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Californian transport authority upgrades signage with Allied Telesis CMS

Santa Clara VTA enlists IT networking vendor to launch EtherGRID-based platform

Californian transport authority upgrades signage with Allied Telesis CMS
VTA replaced existing, older LED displays on light rail platforms with 42” ruggedised video monitors.

Networking vendor Allied Telesis has been chosen by Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) to design, deploy and support a digital signage solution for its light rail platforms throughout Santa Clara County.

VTA facilities are widely deployed and require a robust, scalable solution that allows central management of network and content. The 30 real-time information (RTI) signs, powered by Allied Telesis Content Management System (CMS) went into service in mid-December and are now serving passengers in the county.

VTA is responsible for bus, light rail and paratransit operations and also serves as the county’s congestion management agency. In an effort to upgrade the ridership experience and improve communications with its customers, VTA decided to replace existing, older LED displays on light rail platforms (that were capable of only showing the next-arriving train) with 42” ruggedized video monitors. These new digital display devices extend the amount and types of information VTA can share, including real-time arrival information, emergency announcements, informational slides as well as advertisements.

According to Mark Brûlé, Allied Telesis Chief Application Architect, “The latest solution that we developed for VTA incorporated products from a variety of leading technology vendors. The CMS was installed in an Allied Telesis EtherGRID-DC deployment in VTA’s data centre as well as EtherGRID-Mini solutions at each sign to cache content and drive the display.”

Key VTA digital signage solution hardware include:

EtherGRID-DC – This EtherGRID configuration is an 8RU rack-mountable solution that provides a fully redundant, resilient and scalable computing platform. Using this solution, Allied Telesis constructed the backbone of a private-Cloud architecture.

EtherGRID-Mini – This fanless, ruggedized equipment is tolerant of harsh deployment environments (subject to dirt, heat and vibration). The EtherGRID component extends the cloud out to the edge, and can be configured with a variety of wireless backhaul technologies to connect VTA assets together when needed.

AT-IE200-6GP – This Allied Telesis IE200 Series Gigabit industrial Ethernet PoE+ switch is a cost-effective solution that meets the high-reliability requirements demanded by industrial applications. The units can be easily managed through Web GUI, SNMP, Telnet or SSH while the fiber ports extend the connection distance, increasing VTA network elasticity and performance.

Using the CMS from Allied Telesis, VTA is able to schedule content for display on the signs, manage the network that delivers that content using the Allied Telesis AlliedWare Plus Operating System and Allied Telesis Management Framework (AMF) and get real-time information on the health status of each device in the system. In addition, real-time emergency alerts can quickly be delivered to the necessary signage to react to developing situations.

Richard Bertalan, Technology Manager at VTA, added, “A Bay-Area IT networking leader, since the early days of Silicon Valley, we knew that by working with Allied Telesis to run the CMS communications applications on the backbone of its resilient network infrastructure, we would have a winner for VTA, its thousands of regular passengers and the tens of thousands of football fans projected to converge in Santa Clara County for Super Bowl 50.”

Allied Telesis and VTA were recently recognized at the White House by the Obama Administration under its “Smart Cities Initiative” to promote public/private collaborative efforts to improve public safety.

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