovating Within the Rail Sector?

6 min

Cc: DmitrySteshenko, Pixabay
As Peloton’s Rail North of the Border fast approaches, Quadrant Transport speaks to Bellrock Technology, hosts of the technical seminar “Operational Advantage through Data Analytics: Case Studies in Rapid and Effective Deployment in the Rail Industry” to find out more about their pioneering approach to data technology.

An award-winning company helping organisations become data-driven, Bellrock Technology began their journey in the energy industry helping network operators and generators optimise their performance and operations through data.

Now expanding to a range of sectors including rail, healthcare and manufacturing, Quadrant Transport speaks to Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer, Professor Stephen McArthur, to find out more about the advantages of using data for rail.

Stephen McArthur, CTO and Co-founder of Bellrock Technology

Our mission is to allow businesses to rapidly create high value, effective, business-as-usual data products, systems and solutions.”

Stephen McArthur is responsible for driving the vision around their product. As CTO, he works with the commercial team, development team and customers to develop and deliver their product roadmap, ensuring that Bellrock Technology’s Lumen® product unlocks value for customers on their data journey.

He is also Executive Dean of Engineering at the University of Strathclyde, where his professorship and research team focuses on applying Artificial Intelligence and data science in industrial applications.

Bellrock Technology arose from Stephen’s research journey and his experience of the challenges companies face

Often in his research activities, he and his team would show that there was real value to applying a new AI technique, data analytics, or machine learning to the data available. However, it was then difficult to deploy the outcome operationally. Bellrock Technology has created a product and approach to overcome this, allowing companies to rapidly deploy effective data solutions.

I want to talk to anybody that feels there’s value in their data, but they’re not getting access to it. We know that Bellrock Technology, and our approach, can unlock that for them.”

Bellrock Technology focuses on accelerating the proof of value and delivery of data solutions, creating impact for businesses through extracting insights from the data already available within organisations.

He has worked on data analytics in the energy and electrical power industry for over 25 years. “The energy industry has many parallels to the rail industry.” Stephen McArthur told Quadrant Transport.

He continued: “The rail industry, like the energy industry, is managing a complex system on a second-by-second basis with control room engineers and operational staff that must react effectively to real-time situations. Our work has helped energy companies to move to proactive maintenance, improved diagnostics and effective operational decision support – all of which is needed in the rail industry.

“This means unlocking insights from the data that’s available and using them to inform decision making – allowing problems to be rectified or planned for more efficiently.”

Bellrock Technology is leading the data revolution with Lumen

As digital and data transformation engulfs the transport and rail sector, many challenges need to be addressed.  How do we capture the value of data? How do we utilise the data and insights to drive innovation and automation? Most importantly, we also need to link the data requirements and opportunities to the business process.

These challenges can be overcome by turning domain expertise and knowledge into analytics and using them within the infrastructure providers, asset owners and operating companies to deliver data-enabled solutions for the future of the industry.

Previous projects undertaken by Bellrock Technology have seen companies getting a return on investment in less than two weeks after deployment.

Stephen McArthur told Quadrant Transport: “Some of our clients have had full systems deployed within a week, and some of them had a return on investment within 12 days from the application and analytics we deployed for them. This is because we’ve recognised where the pinch point is in that process.

“The pinch point most companies experience is moving from a proof of concept to a fully deployed analytic solution that can drive business value. The difficult bit is how to turn your analytic innovations into an operational, deployed, secure and robust system.

We’ve created Lumen®, our product that automates that process, meaning you don’t need to have a large software or data engineering team to allow robust enterprise-strength deployment at pace.

“This means you don’t have to think about proof of concept and then a lengthy development process. You can immediately move to a proof of value implementation, and then scale it.”

Improved data technology is key for an improved, innovative rail system

Failures, unplanned maintenance and unnecessary planned maintenance all disrupt the operation and efficiency of the rail network. However, using data to proactively determine the need for maintenance, or to adjust operations to account for problems, allows optimal scheduling of repairs and can improve both passenger and operator experience.

Stephen McArthur continued: “The rail industry is on a journey where they’re trying to move to proactive maintenance and being able to identify, well in advance, when something is going to fail. This can be on the rolling stock, or on the rail infrastructure itself. By doing this you can take corrective action before it becomes a major problem. Our approach allows the investment in sensors and intelligent infrastructure to lead through to meaningful advances in operations.

Getting more data about the utilisation and performance of your rolling stock and your railway network, and linking this to the correct analytics, means that you can optimise repair and maintenance. You can ensure that it’s less disruptive, and you can avoid major failures that can also disrupt the system.

“Also, for the people managing and controlling the rail network on a real-time basis, the more they can understand the operation of their network via data, then the more they can make better decisions in real-time and ensure smooth rail operations and satisfy customer demand.”

Stephen McArthur will be hosting a technical seminar at Rail North of the Border on 3 March 2022

Alongside explaining the wider advantages of improved data usage and analytics for rail applications through Lumen®, Stephen McArthur will explore case studies of the product in action.

Speaking about Rail North of the Border, Stephen rounded up the interview by saying: “I’m interested in talking to anybody that wants to unlock value from their data, including people from the engineering functions or the operational functions, and those in management roles within the different companies.

“I want to explain to them that Bellrock technology is offering a very different approach to thinking about data analytics, and getting value from data.”

“We’re not thinking about it from defining your data architectures and going through a long process of building the technology stack. We’ve created a technology that allows you to progress much more quickly, evaluate the impact of analytics and data insights, and move rapidly to your applications being business as usual.

“I would like to share that with as wide an audience as possible and offer the opportunity for them to come and try it. Because, as I’ve said earlier on, we can do it quickly, efficiently and cost-effectively for these companies.”

Join Bellrock Technology’s Co-founder and CTO, Professor Stephen McArthur at the Radisson BLU, Glasgow on 3 March 2022. Find out more here: https://peloton-events.co.uk/rail-north-of-the-border-conference-and-exhibition-2022/