10/12/2004 - Echelon Corporation (NASDAQ: ELON), a global leader of intelligent distributed control networks for transportation and many other applications, announced that the Helsinki City Transport (HKL) has begun an extensive upgrade of its metro train system using the LonWorks networking platform. By using this unique and flexible technology, HKL can increase the operating efficiency of its entire train system and expand that system easily and efficiently in the future.
With over 55 million passengers in 2003, the Helsinki City Transport (HKL) Metro is Finland’s largest public transport system. In a recent quality survey of major European transportation systems, Helsinki’s HKL was rated one of the finest systems. HKL is the latest of many public transport systems to choose the LonWorks platform. Others include the Paris Metro, New York City Transit, Los Angeles County MTA, San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit, AMTRAK, German Federal Railroads and Swiss National Railroads.
"In order to retain our very high quality of service and our leading position – in terms of customer satisfaction – in Europe, system upgrades must be done in a timely, cost effective, and unobtrusive manner. Our choice of the LonWorks platform was based on three main factors," says Matti Lahdenranta, Managing Director, Helsinki City Transport. "In choosing a LonWorks based solution, we were able to easily integrate the existing system, do so very cost effectively, and at the same time facilitate future expansion."
Refurbishing information systems is a challenge for train owners, and ease of installation of new communication systems reduces costs significantly. Solutions based on the LonWorks platform are gaining popularity because of their inherent flexibility and modular design. Additionally, the entire communication system can use a single set of wires or even the existing wiring system, thereby saving time and reducing costs during installation. The underlying protocol for the LonWorks platform, the LonTalk® protocol, has been the IEEE's Train Control Networking standard (IEEE-1473-L) since 1999. It is widely mandated and deployed in rail vehicles throughout the United States and other countries, enabling intra-car and inter-car automation and control.
SA ViewCom, a Danish developer of passenger information platforms, was chosen to design and supply a specially modified version of its LonWorks based PILON passenger information system. During the €8 million refurbishment project, each of Helsinki City Transport's trains will be installed with passenger emergency units and driver control panels, which enable the control of automated passenger announcements, display messages based on geographical positions and time using GPS, and provide up-to-the-moment train schedule data.
"The new system is designed to reduce overall costs while increasing the reliability, scalability and security required by modern standards," says Line Matthäi, sales manager at SA ViewCom. "Once the main network is in place, new equipment can be installed without requiring a new set of cables through the train. It is basically plug-and-play, which saves both time and money."
"We are very pleased that Helsinki City Transport chose a LonWorks solution for their metro system," said Mark Ossel, Echelon's vice president of Europe, Middle East and Africa. "The reliability and open standard architecture of LonWorks networking technology will allow for easy expansion in the future and the improved scheduling provided by real-time location information of the trains will be of great benefit to Helsinki City Transport."
About Helsinki City Transport (HKL)
HKL has been a municipally-owned commercial enterprise since the beginning of 1995. The organization is divided into two functions: commissioning services and producing them. HKL Bus Transport, HKL Tram Transport, HKL Metro Transport as well as HKL Track and Real Estate Services are accounted for as separate entities. More information about Helsinki City Transport is available at http://www.hel.fi/HKL/index_e.html
Echelon Corporation (NASDAQ: ELON) is the creator of the LonWorks platform, the world's most widely used standard for connecting everyday devices such as appliances, thermostats, air conditioners, electric meters, and lighting systems to each other and to the Internet. Echelon's hardware and software products enable manufacturers and integrators to create smart devices and systems that lower cost, increase convenience, improve service, and enhance productivity, quality, and safety. Thousands of companies have developed and installed LonWorks products and over 40 million LonWorks based devices have been installed in homes, buildings, factories, trains, utilities and other systems worldwide. Further information regarding Echelon can be found at http://www.echelon.com.
Echelon is a co-organizer with LonMark® International of the LonWorld® Exhibition, the world’s largest event devoted to the networking of everyday devices, to be held October 20-21 in Shanghai, China. More information on the show can be found at http://www.lonworldexpo.com.
Echelon, LonWorks, LonMark, LonWorld and the Echelon logo are trademarks of Echelon Corporation registered in the United States and other countries.
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