Teams based at S-Bahn’s ‘4S’ operational headquarters are now — via the latest developments in Synectics’ Synergy hybrid cloud software platform — able to connect, respond, and collaborate with passengers and staff on- board trains, at stations, and with field personnel working anywhere across the network.

The new capabilities, including an innovative mobile application, mark a revolutionary step forward in operational command, control, and communications within urban rail environments.

The project is the result of an innovative partnership between S-Bahn Berlin GmbH (a subsidiary of Deutsche Bahn) and command and control solutions expert Synectics.

The two companies combined ambition has led to the development of a tailored system that delivers a positive customer experience both now and well into the upcoming decade.

Leveraging powerful tools to form custom API gateways, Synergy integrates to and interoperates with S-Bahn’s proprietary systems and all third-party technologies, devices, and communication solutions vital to passenger service, safety, and security. This is achieved in real-time and continuously informed by sensor data obtained from integrated systems crucial to operating safe and efficient passenger services.

The new Synergy mobile application will enable S-Bahn’s workforce to receive automated task assignments based on their role, skills, and location and to directly update the system on their delivery of those tasks — the sophisticated level of integration and interoperability achieved is unprecedented.

Henning Oelze, Project Manager, S-Bahn, commented: “Synergy’s powerful integrations, intelligent digitisation of workflows, workforce management capabilities, and computer-aided dispatch functionality combine to deliver a hugely exciting outcome. The platform offers complete visibility of network-wide activity and the ability to coordinate and automate the right response to any requirement at the right time.

“It was with huge pleasure that we saw our first trains and Security and Service teams utilising the new Synergy system, especially given how challenging this last year has been. It really is a revolutionary step forward in our mission to deliver outstanding passenger service while at the same time making life much easier for our personnel through the advanced automation of operational processes.”

From fulfilling a planned maintenance task to sending people with the most appropriate training to deal with an evolving security or safety issue, Synergy will facilitate the rapid communication, deployment, and appropriate action of different teams. This will equip S-Bahn Berlin to process and react to events within pre-defined response times and to manage its workforce as effectively as possible.

The project is scheduled to continue during 2021, with the two organisations building additional technical capabilities and driving ahead with continuous improvement. Key enhancements will see extensions to the workforce management functionality and more developments to improve operational efficiency within incident and task management assignments.

Greg Alcorn, Director, Global Sales & Customer Success at Synectics, said: “S-Bahn Berlin is viewed as a technological trailblazer and we’ve thoroughly enjoyed working with such a well-organised team to deliver the first step in their truly inspirational vision for urban transport. Some of the software developments driven by this project will have long-term implications for the sector. I do not doubt that new standards are being set here for smart transport systems of the future.”

In addition to the ground-breaking technology used, the project also demonstrates the advances that can be achieved through international collaboration.

Henning Oelze added: “Having such direct access to Synectics’ product development team in the UK and knowing that they understood how agile we needed this solution to be, has made a huge difference. They shared our vision for the future of smart transport operations in a major European capital and worked in close partnership with the S-Bahn team, successfully navigating their way through the technical, logistical and cultural challenges of a major international project.

“The close nature of this collaboration is the reason we have reached this crucial go-live milestone, despite all the hurdles that 2020 put in our way.”