LTE docks at Oulu, as Nokia and compatriots go mob-handed on private networks
Finnish network vendor Nokia and Finnish private LTE provider Ukkoverkot have signed a five-year deal to bring connectivity, automation, and intelligence to the Port of Oulu, also in Finland. The project will start with the establishment of a private LTE network, attaching to internet of things (IoT) sensors, on the site.
The private LTE network will provide “services… and solutions” for the port area’s multi-functional environment, said Ukkoverkot. The port company will manage and sell network capacity as-a-service to local enterprises and users of the premises.
The project will extend to cover edge computing, automation, and artificial intelligence (AI). The Port of Oulu, a 15 minute drive from Nokia’s own digital factory in the city, located in central Finland, said it wants to be a “pioneer in port digitalisation”.
Cranes, lifts and other stevedoring machines must be reliably connected to receive and transmit data during cargo operations, and private LTE and 5G networks provide the requisite levels of control, latency and reliability.
The private LTE network in Oulu will utilise the 2.6 GHz radio band, allocated in the vicinity to the port as part of the deal. Ukkoverkot retains both 2.6 GHz and 450 MHz and 2.6 GHz spectrum holdings for industrial and public safety networks. The 2.6GHz band will enable 5G services, too.
Nokia is supplying the networking fear and digital automation platform. Its offer has been “tailored” with respect to capacity, usability and coverage.
Mira Juola, responsible for finance and digitalisation at the Port of Oulu, said: “We want to be a pioneer in port digitalisation… By developing the digital infrastructure in the port, we connect the area’s network traffic and communication needs into a seamless entity. This was the most technologically advanced and cost-effective solution for our development work that will span many years to come.”
Jouko Tuppurainen, director at Ukkoverkot, said: “The advantage of a private LTE network is it enables any industrial actor to become a micro-operator, bringing reliable mobile broadband connectivity that scales according to the customer’s digitalisation strategy. This cooperation corresponds with our strategy and further strengthens our position as a leading provider of private LTE networks.”
Stephan Litjens, general manager for digital automation at Nokia, said: “The Port of Oulu will use our technology to develop its digital ecosystem and improve its analytics. Our digital automation platform enables a variety of smart business applications to make good use of sensors, video cameras and other devices beneficial in ports.”
Ukkoverkot was founded in 2014 to private networks for land, sea and air ports. Its customers include crane manufacturer Konecranes, airport operator Finavia, port operator Steveco,and telecoms company Erillisverkot, as well as the Finnish Defense Forces and Finnish border guard.
At the end of last year, it announced a private LTE network for the Port of HaminaKotka on Finland’s southeast coast. Steveco is using the network to bring efficiencies to container handling, warehouse logistics, and security. Nokia is involved in the HaminaKotka project, too – and indeed goes hand-in-hand with its compatriot on most private networking deals, it appears.
Nokia said cameras mounted on cranes at HaminaKotka are streaming video and analytics across the network, providing proof of container conditions as the enter and exit the facility.
Nokia has a deal with Finnish mining operator Sandvik for private networking and digital cloud services as well.
The Finnish vendor has calculated no fewer than 14.58 million potential venues for private LTE, and later private 5G – “where it could have an impact on the automation level, and hence an economic impact,” according to Litjens.
Among this number, Nokia has identified 50,000 transport hubs, including air ports, sea ports, and train ‘ports’. It goes on. “Warehouses? Millions,” he says. Nokia has counted them all: 10,000 military bases, 8,000 oil and gas plants, 47,600 power stations, 140,000 water utilities, 54,000 mines, 263,000 hospitals and labs.
The biggest market for private networking is the industrial and manufacturing space, home to 10.7 million candidate sites, reckons Nokia.
At MWC 2019, Nokia told Enterprise IoT Insights industrial companies will invest in their own private LTE and 5G networks because the business case for digital change is irresistible, and because they want control of their own infrastructure. This leaves operators, betting on new revenue from enabling industrial transformation, in the cold, potentially, it implied. Vendors like Nokia, meanwhile, are positioned to serve these enterprises direct.
At the same time, many tier-one operators are investing to address these industrial markets on their own terms. Vodafone told Enterprise IoT Insights at the same event it will use a range of public and private networking options to serve industrial verticals. These include spot usage of unlicensed LTE, localised usage of public LTE, and dedicated slices of its public 5G networks.
Nokia said private LTE networks and public 5G slices will coexist in the industrial space, with operators of mines, factories and ports architecting hybrid networks to serve a range of use cases, and to retain tight control of critical operations as required.