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Network Rail Embraces AI: Oakland’s Partnership Marks a New Era in Rail Industry Innovation

Oakland, a leading Microsoft Data and AI SolutionsPartner, are collaborating with Network Rail to address the challenges of knowledge management within the rail industry.  Leveraging the power of AI, Oakland has developed a solution to revolutionise how Network Rail harnesses its wealth of information and insights.

Network Rail has just started their new financial period (CP7) – committing an investment of £44 billion in the UK railway infrastructure throughout 2024 to 2029. This significant investment aims to achieve ambitious goals, including a 20% reduction in delays, a 30% increase in capacity, and a 70% decrease in carbon emissions.*

Like many complex organisations, Network Rail faced challenges when it came to managing valuable information and how it was stored across various formats such as PDF and video, meaning there was an opportunity to better leverage these as data sources. Acknowledging the broader challenges faced by Network Rail, Oakland identified an opportunity to leverage AI to share insights from past projects before and throughout the lifecycle of new projects. This proactive strategy is designed to prevent issues later in the project timeline, improving overall efficiency and effectiveness.

The project harnesses generative AI capabilities to allow users to interact with the language model through a dynamic chatbot interface. This solution enables users to pose queries and receive tailored responses drawing from Network Rail’s extensive library of thousands of learned lessons and valuable data sources. Powered by cutting-edge AI algorithms and Azure AI Services, it represents a significant advancement in knowledge management not just in the rail industry, but with the potential to be deployed across all sectors.

Having worked together for over a decade, at the heart of the partnership with Network Rail and Oakland thrives on a shared goal of innovation and operational excellence, driving industry-leading solutions and best practices. 

Jack Evans, Principal Consultant at Oakland, adds

“Network Rail saw knowledge management as a prime candidate for AI. By placing AI at the heart of the solution, they can unlock a wealth of possibilities to make a real, positive impact for years to come. This is a game-changer for sharing and leveraging knowledge across the organisation.”

In an era defined by rapid technological advancements, Network Rail remains steadfast in its dedication to innovation to improve collaboration in the organisation and seek efficiencies. Implementing AI-driven knowledge management solutions reflects the commitment to harnessing cutting-edge technologies to propel the rail industry forward.

Mo Momodu, Programme Manager – Rail Infrastructure Centre of Excellence, shares;

“The deployment of generative AI capability within the learning from lessons library will transform the way we harness knowledge, enrich insights, and encourage cross-industry learning”