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5G for connected shipping, remote traffic control and augmented reality

Nokia, DT and the Port of Hamburg prove out industrial 5G applications

Back in January, Nokia and Deutsche Telekom started a project at the Port of Hamburg to test out 5G and internet of things applications in a real world, industrial setting. Nearly a year later, the partners have honed-in on three applications that will be further tested during the two-year trial period.

The test is funded through the European Union’s 5G MoNArch [mobile network architecture] project, which is overseen by the 5G PPP and designed to explore 5G applications and services that require “a flexible, adaptable and programmable architecture.”

In the busy Port of Hamburg, the key applications are connected shipping, remote control of traffic lights and augmented reality. Flotte Hamburg GmbH & Co. KG has installed sensors on its ships that provide real-time location, movement and environmental data. The cellular-enabled traffic lights can be remotely operated by port workers to be more responsive to traffic flows. And AR glasses can show workers 3D imagery. “Smart glasses use the information to show wearers building data relating to future or former structures in a real environment. In [the] future, this technology will help engineers to monitor or optimize construction planning on site at the port.”

Given the diversity of application requirements, the partners are using this trial to work out aspects of network slicing, wherein multiple virtual networks reside on a single physical network. In this case, sensor traffic lives on one network slice, the light control system has its own slice, etc…

Hamburg Port Authority CEO Jens Meier said the test “has given us a glimpse of the huge potential that 5G and, in particular, network slicing will offer.” He called 5G “the last push we need to make a breakthrough in terms of digitalization.”

Radio signal is provided from equipment mounted on a 150-meter television tower and is monitored by test equipment on land and on the Elbe river.

“Ports in general need to run smoothly and incredibly efficiently,” Marc Rouanne, head of Mobile Networks at Nokia, said in a statement. “At the Port of Hamburg, we have demonstrated that 5G can play a big role in this regard. The testing ground is delivering invaluable hands-on experience and data that will help us when implementing future smart port concepts using 5G communication networks and technologies like network slicing.”

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