5G prototype drives Industry 4.0 trial in Finland

| Information and Communication Technology

Nokia trials 5G for Industry 4 at its Oulu factory
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Nokia partners with Intel and telecom operator to use low latency 5G networking as the backbone for an Industry 4.0 deployment at its Oulu factory.

Nokia, Finnish telecoms operator Telia and Intel have successfully conducted an industrial trial making use of the ultra-low latency, high-bandwidth capabilities of 5G to support time-critical applications and enhance production and efficiency in a manufacturing environment.

5G allows operators and businesses to connect assets and take advantage of new flexibilities and capabilities such as machine learning, artificial intelligence and widespread automation to efficiently transform operations.

The trial, which took place at the end of March, represents one of the first real-world applications of ‘Industry 4.0’, the industrial trend of automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies. Nokia and Telia worked with Intel and Finnish software startup Finwe at the Nokia base station Conscious Factory in Oulu using a trial 5G radio access network operating in the 28 GHz frequency band.

Nokia deployed the network using its 5G AirScale and Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC) platforms. In this scenario, the Nokia AirFrame data centre system, equipped with Intel Xeon Scalable processors, delivered network edge and core cloud flexibilities and capabilities, which provide support for myriad applications in the 5G environment. The trial also used the Intel 5G Mobile Trial Platform as the end-user device as well as an integrated video analytics application from Finwe.

The use of Multi-access Edge Computing together with 5G allows data to be processed close to where it’s needed, dramatically reducing latency. The Finwe video application was used to monitor and analyse a video feed of a process on one assembly line. The application made use of machine learning to immediately alert the assembly line operator of any inconsistencies in the process so they could be corrected in real-time, ensuring high-performance, reliability and quality.

In a second trial, Nokia and Telia demonstrated the ability of the technology to enable Telia to offer cloud remote service delivery for business customers. This trial used the Nokia AirFrame data centre, Nokia’s Multi-access Edge Computing platform and Finwe’s video analytics application at Telia’s centralised data centre in Helsinki, approximately 600 km from the Nokia Conscious Factory in Oulu.

Nokia will continue to use its Multi-access Edge Computing platform together with the Finwe video analytics application in the Oulu conscious factory over a 4G LTE network. The ability to upgrade the Nokia AirScale platform to 5G via software provides an evolutionary path for industries to expand automation across their business. The 28 GHz frequency band and Massive MIMO antennas deliver the low latency and bandwidth to enable high performance industrial applications.

Janne Koistinen, director of 5G Programmes at Telia Finland said: “Under our ‘5G Finland’ initiative we are working with companies such as Nokia to accelerate the fourth industrial revolution in the country. In this trial we will show how we can extend our service to new industry customers to enable efficiencies that will advance their production capabilities.”

Caroline Chan, vice president and general manager, 5G Infrastructure Division, Network Platforms Group, Intel said: “Using the Intel Xeon Scalable Processor family and the Intel Mobile Trial Platform allows operators around the globe to provide the computing, connectivity and analytics to launch new 5G services. We are continuing to work with Nokia to deliver the infrastructure needed to pave the way to broad market adoption of open, software defined networks for 5G.”

Marc Rouanne, president of Mobile Networks at Nokia, said: “Nokia’s 5G capabilities allow operators such as Telia to take advantage of machine learning and automation by opening up network data and intelligence. As we continue to deliver machine learning capabilities in Nokia’s ReefShark chipsets and develop advanced algorithms, we will further enhance our radio performance, allowing customers to take advantage of new business opportunities in the 5G and IoT world.”

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