Digitalisation brought to life

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Microsoft’s Global “Internet of Things” Award: The Rhomberg Sersa Rail Group and Swisscom won the award for their “digital construction site”.

For the Rhomberg Sersa Rail Group and Swisscom, the digital construction site is already a reality: In five digitalisation projects, the partners are developing and testing how the industry can in future design rail construction more safely, more economically and more efficiently. This did not go unnoticed: Swisscom won Microsoft’s Global “Internet of Things” Partner Award for its cooperation. The “digital construction site” beat a total of 4,400 nominees worldwide in this category.


The Californian tech concern thus acknowledged the “outstanding success and innovation ability” which Swisscom demonstrated with RSRG in the application of digital technologies. Thomas Winter, Member of the Management Board of Microsoft Switzerland and Head of Partnerships, says: “The Swisscom-Rhomberg Sersa project is setting global benchmarks. There have been very few successful attempts to combine the harsh construction site environment with technologies such as 5G, IoT, cloud and data analytics.”


Hubert Rhomberg, co-owner of the Rhomberg Sersa Rail Group, is delighted with the success: "The award is a wonderful confirmation of our commitment to innovative and digital technologies, especially our approach to transferring our construction know-how to our own hardware and software solutions. Without the appreciative, open and absolutely transparent partnership with Swisscom, we would not have been able to make the digital construction site a reality, nor would we have won this award."


The aim of the collaboration between Swisscom and Rhomberg Sersa was, from the outset, the production and optimisation of a digital image of the actual construction site. This should make it possible to organise the construction process perfectly, even before the arrival of the first excavator. “With this ‘Construction before Construction’, we can rise even better to the challenges facing the industry, such as tight time windows, weekend shifts and dangerous and physically tough work,” Rhomberg declares. 


Digital applications in the working environment are being used and tested in a total of five partial projects. In the Swiss rail network for instance, a prototype test coach is used, fitted with a cloud solution, a mobile phone connection and much more besides. In this way, data is collected and pre-processed by means of AI and machine learning. Christian Schollenberger says: “The cameras on the test coach measure the rail track, while moving, with an accuracy of tenths of a millimetre. This helps detect where maintenance work is needed and can reduce downtime on the world’s busiest rail network.” Incidentally, the test coach even detects loose nuts as it travels along the track at 60 km/h. Other tests relate to machine monitoring, and machine tracking and localisation, to guarantee full utilisation and functionality as well as personal safety.

"Das Projekt von Swisscom und Rhomberg Sersa setzt weltweit Massstäbe. Kaum jemand hat es bisher so gut geschafft, die raue Baustellenumgebung mit Technologien wie 5G, IoT, Cloud und Data Analytics zusammenbringen."
Thomas Winter
Member of the Microsoft Switzerland executive board
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