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Shenzhen Opens 5G-Empowered, Cloud-Based Metro Lines

By Chen Huijuan, Senior Marketing Manager of the Global Transportation Business Unit of Huawei's Enterprise Business Group; Li Qiwei, Marketing Manager of Huawei's Enterprise Business Marketing Dept.

Shenzhen Metro's Lines 6 and 10 are the first lines in China to deploy Huawei's urban rail cloud solution. As the basis of smart subway construction, the solution showcases a new construction approach for the urban rail transit industry.

When Shenzhen Metro Lines 6 and 10 opened on August 18, 2020, they became both the first lines in Shenzhen with full 5G coverage and the first in China to use Huawei's urban rail cloud solution. The metro lines are also the first in China's urban rail transit industry to apply computing and big data technologies to carry several key subway service systems.

With a length of about 49 km and a total of 27 stations, Line 6 links the Science Museum Station to Songgang Station, running through Futian, Luohu, Longhua, Guangming, and Bao'an districts. As well as making travel more convenient for people living in neighborhoods along the line, it will also be integral to the development of Guangming District and Longhua District, as well as boosting economic integration throughout the city.

Meanwhile, spanning about 29 km and with 24 stations, Line 10 connects Futian Checkpoint to Shuangyong Street — traversing Shenzhen's central areas, including Futian, Meilin Checkpoint, and Banxuegang Science and Technology Park. Line 10 is the first north-south metro line in Shenzhen that accommodates eight-car trains, so it already has a key role, as both a trunk and a local line. When riding Line 10, it takes just 45 minutes to travel from Futian Checkpoint to Pinghu, substantially reducing congestion on the roads. With the line up and running, areas such as Pinghu, Banxuegang, Huawei's Bantian campus, and areas east of Meilin Checkpoint are finally incorporated into Shenzhen's huge metro network, after being excluded from it for years.

New Line Connects Shenzhen's North and South

For Shenzhen's many commuters, the huge traffic jams at Meilin Checkpoint were a source of great frustration — day in day out — for more than a decade. With Line 10 in operation, that frustration is now over.

Line 10 was designed to connect the northern and southern parts of Shenzhen and alleviate congestion at the metro lines that predate it. As well as expanding the subway capacity, Shenzhen Metro also aimed to optimize and innovate in areas such as security performance and operational efficiency.

To achieve these aims, Shenzhen Metro adopted Huawei's industry-leading urban rail cloud solution — building a unified, open, and intelligent urban rail digital platform and applying key technologies such as cloud computing, big data, 5G, and AI. This platform provides comprehensive support for the operations and management of urban rail transit.

Smart Urban Rail Construction: Creating the Urban Rail Cloud

Because China has rapidly urbanized in recent years, many Chinese cities have begun constructing new — or developing existing — urban rail transit systems to make commuting and other short distance travel more convenient. In many cities, the opening of new metro lines drastically increases the difficulty of metro network operations and management, and creates huge challenges for existing Information Communications Technology (ICT) infrastructure.

In urban rail network operations, the service processes and operation rules of all metro lines require unified management, and the service management needs to be standardized — to improve the operational, production and management efficiency and reduce operational costs. Service application deployment must be unified, and all data must be centrally managed. In these circumstances, it's inevitable that the urban rail transit industry will use emerging technologies to implement cloud-based digital transformation, so an urban rail cloud solution is integral.

The urban rail cloud is the basis for smart metro construction. It brings innovations and improvements — breaking information silos, optimizing existing system architecture, and carrying smart metro services.

Urban rail cloud: Unified bearing, unified architecture and unified platform

Future-Oriented Architecture of Huawei's Urban Rail Cloud

Shenzhen Metro Line 6 and 10's use of the urban rail cloud solution is the first application of cloud computing and big data technologies to carry metro service systems in China. This solution replaces the siloed vertical architecture used in the traditional metro systems, and implements unified planning and construction, on-demand allocation and use, and effective sharing of ICT infrastructure resources — laying a solid foundation for Shenzhen Metro to deploy more smart applications and facilitating the intelligent, digital upgrade of subway systems in the future.

By building an integrated, cloud-based service platform that supports the Integrated Supervisory Control System (ISCS); the backup Automatic Train Supervision System (ATS); the Passenger Information System (PIS); the security protection system (including video surveillance and access control), the intelligent depot system; and the Office Automation (OA) system, Shenzhen Metro has greatly reduced the need to repeatedly invest in different systems; it's also achieved full integration and fast deployment of various service systems. As a result, Operations and Maintenance (O&M) is simplified and more efficient.

The urban rail cloud solution also improves the security of the entire platform by 80% and increases the IT resource usage by more than 50%. The platform centrally provisions resources to improve operational and management efficiency. Meanwhile, replication technology is used to deploy real-time server services for 20 stations within 30 minutes.

Lines 6 and 10 use the modular equipment room solution, which has significant tangible benefits: the equipment room area of a single station is reduced by roughly 50%, the electricity bill is slashed by about 2 million RMB (about US$306,000) per year, the cabinet space is reduced by about 10%, and the data center's Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) is reduced to 1.5.

Lines 6 and 10 are the first lines in China to adopt cloud-computing technology to construct multiple service systems. The lines provide a good example to follow for the urban rail transit industry in terms of building new cloud architectures as they seek to ensure reliable transportation, efficient operations, and unified O&M.

Smart Metro: One-Click Global Visibility and Unified and Associated Operations

Empowered by cloud computing and big data technologies, Lines 6 and 10 optimize service application systems and integrate various operations and production information resources. Meanwhile, effective integration of subsystems and collaboration between service departments enable information-based management of the entire operation and production process as well as remote, centralized control of operations — breaking down both information and automation silos.

Based on the urban rail cloud platform and applying the capabilities of Huawei's FusionInsight distributed big data platform, Shenzhen Metro has developed a big data analysis platform that supports line-level data analysis of equipment health, energy consumption management, passenger flow statistics, line monitoring, emergency decision-making, and image-based fire detection. Huawei also works with ecosystem partners to provide basic platform support for Shenzhen Metro's intelligent applications, such as intelligent linkage and big data analytics.

The urban rail cloud and the big data platform integrate heterogeneous data resources of Lines 6 and 10, activating the data assets of the lines. As well as using a unified monitoring 'map' to sense and display all kinds of data about the metro system, the solution also provides 'one-click global visibility' — meaning that the metro operator can access all running status information with a simple click of the mouse — and an integrated linking of operations.

5G Enables Enhanced Passenger Experiences

With 4G networks, subway passengers are often plagued by very poor online experiences because there are so many users and the network capacity is insufficient to handle the traffic. Sometimes, the network is so congested that you can't even send a text message. The 5G network will eliminate such problems, because it has much higher bandwidth and network capacity than 4G, and it supports smooth and stable access for smart terminals.

Passengers can enjoy smooth and stable connections to the 5G network on their 5G smartphones in the station halls, platforms as well as in the trains, despite the crowds.

Shenzhen Metro, Huawei, and the three major Chinese carriers (China Telecom, China Unicom, and China Mobile) worked together, taking only ten weeks to complete equipment installation and commissioning at the platforms, station halls, and tunnel sites of Lines 6 and 10 — achieving full 5G coverage. The engineering staff could only work on installation and commissioning after the halt of subway operations at night, so this was a truly impressive feat.

Because of the sustained efforts of our 5G construction engineers, passengers can now conveniently enjoy the benefits of 5G while on the metro. As 5G technology develops, those passengers will be able to enjoy more benefits brought by ubiquitous 5G.

5G+ Urban Rail Cloud Accelerates Smart Metro Development

5G brings optimal network experiences for passengers, and with unique features — such as ultra-high bandwidth and ultra-low latency — facilitates metro construction, operations, and management.

When building metro systems, the high bandwidth of 5G networks can support the visualized management of engineering construction. In metro operations, the high-bandwidth and low-latency of Huawei's AirFlash 5G train-to-ground data dump solution can be used to automatically upload vehicle-mounted CCTV videos and monitoring data to the urban rail cloud platform — allowing for equipment health management and efficient status analysis, while big data analytics and AI enable the shift from status management to preventive management.

5G can change society and empower a variety of vertical industries. Applying 5G in metro networks can bring sweeping changes. The integration of 5G with the urban rail cloud solution can help metro companies reduce costs and improve efficiency, security, and reliability. What's more, potential risks can be eliminated efficiently with the help of 5G. We are confident that 5G technology will be fully integrated into all corners of metro systems in the near future, offering passengers more convenient, comfortable, and safer trip experiences.

Shenzhen Metro Lines 6 and 10 include numerous innovations, many of which are first of their kinds in subway construction in Shenzhen and China as a whole. Adopting latest technologies — cloud computing, big data, 5G and AI — in subway systems creates better passenger experiences, empowering Shenzhen as it builds a smart metro system and focuses on developing as a smart, hi-tech city.

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