As we move into December 2016 and start our strategic planning for next year, we take a pause to look back and review this year. Each year we like to see what innovations we have introduced and how we have helped our clients advance. By listening first and fully understanding the challenges and issues our clients face, we are then able to share our knowledge, experiences, thoughts and ideas with them. Then and only then can we come up with the digital solutions to solve those issues that we all face each and every day, to improve the lives of the end user and of our customers products and/or services alike.
Quite where the year has gone is anybody’s guess, flashing by like a Hitachi Class 395 Javelin on High Speed 1 or the new Eurostar e320 Class 374 Velaro ferrying politicians and lobbyists from London to Brussels and vice versa as they talk, Brexit, Brexit and more Brexit.
We like to spend a few days in December reviewing what worked, what didn’t and how we can and must improve, for anyone who stands still in the technology arena will tell you, do so at your peril. Advancement is our rallying call.
We also like to look externally at our supply chain, customers and clients to see who we learnt the most from, who inspired us. This continual learning is a 2 way thing, we gain as much from you as you can learn from us but the desire to be innovative, bold and pioneering is in us all. It is our motto here at PAULEY.
Our passion this year has been to offer completely bespoke tailored digital solutions to:
- Improve operational efficiency within Train Operating Companies (TOC’s) and Contractors.
- Improving staff competency within railway maintenance depots whilst reducing costs and at the same time improving Health and Safety.
- Drive digital innovation in railway infrastructure and network operation.
With Partnerships, NDA’s and MoU’s all signed, we are finally able to share some of what we’ve been up to this year and where we believe the industry will boldly go in 2017 and beyond.
As the apprentices and graduates streamed through the doors of The National Training Academy for Rail (NTAR) in Northampton, we were overwhelmed at how keen they were to engage with our interactive touch-screen material and virtual reality training suite that we delivered for the Siemens/NSAR JV. It is the first of its kind for the rail industry and quickly established itself as a leading light for young engineers wanting to engage in this hugely exciting industry. Both PAULEY and NTAR were honored to be shortlisted for several high profile awards for our leading edge work in the field of digital immersive engagement.
Winning the highly coveted Gold Award for Innovation in Learning for our work with NTAR at the Learning and Performance Institutes Awards in 2016 was a great start to the year. The Judges commended us on our ability to combine different technologies to make “cutting-edge, engaging and realistic learning”. Whilst we were praised for making “an impressive contribution to the delivery of learning”.
We were delighted to be invited to attend the inaugural Rail Careers Zone at the 10th Middle East Rail Trade Fair in Dubai in March. We felt very proud to be flying the flag for British innovation in rail alongside world respected companies such as railway depot equipment specialists Mechan & global railway infrastructure engineers Network Rail Consulting.
As well as meeting with the Rail Minister, the event provided a rare chance to form informal partnerships with Middle East-based companies outside of rail. With our exhibition stand located directly opposite Dubai Police both Philip and Andrew were on best behaviour! The Gala Dinner at the base of the stunning Burj Khalifa was simply breath-taking (take note Railtex 2017 in May at Birmingham!).
We launched our new Virtual & Augmented Reality Apps & Resources portal. Known as VR/AR, anyone interested in this rapidly growing field can find out more about 360 videos, downloadable apps, games and browse immersive hardware currently on offer and in the pipeline.
In an exciting development in April, we were approached by mobile learning platform Samsung SDS Europe Edutto to become their first approved content provider for the Samsung Gear VR headset. It is worth noting that the augmented, virtual and mixed reality marketplace growth is set to reach a staggering $150 billion by 2020.
Military might called in the form of ITEC Defence Show at Excel London. Europe’s largest forum for training, education and simulation in the defense industry saw us demonstrating our immersive technology and dynamic training tools to Naval, Air & Land Forces.
We successfully completed our Squared Online digital marketing leadership qualification, the only marketing accreditation to be approved by Google. We are now in a commanding position to increase UK Rail companies online presence globally by improving how Google rates their website. If you’re interesting in knowing where our website now scores against other rail industry members please click here.
Before the course our web grader score was 64, just 48 hrs later our score was 100!
PAULEY were delighted to assist NTAR in securing a 3-5yr contract with Transport for London (TfL). Our work will deliver a new immersive and supportive training facility through dynamic course material and synthetic environments for TfL employees. We were also invited to join NTAR to showcase our digital technology to high profile visitors including Juergen Maier, Chief Executive Siemens Plc and Sir Nicholas Soames MP who branded the facilities “extraordinary”.
Alongside this, the Plotr Transport Careers World launched and we were proud to be a partner in this enterprise, especially as it’s a great opportunity for us to help promote careers and apprenticeships to young people across the UK helping to solve the looming problem of the digital railway skills gap.
We saw the fruits of all our “globetrotting” endevours with PAULEY winning contracts and delivering workshops for some very high profile clients. We continue to be amazed and appreciative of the amount of access and real interest the rail industry has shown in implementing Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality into their processes to drive efficiency and reduce cost whilst increasing health and safety in the railway through immersive digital training.
Innovative organizations have included but are not limited to DfT, TfL, LU, NCHSR, HS2, TOC’s, FOC’s, ROSCO’s, Manufacturer, Contractors, Designers and Architects; from in-house training and maintenance to infrastructure and operations teams, all starting to see the huge benefits of visualising data and processes.
Rather than being a slow month it saw us included in a number of franchise bid opportunities, one in a supplier support position and another example as a partner of the owning group. August also heralded our move into infrastructure and being challenged by tier 1 contractors and a Network Rail RAM team which we have to keep quiet about for now!
We had our first contact with US Naval War College, Royal Marine Commando’s and 3 UK Defence Schools to deliver immersive Tri-Service course material and research. We were also delighted to be accepted as a member of the Defence Industries European Training and Simulation Association (ETSA).
On a personal note, we wish to say a huge congratulations to Holly, our Communications Manager who not only embarked on maternity leave for the first time, but who has just secured a book deal for 2 novels. We miss your blogs and insight Holly! Hope you and baby are well and are a proud wearer of your baby on board badge we requested from TfL for you!
There is only one place to be in the rail industry, so Berlin bound we headed off to Innotrans. We were invited to showcase our BIM VR work for the National College for High Speed Rail (NCHSR) on the Rail Alliance stand within the RIA hosted UK pavilion (special thanks to Colin, Lucy and the team for their support). Further afield and 48hrs later our technology supported the future transport demonstration zone of our partners at World Skills Malaysia.
Our efforts almost a year on in helping deliver the NTAR vision were recognised with the Award of Outstanding Training Delivery within the Ofstead inspection. This offered Siemens as a client their very first Outstanding Award in training provision. Furthermore NTAR/PAULEY were delighted to be shortlisted for a Learning Technologies Award 2016 in the “Best use of simulation or virtual environments for learning” category.
We were invited by Samsung SDS Europe to present our rail specific virtual and augmented reality software to the Dft Innovation Board at Virgin Trains East Coast. One of our key goals for next year will be to help develop how innovation and immersive technology can be best practice within the DfT bidding framework if considered beneficial.
We continued to build upon our partnership profile by collaborating with a major UK Defense and Cyber Security Plc. We look forward to collaborating on a number of exciting projects in the new year – please stay tuned!
We have been delighted to be introduced to the delivery contractor for NCHSR – and to be invited to play our part in the team at the World Skills Show alongside NCHSR and HS2 to demonstrate how BIM can be incorporated into a Virtual Reality. We also offered a VR tour of the stunning new facilities, which proved very popular indeed with the young attendees.
We were invited to present at the Rail Freight Group AGM and have expanded our horizons into the ROSCO and freight part of our world. As NTAR continue to grow from strength to strength they’ve now been shortlisted for the Rail Most Interesting Awards and a UK RIA 2017 Award for their digital innovation. Fingers crossed to their team.
We are very proud to have been able to support the Young Rail Professionals (YRP) with the provision and launch of their new website and look forward to a greater involvement in 2017 – taking their grader score from 34 to 87 in a very short period of time. We delivered another first for the chair when we met her and she entered the Augmented Reality world through our Rail Skills HoloLens Experience and tweeted about the experience.
As we catch our breath and prepare the plan for 2017 we would like to wish all our existing customers, supply chain partners, our new friends that we met this year a very Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year!!
If you are looking to increase safety, drive down cost whilst increasing efficiency in 2017 we may have a digital solution for you, your staff & most importantly, your customers.