DT casts itself as SI for private 5G, bundles AI and IoT, slashes NB-IoT promo costs
Deutsche Telekom has positioned itself as a system integrator (SI) in the emerging private 5G market for Industry 4.0, via a deal with AWS for managed edge infrastructure and services. It has also released a couple of all-in packages for factory and warehouse-based AI and IoT, and struck an edge-cloud analytics deal with German IT services company GFT to offer industrial IoT and digital twin services to manufacturing companies. As well, the company has slashed promotional prices on 12-month NB-IoT starter kits, to €1 for a SIM with 1MB of data and 10 messages.
T-Systems, the company’s IT services division, said at Hannover Messe this week it is setting up to offer a “full range of edge solutions and services, as well as end-to-end integration”. It said it will “tailor solutions to different industries” and relieve clients of “administration, maintenance and contract management”. The company presented its new ‘campus edge framework’ at the event, a managed service for LTE and 5G in enterprise campuses, which edge-based networking from the German firm and edge-cloud services from AWS – specifically in the shape of AWS Outposts, which extends AWS infrastructure, services, and tools to the the edge setup.
The company said: “T-Systems advises clients through the development of a digital campus strategy. This includes the steering of potential analysis projects which support decision making… [and helps] setup and integration with existing systems, as well as the operation of edge and solution infrastructure.” A press statement also listed “campus networks, digital solutions, consulting, maintenance, integration with third-party party networks and services, as well as additional security solutions”.
T-Systems has also unveiled a new ‘AI’ offer for production and logistics at Hannover Messe. The so-called ‘AI Solution Factory’ is a modular kit with hardware, software, connectivity, and security, the company said. “The customer receives an individual solution with all components such as trained AI services and cameras plus integration into their own IT,” said Adel Al-Saleh, chief executive at T-Systems. “That is unique on the market. Our AI Solution Factory uses standardized tools, infrastructures as well as methods and thus produces AI solutions on an industrial scale: fast, simple and efficient.”
The firm is developing a version for welding robots in the automotive industry, as a version of the new product. The welding package uses IoT sensors to capture data on the welding process, and run analytics to understand and predict the quality of the joints being produced. The solution eliminates manual quality-control checks, and therefore cuts costs, said T-Systems. A version for logistics is also being developed. T-Systems said video-based analytics recognizes which vehicles are being loaded or unloaded.
T-Systems has also paired with German IT services company GFT to bundle edge computing with data analytics and digital twins for the manufacturing sector. The pair claim manufacturing companies can detect production errors “up to 300 percent faster” with their combined industrial IoT package. GFT is offering its digital twin platform, called ‘sphinx open online’, into the bargain, as well as data collection and analytics tools. T-Systems is offering cloud and edge-based compute resources, alongside cellular connectivity via Deutsche Telekom.
The company has its own public and private cloud services, or defaults to AWS, as above, or to Microsoft Azure, or Google, as customers require. Their joint solution appears to offer both edge based processing, in factories, and cloud-based processing in central data centres, at the same time. A statement said non time-critical data transfers to the cloud, “over smaller bandwidths or via 5G networks”, reduces data transfer costs by up to 70 percent.
Presumably, as elsewhere, the model proposes real-time analytics is run at the edge, and the cloud is reserved for machine learning. But the statement also references that customers can digitally model whole plants and production lines via the ‘sphinx’ digital twin platform, which takes data from both local and remote compute facilities. There is no explanation in the statement of the “300 percent” error-detection improvement figure.
The statement said: “Sensors record status data locally and in real time at the individual plants. The data is sent in parallel, but not time-critically, over smaller bandwidths to a central data center or via 5G networks to the cloud. Due to the significantly lower bandwidth, data transfer costs are reduced by up to 70 percent. The solution analyzes the data collected at the edge. It identifies optimization potential using AI….
“With ‘sphinx open online’, companies monitor their plants and also control them completely automatically. For example, they receive information about operating status, such as temperatures or pressure, but also resource consumption or the current output. For this purpose, data from all relevant sources is transferred into a common model (‘model in the middle’ principle).”
It continued: “In sphinx open online, digital twins are created from this data. These virtual images control plants automatically. The digital twins can also be used to create very far-reaching simulations. Users can rebuild entire plants and manufacturing processes and check the effects without having to physically touch a single machine. The simulations reveal optimization potential.
“When compared with defined parameters and rules, these optimizations can be implemented automatically. For example, in order to adjust processes in a targeted manner or to plan necessary maintenance windows more precisely. Manual intervention is no longer necessary, because all measures are fed back to the industrial plant and applied in real time.”
Meanwhile, Deutsche Telekom is offering “inexpensive” pre-activated SIM cards for “sensors, trackers and other IoT devices modules” – under the ‘LPWA Start’ brand, as part of its Business Smart Connect tariffs. The deal provides 1MB of data and 10 SMS alerts for €1 over 12 months; an additional 0.5MB and five messages can be booked for €0.50. Shipping costs €9.
Customers can place orders for five-to-10 SIMs, and make a maximum of 500 orders. SIMs work on 2G and LTE in all EU countries, and on NB-IoT with Deutsche Telekom operating companies and roaming partners in Europe and the US. The offer is available until September 30. The IoT management platform comes from 1NCE.