Secure connections

Since joining forces with Panasonic in June 2016, Alan Dick Communications (ADComms) has benefited from access to world-class R&D facilities and significant financial strength, which has enabled it to continue building on its position as a technology integrator for infrastructure owners, operators, and users

Focused specifically on the transportation and telecoms sectors, ADComms specialises in the provision of end-to-end telecoms-based services across a broad range of infrastructure and applications. Boasting significant experience with both RF and fixed line telecoms, the company has a long history of delivering solutions for some of the largest companies and owners of telecommunications infrastructure in the world. Services and solutions offered include modular engineering & design, sourcing supply & logistics, integration & commissioning, site services;ADC 144 b operational support, decommissioning & disposal, RF testing & optimisation and rapid deployment site.

In the rail sector, the company has a successful track record of providing high quality, mission critical communications solutions for Network Rail, which also includes the FTN/GSM-R and FTNx projects. The company has also expanded its capability to link trackside infrastructure to third party networks, which enables rural broadband delivery and the provision of managed infrastructure, technology and network services.

Having demonstrated an ability to provide innovative, engineering solutions, the company is currently wellprepared for the ongoing digital revolution taking place within the UK. This engagement in addressing marked challenges for new technology implementations and the company’s strong collaborative approach to addressing customer challenges across the rail sector attracted Panasonic, which acquired ADComms in June 2016. This partnership has enabled ADComms to retain its independence on both equipment and technology, while also gaining access to Panasonic’s huge R&D capabilities. It also means ADComms can take on larger projects and advance in all areas of operation over the coming years, which will further strengthen its foothold in the evolving rail sector.

Jason Pearce discusses the developments between Panasonic and ADComms since the company was previously featured in Railway Strategies magazine in August 2016: “When both companies joined forces a year ago, it was, and still is, based on a mutual focus on providing more innovative solutions to support digitalisation within the transportation industry. The Panasonic acquisition has allowed ADComms to evolve and transform from a leading technology integration specialist into an end-to-end system house. By acting together, we can stay with the customer throughout their entire buying process and provide a collaborative approach that addresses our customers’ technology challenges.”

He continues: “No single organisation can develop all of the right answers, but combined, Panasonic and ADComms are beginning to help the market to understand how technology can bring about transformational change to the rail industry.”

Becoming part of Panasonic has also enabled ADComms to use the best practices from its rail delivery capability and apply this to other areas across Public National Critical Infrastructure, as Jason notes: “Over the last 12 months we have expanded our 24/7 Security Maintenance operations across a UK national footprint, providing support to rail, underground and public heritage locations to support secure CCTV and access control. “This is a growing area of focus for the business, and we plan to harness the support from Panasonic’s Network Operation Centre to build a dedicated point of contact for our UK infrastructure partners.”

While ADComms has strengthened its capabilities, and made itself a more attractive option to those in the rail industry, it continues to battle against a dated railway system in the UK and the slow response of rail operators to the demands for on-board connectivity across the network. “The UK rail industry continues to grow and faces unparalleled demand from increasing passenger journeys; for example, HS2 gets closer to its first spade in the ground and we have a raft of new rolling stock planned for delivery. However, our industry remains slow to introduce new technologies to support a connected journey, and is challenged by other modes of transport such as autonomous vehicles and low cost airlines. The rail industry needs to engage with trusted technology partners who understand the rail environment and have a capability to deliver innovative technologies at pace and scale across the UK infrastructure,” highlights Jason.

Moving forward, the company remains in demand despite challenges and is currently in the process of completing camera upgrades for Crossrail. “Over the Christmas period we had more than 150 engineers working to deliver new DOO camera systems, and RF connectivity to the Crossrail project. The initial phase of the project is near completion and we will shift to an ongoing support function as we look forward to the next tranche of work on this project,” says Jason. The company is also applying lessons learnt from the delivery of ECTS in the Heathrow Express Tunnel Network in other challenging tunnel environments such as the Severn Rail Tunnels to increase the MNO service options for ESN, the Emergency Services Network.

Looking further ahead, the company has a three-year innovation and product development roadmap to bring true innovation to the UK transport sector and aims to become a true technology partner its customers. “We will also be leveraging the trusted Panasonic brand and its commitment to R&D as well as our strong UK management team to challenge, transform and deliver truly innovative mobility solutions for the UK,” Jason concludes.