Wabtec is a leading rail solution provider. Their technology is at the core of a new system being deployed across the United States for improving the safe operation of freight and passenger trains. The system, called the Interoperable Electronic Train Management System (I-ETMS), uses GPS, data from track signals and switches, and train dynamics modelling to predictively determine safe operating parameters. If an unsafe situation is anticipated, the system will warn the train operators and, if necessary, automatically apply brakes. Wabtec has adopted Microsoft Office 365 for their internal communication and collaboration needs. Thousands of people in their current workforce are already enjoying the Office 365 functionality, and newly acquired employees will also gain additional advantages due to less learning curve to use Microsoft solutions.
Our initial interest in the cloud, though, stemmed from our search for a more reliable, scalable email solution and a better disaster recovery setup. We investigated building duplicate datacenters to back up our business-critical systems and found it to be a pricey proposition. Of course, we needed to justify the investment that we’d be making in cloud computing. Fortunately, Microsoft Office 365 was an easy sell, because we avoided a six-figure capital investment and will realize a modest annual savings in the operation of our email environment by moving to Office 365. Along with email and disaster recovery, we’re getting cloud-based communication and collaboration capabilities that will help bridge gaps as teams work across geographical boundaries. A lot of our work involves specific designs tailored for each customer. Since we often manufacture similar components on different continents, it’s critical that our designers, engineers and factory technicians all stay on the same page, despite the miles between them. We’re putting cloud-based project collaboration sites, document storage in Microsoft OneDrive for Business, and desktop sharing through videoconferencing right at their fingertips, all of which will ultimately increase productivity and quality, and help us keep pushing the rail industry forward. For example, viewing prototypes in real time reduces the potential for misunderstanding and churn during product development.
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