Cisco brings advanced digital TV broadcasting to Shenzhen Metro

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 02 October, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 02 October, 2007, 12:00am

Shenzhen Metro, an underground rapid transit system that connects with the Lok Ma Chau checkpoint, has become the first high-speed mainland railway line to bring digital television broadcasting to its passenger facilities via a wireless local area network.

That Wi-fi set-up, part of a unified communications infrastructure upgrade for the railway operator's Passenger Information System (PIS), was built and deployed for an undisclosed sum by United States-based Cisco Systems, the world's largest networking equipment maker.

Shenzhen Metro's wireless high-definition video streaming system was more advanced than anything so far available on Hong Kong's railway line, sources said.

Shenzhen Metro executives could not be reached for comment.

Fredy Cheung Sze-wah, Cisco's managing director for southern China and Hong Kong, said the company's pioneering work on Shenzhen Metro's Line One subway supported high-density digital television broadcasting and real-time monitoring of the rail carrier's control centre.

'This not only demonstrates how networking technology enhances people's daily lives, but will also have profound implications for widespread deployment of the technology among metro operators,' Mr Cheung said.

Passengers can watch high-quality digital television programmes on the liquid crystal display monitors in each carriage and receive news, weather reports or emergency evacuation alert messages.

Each passenger cabin is equipped with eight LCD screens. There are 48 such screens on each metro train.

The updated PIS can transmit a high-definition digitally encoded signal in real time, including internet protocol-based television programmes, to moving trains from the central control room.

Each train also has a video monitoring system consisting of IP-based digital cameras that sends encoded images of the passenger situation inside the cabins to the control centre through the Wi-fi network. Through the video display, subway drivers can monitor station platforms and cabins.

'Organisations intuitively understand the value of unified communications and the associated benefits. These include improved employee productivity and customer service, as well as infrastructure cost savings,' said Rob Lopez, the managing director for solutions at information technology services provider Dimension Data.

The first phase of Shenzhen Metro's Line One subway runs 17.55 kilometres through the city from Lo Wu in the east to the 'Window of the World' tourist attraction in the west, according to Shenzhen Metro.