Ericsson taps HERE for custom mapping of private 5G enabled smart mines
Ericsson has recruited US-based mapping company HERE Technologies to provide the mining industry with “custom mapping capabilities”, to go with its own private LTE and 5G network offer to the sector. HERE Technologies joins the Swedish vendor’s roster of approved Industry 4.0 vendors (“partner ecosystem”).
The firm, majority owned by a consortium of German automotive companies and US chip company Intel, will supply its mapping solution as part of an Ericsson private-networks bundle for the mining industry, enabling mining companies to build custom maps of open pit mining operations.
The map-making functions include facilities to chart private terrain, and to locate and track mining assets in real-time. A statement said: “By using location data to build continuously updated private maps on the HERE location platform, mining companies can create a canvas to improve operational efficiency and safety. The living map can then be used to search or track, and deploy routing powered by HERE, as well as custom-built applications and services.”
The mining sector represents a major customer segment for the likes of Ericsson, supplying private LTE and 5G networks as platforms for digital change. Without providing figures, Ericsson said smart mining operations will increase threefold in the period to 2025.
It has run research with management consultancy Arthur D. Little, plus mining equipment companies Komatsu and Epiroc, to identify the five use cases sprung by higher-grade private 5G connectivity. These use cases are: autonomous vehicles, real-time condition monitoring, remote-controlled drilling rigs, unmanned drone inspections can monitor, and smart ventilation controls.
A report from the firm says the return-on-investment for both surface and underground smart mining (read private LTE/5G enabled) operations could top 200 percent within 10 years. Ericsson, like other private LTE/5G vendors, has found a rich seam of new business in the mining sector. It has installed private LTE/5G networks with, among others: Russian steel giant Severstal (working with MTS); Russian gold producer Polymetal (also MTS); and Australian mining and metals company South32 (with Telstra).
Thomas Norén, head of dedicated network and vice president at Ericsson, said: “We are partnering with HERE because of the breadth of their location services – ranging from mapping to routing, positioning and asset tracking. Combining our advanced private network solutions with HERE services will give mining firms a head start on their digitalization journey.”
Gino Ferru, general manager for the EMEAR (Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Russia) region and senior vice president at HERE Technologies, said: “We look forward to increasing the productivity and safety of the mining industry by bringing location services to Ericsson’s customers. With our private mapping capabilities, we enable mining companies to unleash the power of their location data in many important use cases.”