SG Takes Next 5G Step With Industry 4.0 Lab

Image credit: iStockphoto/metamorworks

Singapore launched its start-of-the-art Industry 4.0 Studio together with IBM, Samsung Electronics, and M1. It will combine advanced 5G connectivity with AI, hybrid cloud, and edge computing capabilities to develop and test innovative Industry 4.0 solutions.  

The Studio is designed to simulate operational use cases that demonstrate how businesses can harness the power of the hybrid cloud and AI technologies and advanced 5G capabilities to transform critical operations and drive new value — from improving quality and productivity in production lines to empowering service and quality control personnel.

The Studio will develop, test, and benchmark real-world Industry 4.0 use cases involving autonomous guided vehicles, collaborative robots, 3-D augmented reality, and real-time AI visual and acoustic recognition and classification.

Supported by the Infocomm Media Development Authority as part of Singapore’s 5G journey, the Studio will host the first 5G Industry 4.0 trial. It will test real-world applications that can be applied in the manufacturing sector while measuring and optimizing the performance of enterprise 5G for industrial use.

IBM has worked with Samsung and M1 to deliver solutions that take advantage of the ultra-low latency, high reliability, and security of 5G connectivity. It will combine Samsung’s state-of-the-art standalone 5G network solutions and mobile devices with IBM’s hybrid cloud, edge computing, and AI. M1’s engineering and network services expertise will help design and integrate 5G standalone solutions and formulate 5G test cases to meet regulatory requirements.

Built on Red Hat OpenShift, the Industry 4.0 use cases will employ AI solutions for visual and acoustic analysis and augmented reality technologies.

Seven focus areas are being explored via the Studio that could deliver transformative value for customers by applying ultra-low latency, high-bandwidth, stable and secure 5G connectivity to Industry 4.0 applications:

Visual Recognition solutions using IBM Maximo Visual Inspection: With 5G, this enables real-time, streaming video analytics to power use cases such as faster identification of defects on the manufacturing line or rapid sorting of parts in a warehouse environment.

Acoustic Insights: Applies AI to analyze audio captured by phones and tablets to uncover potential defects in server fans, for example. Combined with 5G, this enables audio streaming and more rapid analysis to enable continuous monitoring in real-time.

Augmented reality (AR) solution: Looks at the industrial use of AR. For example, users can point the camera of their mobile device at equipment and view step-by-step instructions superimposed on the image on their screen to walk them through a procedure such as setup, testing, or repair. 5G enables rapid, dynamic access to multiple procedure models, so a technician can browse quickly from step to step without long delays to download new models. If the technician encounters a problem not covered in the procedure model, 5G enables a remote expert to provide real-time, live, peer-to-peer assistance using on-screen AR guidance.

Complex use cases for automated guided vehicles and collaborative robots. Enabled by the low latency of 5G. For example, a robot arm uses a phone to visually scan an item. The visual is sent to the server, analyzed, and the result returned. The robot arm then takes action to sort or reject the item based on the Visual Inspection result. The low latency of 5G enables this process to occur in near-real-time, allowing the robot arm to immediately sort or reject parts.

AI models developed and deployed on edge servers: Will feature flexibility and dynamic resource scalability via Red Hat OpenShift.

Container-based applications: With continuous monitoring and automated management, integration, and control of multiple deployed solutions at the edge.

5G end-to-end solutions and vertical use cases for private networks: Delivering private networks that combine Samsung’s latest 5G end-to-end solutions, including the RAN and the Core, with IBM’s open hybrid cloud technologies. Additionally, exploring new vertical use cases to enable enterprises to adopt emerging technologies crucial to Industry 4.0.

Image credit: iStockphoto/metamorworks