The FT has recently reported, in a pre-results article that Hornby are collaborating with Generics, the UK technology consultancy, to develop ideas such as electronic systems related to mobile telephony to improve train control.
I hope this is something standard like Bluetooth rather than another proprietary system like the Lenz XPA XpressNet Phone Adapter.
It makes me wonder: what we really need from DCC?
The industry has been pulling the market for the last few years, offering to the users all sorts of bells and whistles. I still have difficulty in sourcing cheap loco decoders for steam locomotives (I need high amps, no functions and cheap price) but all that are available are expensive multi function and low amp chips. They tend to blow up every now and then - perhaps due to their ever reducing size.
Sure for diesel and electric locos, we need lighting, perhaps a horn and perhaps uncoupler devices, but those are rare.
Sound decoders have horns, bells, whistles, engine and steam noises - all great, but at a cost: price. Very few people can fit these to all their running locos and it looks funny to have one or two animated and noisy locos on the circuit and the rest silent...
- I'd like to see cheaper decoders. Simple and robust.
Controllers are getting better. If the ZTC 511 is anything to go by, they're also getting more expensive with features galore. Lenz hasn't come up with anything really interesting recently and there hasn't been much noise form other manufactures.
- I'd like to see more options in controllers: simple built-in layout controllers, complex programming stations and wireless mobile controllers. They must all be interchangable and compatible and there should be no confusion regarding standards (Bachmann EZ-Command).
What would you like to see in DCC?