Alstom global network gets on track with BT for digital future

New software-defined managed network from UK’s incumbent telco deployed by smart mobility technology provider to optimise connectivity to cloud at manufacturing plants, offices, depots and datacentres

In a move designed to connect its operations at 350 locations in 60 countries, Alstom, one of the world’s leading providers of systems, equipment and services for the mobility sector, has signed a five-year contract with BT to upgrade its global network with the latest cloud-optimised connectivity systems.

The deployment is part of the Alstom in Motion programme, from which the company aims to be the leading global innovative player for sustainable and smart mobility. The strategy has three elements: growth by offering greater value to our customers, innovation in smarter and greener mobility solutions, and efficiency powered by digital.

The company aims to become the “undisputed” leader in services, using its installed base and worldwide presence, and by relying on its technical expertise and gaining market and product leadership in signalling through digitisation of its technology and by being a key player in the development of international standards.

Alstom said it would also expand its position in rolling stock and systems thanks to the geographical expansion of its new product platforms and by enhancing their competitiveness. Services and signalling should represent 40% of the firm’s 2022/23 sales, compared with 35% in 2018/19.

The programme is designed to achieve innovation in smarter and greener mobility solutions. These are said to be encouraged by customers’ and passengers’ expectations, leading to a transformation of the market. In this domain, Alstom has already introduced the first hydrogen train and products such as Hesop, which recover the energy generated by trains in braking mode.

Alstom has set six priority areas: green traction and energy performance; road electromobility; eco-design and manufacturing; autonomous trains; data-driven rail mobility for more connected products and services; and multimodality and flow management. The group will also implement what it called additional levers, in particular the digital transformation of all its value chain, optimising sites and projects.

Working with BT consultants using the Smart Transformation process which aligns the right solutions to business needs, Alstom chose a managed network service based on the VMware SD-WAN delivered by BT over its new digital service platform. These next-generation, cloud-optimised managed network services were launched in November 2020 to expand multinational customers’ choice of software-based connectivity systems.

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The new contract covers Alstom’s manufacturing plants, offices, depots and datacentres excluding operations of the company’s newly acquired Bombardier Transportation. It will provide agile and secure access to company applications and services used by Alstom’s employees, 24,000 of whom have been working remotely during the pandemic.

The service is designed to help Alstom accelerate its “move-to-cloud” strategy. It will improve the company’s visibility of network traffic, allowing it to optimise end-user experience. It also includes a range of fully managed or co-managed options, giving Alstom the flexibility to take control of individual aspects of change management.

“The move will provide secure, scalable and reliable access to applications while reducing cost and improving co-management,” said Nicolas Vurpillot, network and network security director at Alstom. “Following a thorough assessment of available SD-WAN technologies, BT demonstrated willingness and capability to innovate, enhance service levels and partner with Alstom to help us achieve our strategic goals.”

Joris van Oers, managing director, resources, manufacturing and logistics & Europe, global at BT, added: “We have been connecting Alstom’s global operations since 2015 and are delighted to have been chosen again. Alstom will benefit from the very latest VMware SD-WAN service combined with our trusted security, high reliability and a range of management options.

“It is a great example of how our new generation of managed connectivity services give customers choice and flexibility when planning for their digital future.”

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