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Avaya and ObjectTel Introduce New Railway Communications Network

October 15, 2007

Avaya (News - Alert) and ObjectTel announced today they are assisting BNSF Railway Company in seamlessly communicating with nearly 1,200 radios utilized by train and trackside maintenance workers as part of BNSF’s rail network. The network covers a total of 28 states and two Canadian provinces.
“Communicating with workers on trains and at trackside is critical to safety,” said BNSF director of communications John Hicks. “We needed a new centralized solution that could help us immediately and reliably communicate, whether one-to-one or with teams of individuals all at once.”

Formed via a merger of the Burlington Northern and Santa Fe railroads, BNSF runs one of the most expansive North American rail networks. When they merged, both companies had their own dedicated network for keeping in touch with the crews who serviced the trains and tracks. But proprietary technology meant that the systems would be unable to interoperate.
Radio calls now travel over what is perhaps the largest IP-based converged voice, data and radio network anywhere in the world. The result is expanded functionality, improved response times and reduced costs.

A new, highly scalable, interoperable, mission-critical, CLASSONE Dispatch radio-to-telephone solution now joins radio traffic with voice and data traffic on a single, high-reliability network infrastructure that can be easily scaled to meet the future needs of BNSF.

With radio calls treated the same as ordinary phone calls, any phone on the network can dial any radio, and vice versa. Dispatchers responsible for coordinating field maintenance operations and moving trains now have new capabilities for working more effectively and efficiently.

To ensure continuity of operations in the event of a disaster, dispatchers and other personnel can dial into BNSF’s converged network from any phone, at any location to communicate securely with trains and track-side workers alike. In the event of an outage, calls roll seamlessly to disaster recovery sites or backup servers so critical calls won’t be dropped.

Brian Solomon is a Web Editor for TMCnet, covering news in the IP communications, call center and customer relationship management industries. To see more of his articles, please visit Brian Solomon’s columnist page
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