Ericsson and Nokia are making use of this year’s Hannover Fair in Germany to showcase future industrial applications for 5G. This includes a raft of new collaborations and demonstrations highlighting the technology as an enabler for industrial IoT, smart factories, and private wireless networks.
Discussions on future 5G use cases have often coalesced around the technology’s potential for different vertical sectors, while recognizing the need for greater collaboration between mobile players and industry to bring these concepts to fruition. Such collaborations and use cases have certainly emerged as a major focus point for mobile equipment vendors and operators as they seek ways to justify the enormous cost of investing in 5G networks.
At this week’s Hannover Fair, Nokia teamed up with Qualcomm and show organizer Deutsche Messe on a 5G campus network that enables exhibitors to demonstrate a range of industrial 5G use cases, including an automated guided vehicle (AGV) with live video streaming over 5G and a process quality control system for the automotive industry. Nokia also unveiled its Factory in a Box 2.0 concept that is designed to improve factory processes using 5G and IoT connectivity, robotics, and virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR).
Ericsson, for its part, signed a memorandum of understanding with Swedish technology and industrial giant ABB to use 5G and industrial IoT to increase factory automation. The two companies are already partnering on automated 5G manufacturing at Ericsson’s own factory in Tallinn, Estonia, adding machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) to the Swedish vendor’s production processes. As part of the latest deal, ABB will provide a fully automated robot cell solution for the final assembly of 5G radios.
Ericsson has already joined forces with Swedish carrier Telia and Volvo Construction Equipment on the operation of a 5G network for industrial use. The network at Volvo’s research and development facility in Eskilstuna, Sweden, uses Ericsson commercial hardware and software, including 5G New Radio (NR) and core network products.
It’s becoming evident how almost every player in the mobile ecosystem wants a bigger slice of the action in the 5G era, and industrial applications will certainly feed into this ambition.