Thalys Wi-Fi Keeps Train Passengers Connected by mmcsx


									                                       CSC Supports Groundbreaking
                                       Satellite Mission
                             CU.S. DEPT. OF HOMELAND

                               Passengers onboard Thalys international high-speed trains
                               can now access the Internet.

                               Thalys International operates high-
                               speed passenger trains between Paris,
                               Brussels, Cologne and Amsterdam.
Client:                        The company faces fierce competition
                               from the airlines on these international
Thalys International           routes, which cater to business
                               travelers. Thalys needed to provide a
Challenge:                     premium service to win new market
                               share, and determined that broadband
Provide passengers with
Internet access onboard
                               Internet access on its high-speed trains    Excellence), CSC’s top honor for
high-speed trains.             would fulfill a growing customer            innovation from the Leading Edge
                               demand.                                     Forum.
                               In April, Thalys rolled out the first       Experimenting in 2005
CSC worked with Thalys to      commercial Internet access service
determine requirements,        onboard its international high-speed
select the best providers,                                                 The project is the end result of studies
                               trains, using Wi-Fi and satellite           originally launched in 2005. At the time,
and test and rollout the
Internet access.
                               technologies to cover its four-country      European company 21Net, with the
                               network.                                    support of the European Space
Results:                                                                   Agency, developed a prototype that
                               "It will be one of the services that make   demonstrated both the feasibility of the
Thalys International has       a real difference," says Jean-Michel        proposed initiative and the high level of
launched the first             Dancoisne, managing director of Thalys      public interest in the service. 21Net’s
commercial Internet            International. CSC worked with Thalys       solution combined Wi-Fi inside the train
access service on board
                               to determine requirements, identify the     with a satellite Internet connection
high-speed trains.
                               best technologies and providers, and        capable of adapting to widely
For More Information:          assist with testing and successful          fluctuating transmission conditions,
                               rollout.                                    given the speed of the trains. The
Visit                                                                      positive results of this early experiment        "We quickly established a very close        encouraged Thalys to envision a large-
transportation                 working relationship between CSC and        scale rollout.
 or contact us at              Thalys, and this explains the success of        the project. This climate of trust          In July 2006, Thalys enlisted CSC to
transportation/contact_us.                                                 help finalize the request for proposal
                               enabled us never to evade problems
                               and to work together on finding the         (RFP) that Thalys would be sending
                               solutions," says Dancoisne.                 out. Thalys wanted its Internet system
                                                                           to be set up similar to its concession
                               For their work, CSC employees Cécile        system for other onboard services: The
                               Anglada, Anne-Sophie LeFeubvre,             operator is responsible for technical
                               Patrick Sautin and Gilles Viennois          rollout of the solution and commercial
                               received the 2008 Chairman’s Award          operation in compliance with Thalys’s
                               (formerly Award for Technical               specifications. After drafting the RFP,
                        Thalys asked CSC to provide support          was not the only option to be looked at,
                        for this complex project.                    but it turned out to be the one most
                                                                     suited to our needs," says Dancoisne.
                        "It was a transversal project requiring
                        sophisticated expertise in railways and      Trust, the key to success
                        telecomm, with a strong international
                        dimension and the need for the final
                                                                     The next stage consisted of developing
                        solution to meet very high customer
                                                                     an operating prototype, a crucial phase
                        quality expectations," says Dancoisne.
                                                                     in which everyone demonstrated great
                                                                     determination to overcome obstacles
                        A small, highly responsive team              and bring the project to fruition. The
                                                                     consortium responsible for technical
                        CSC was chosen for its industry              development mobilized a team of up to
                        expertise and its experience in steering     50 people, while the Thalys/CSC team
                        projects involving the introduction of       worked on several projects at the same
                        new technologies. The team set up            time: defining optimal service levels
                        immediately was deliberately kept small      (SLAs), designing the access portal for
                        – three CSC consultants and three            users and obtaining the necessary
                        people from Thalys.                          authorizations from the rail transport
                                                                     regulators in each of the countries
                        "Faced with a project that still had         concerned.
                        numerous areas of uncertainty, our
Recipient of the 2008   idea was to have a small,                    At the end of January 2008, the final
Chairman’s Award for    multidisciplinary and very responsive        adjustments were made to the
Excellence              team," explains Stéphane Berthier,           prototype, paving the way for fully
                        partner in charge of CSC's Transport         installing the system in 26 Thalys
                        and Tourism division in France.              trains. This phase also provided the
                                                                     opportunity to ensure that the customer
                        The team’s first task was to analyze the     support satisfied the level of quality that
                        submitted proposals while fine-tuning        would be required by Thalys’s
                        the economic model of the future             demanding clientele (for example, a
                        service. Reflecting its concern with         hotline, onboard information, and crew
                        customer satisfaction, Thalys wanted to      training).
                        offer free Internet access to its "Comfort
                        1" passengers and give "Comfort 2"
                                                                     With the successful commercial launch
                        passengers the possibility of paying for     of the service in the spring of 2008,
                        access.                                      Internet access is bound to become
                                                                     one of the most popular onboard
                        Finally, in September 2007, Thalys and
                                                                     services at the launch of Thalys’s Paris-
                        CSC selected a consortium bringing
                                                                     Amsterdam and Paris-Cologne high-
                        together Nokia-Siemens, 21Net and
                                                                     speed lines in 2009.
                        Telenet. "The satellite-based solution

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