5G edge pilot unveiled by InterDigital for Industry 4.0 applications

Henry Tirri of InterDigital

InterDigital, Inc., a mobile and video technology research and development company, has announced a successful pilot to demonstrate the benefit of 5G edge solutions for Industry 4.0 applications. These use Amazon Web Services (AWS) Wavelength on the UK’s Vodafone 5G network.

Vodafone is collaborating with AWS to move 5G data processing to the network edge to minimise latency for use cases that require high speed, ultra-low latency, and maximum bandwidth, such as industry 4.0 applications. Vodafone uses AWS Wavelength to bring AWS infrastructure and services closer to customers across the UK.

Using AWS Wavelength at the edge of Vodafone5G networks in the UK, a recent InterDigital pilot recorded an average downstream bandwidth around 50 Mbps and an average end-to-end latency of less than 15 ms, meeting and beating the strict requirements of Industry 4.0 use cases, like augmented robotic telepresence or autonomous zero-defect manufacturing.

Specifically, the InterDigital pilot demonstrated Industry 4.0 applications, such as the detection and disposal of defective products on an assembly line or the remote navigation of a vehicle within a factory. These applications are hosted at the edge due to their low latency requirements and use a 5G network to connect to the various terminal devices, like a robot, camera, or LiDAR. The solution guarantees required high bandwidth connectivity in uplink and low latency connectivity in both uplink and downlink.

“Distributed MEC has the capability to revolutionise the way we do business by bringing the cloud closer to the end-user,” says Anne Sheehan, business director, Vodafone UK. “By moving computing, storage and management to the edge of the network, we’re unlocking new possibilities for our users. Business applications will be able to respond in real-time, making once-impossible outcomes to reality.”

InterDigital’s pilot proves how Industry 4.0 use cases can be supported and enhanced by 5G and edge solutions. The pilot addresses the challenge in enabling near-real time remote control of factory-side devices based upon instantaneous analytics and decision-making in the digital world at the edge.

To support the multiple high bandwidth and low latency data flows streaming from the physical factory to the digital edge, InterDigital’s pilot leveraged AWS Wavelength on the Vodafone5G network to enable ultra-fast computing and reduce transport latency between the network and applications. InterDigital’s solution demonstrates the feasibility and readiness of 5G and edge to support Industry 4.0 use cases and establishes a benchmark of high performance to pave the way for further advancements.

“With our long-time commitment to research and innovation, we take great pride in the success of this pilot and the targeted use cases and applications it will enable in 5G edge environments,” says Henry Tirri, CTO, InterDigital. “Working alongside Vodafone Business and AWS provided a significant collaboration opportunity to address emerging industry challenges and digital opportunities to craft a path forward for 5G edge solutions.”

The InterDigital pilot demonstrates the feasibility of 5G and edge solutions to support challenging low latency requirements of targeted Industry 4.0 use cases, which could not be met with existing cloud solutions. In this pilot, InterDigital has also partnered with Abo Akademi University (Finland) on the Artificial Intelligence-based defect detection application at the Edge and with AVEQ (Austria) on test cases and quality of service measurements of the video uplink streaming from the factory to the edge.

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