Mont Blanc: keeping traffic moving in real time

ATMB chose Eaton and Modulo-C to modernise the IT infrastructure across the ATMB road and tunnel network. Which is the purpose? Improving business performance and safety of customers enabling remote monitoring in Edge network

by Vittoria Ascari

The Mont Blanc Tunnel is an amazing human and technological feat: safety, real time and promptness are the basis of the service offered by ATMB to 5,000 vehicles per day going through 11.6 km. The company’s road network is a strategic communications link between France, Switzerland and Italy, and vital to the local economy. ATMB uses its IT network to act as the eyes and ears on the highway, monitoring real-time traffic data and weather. To manage the entire infrastructure it chose Eaton’s solutions, realized together with Modulo-C,
a system integrator.

How to improve efficiency and safety
ATMB’s priority is to keep the roads open 24 hours a day, 7 days per week, while always considering the safety of traffic and the effect of weather conditions at this point in the Alps. It uses its IT network to monitor real-time traffic data. In 2014, ATMB embarked on a strategy to modernise its technical infrastructure. The company already had in place a very effective fibre network, as well as innovative infrastructure within the IT rooms to provide high levels of security and availability. The facilities are fitted with IT rooms that run CCTV, equipment to monitor road and weather conditions, as well as the ability to manage toll payments and keep drivers informed about driving conditions at any time. However, the company wanted to increase efficiency and safety even more by enabling remote monitoring of each IT room, so that it could increase uptime and lower the costs associated with sending technicians out to remote sites to deal with any IT issues.

Managing and monitoring the power across its network
Three the keys criteria: remote control and management of the IT equipment; proactive monitoring and predictable maintenance of infrastructure; monitoring and analytics of power across the network to prevent downtime. Eaton worked on the project with Modulo-C, a long-term partner in France with whom it has worked closely for many years.
Together, they approached ATMB with a concept, comprising its Intelligent Power Manager (IPM) Infrastructure software and rack Power Distribution Units (PDUs), that would enable the client to manage and monitor the power across its network, and that would enable remote monitoring of its entire IT estate through a single pane of glass.
The IPM Infrastructure software provides ATMB with an easy to use and simple to deploy infrastructure monitoring solution, that enables it to manage its mission critical applications across the network directly from a single centralised dashboard. It allows ATMB to understand and monitor power across its network, as well as environmental and physical capacity metrics, all within the context of its IT infrastructure. Using this information, ATMB can then plan changes, anticipate challenges and make intelligent management decisions to optimise efficiency and ensure business continuity. Eaton provided metered PDUs that enable ATMB to accurately and remotely measure and monitor the power usage of each IT device within a rack, enabling a much more comprehensive analysis of power consumption and efficiency across the network.

Getting more detailed information about what happens with the IT
The project has delivered ATMB with a more resilient and autonomous network. Since implementing the IPM Infrastructure software, it has been able to get much greater insight into what is happening with its IT and at a power level. The initial test phase of the project was conducted on one toll station, and work has since started on a second. ATMB has also tasked Eaton with providing additional intelligent PDUs, based on the amount of insight that it’s getting from the software. It can now understand events across the network in real-time and gather all required information to react in a timely manner. Said Marcel Masson, Infrastructure Supervisor at ATMB. “Our priority is to keep the roads open and operating safely. For us, remote monitoring means uptime – the roads are open, we can process tolls, and we can monitor road safety effectively and cost-efficiently”. The project has also meant that ATMB can begin building a network based on Edge computing, which moves the technology closer to where the processing takes place. Remote monitoring means that ATMB can understand how its distributed IT centers are operating, as well as enabling automated control of the IT systems, including toll processing, cameras and IT equipment.

Knowing exactly what’s going on at any point in the network
ATMB is now looking to replicate this project by rolling out IPM Infrastructure across all of its toll stations. Marcel Masson at ATMB said: “Eaton and Modulo-C have been partners crucial to the project. The quality of service and support they provide has meant the project has been completed within deadline. Eaton’s technology means we can now monitor and manage our systems so that we know exactly what is going on at any point in the network”.