Home5GVerizon and IBM combine on 5G test cases, ‘management approaches’ for Industry 4.0

Verizon and IBM combine on 5G test cases, ‘management approaches’ for Industry 4.0

IBM and Verizon are collaborating on 5G use cases and ‘management approaches’ for Industry 4.0 at IBM’s ‘industry solution lab’ in Texas, in the US. The pair are offering industrial enterprises a test environment to experiment with 5G networking, cloud-and-edge compute, and analytics-based AI software. The setup is focused on robotics, guided vehicles, manufacturing process automation, visual quality inspection, and sundry industrial analytics use cases, they said.

Verizon is supplying the 5G networking, alongside its multi-access edge compute (MEC) resources; IBM is providing the rest, in the form of hybrid cloud and AI componentry. Verizon has installed a 5G and MEC “platform” at the IBM lab, in Coppell, Texas. The lab will provide “hands-on experience”, they pair said, for enterprises looking to harness Industry 4.0 technologies, and the “growing relationship between connectivity and compute”. 

The expanded setup — presented as a “pre-commercial, standalone 5G and MEC environment” — will test new use cases and “highly automated” deployment and management approaches. The focus will be on asset monitoring and optimization for the logistics industry, field worker productivity and safety for sundry industrial environments, and visual inspection tools on assembly lines, robotic arms, and wearables to identify defects in manufacturing.

Writing in a blog post, Steve Canepa, managing director for IBM’s communications division, remarked: “Customers will have access to an environment designed to deliver a level of performance that enables truly innovative solutions to accelerate their transformation to Industry 4.0… Customers can co-create use cases and work with IBM and partners to… address current business challenges and bring new solutions and services to market.”

Verizon and IBM announced a deal last year to combine their capabilities in 5G connectivity, edge and cloud computing, and data analytics to service the industrial market’s pursuit of digital change, as part of the so-called Industry 4.0 movement. The pair said at the time they will produce new Industry 4.0 solutions for mobile asset tracking and management to help enterprises improve operations, optimise production, and enhance worker safety.

Verizon also has a deal with Deloitte, signed at the end of 2020, to carry out joint innovation activities in the 5G and MEC fields. Again, the two companies said they will design solutions to target both manufacturing and retail, and ultimately expand to other sectors.

IBM told Enterprise IoT Insights in June it is undecided, as yet, about whether to offer private 5G management to enterprises, despite commentators repeatedly suggesting the New York firm might yet shape up as a prime candidate to handle the ‘run’ phase of new private cellular deployments. It maintained it is focused on the supply of hybrid cloud and analytics services in conjunction with traditional telecoms providers. 

IBM is working variously with Nokia and Samsung, among kit vendors, and AT&T, Telefónica, and Vodafone, as well as Verizon, among mobile operators, to integrate compute and connectivity into edge bundles for enterprises seeking to get on the road with digital change. 

During his keynote at MWC in Barcelona, IBM chief executive Arvind Krishna highlighted the company’s work with Verizon to deploy a “modern open hybrid cloud strategy across Verizon’s 5G network core and service orchestration platform”.

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