Haptic feedback of remotely operated industrial robots and smart ventilation in a connected underground mine are two examples of research collaborations between Ericsson and ABB. Our two companies have worked together for several years, exploring how to make the most of 5G and cellular technologies in the industry segments where ABB is active. To deepen the collaboration, Ericsson Research and ABB Corporate Research have now established a joint 5G industrial innovation lab.
The 5G industrial innovation lab
The lab, physically located in ABB premises in Västerås, Sweden, will be equipped with infrastructure and network services from Ericsson like state-of-the art radio access, connection to Ericsson’s 5G virtualized core network, edge computing (local/distributed cloud), network slicing and Ericsson’s IoT accelerator platform. The lab network will be optimized for better performance (low latency) than current public networks, and support new access types for Internet-of-Things.
The 5G industrial innovation lab will enable us to take the next step in our collaboration and jointly develop and explore new 5G and Industrial IoT solutions and business models.
Going forward, ABB and Ericsson intend to also work with customers, universities and other partners in the 5G industrial innovation lab.
“The joint 5G industrial innovation lab gives us direct access to the evolving 5G technologies and competences. This facilitates exploring new applications with our customers.”
Linus Thrybom at ABB Corporate Research
Joint 5G and IoT research projects
A project dealing with smart energy systems is already running in the new 5G industrial innovation lab. The energy sector is going through a very innovative phase where new functionality is introduced to meet future needs driven by small scale power generation, higher fraction of renewable energy and increasing demands to control both the energy demand and supply on short time scales. Reliable and secure communication plays an important role in enabling these innovations. In the collaboration we explore how demanding use cases can be supported in the 5G system.
This activity will be followed by projects in other industry segments such as process & factory automation, marine and port, and robotics.
Looking back, one of the first research projects between Ericsson and ABB explored how human operators can remotely perform tasks over long distances, with the help of remote control with haptic feedback. An industrial remote control solution requires a reliable connection with high speed and very short delays.
We demonstrated this in a joint proof of concept at the Mobile World Congress 2016.
Another collaboration example is from the mining industry. Ericsson, ABB and other partners in the Pilot for Industrial Mobile Communication in Mining have shown how digitalization can lead to significant improvements of productivity and safety in the mining industry. Connected sensors in a mine can, for example, be used for optimizing mine ventilation, leading to large energy savings. Ericsson’s connectivity for sensors was combined with ABB’s smart ventilation solution to make this possible.
5G for industries
5G is expected to play a major role in the digitalization of industries and be an important building block in such diverse fields as factory automation, automotive industry, energy and healthcare. Ericsson Research works together with leading industry players to capture industrial requirements and ensure that the 5G system can tackle the challenges industries are facing. Working with ABB, a leading player in automation and power solutions, help us to ensure that 5G will be relevant for the industry