Aug 12, 2021

IBM and Verizon collaborate on Industry 4.0 ‘testbed’

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Verizon chairman and CEO Hans Vestberg talks about 5G at CES 2021. Credit: Verizon
IBM and Verizon are to collaborate on an Industry 4.0 testbed for 5G and AI solutions at the enterprise edge

IBM and Verizon are to collaborate on an Industry 4.0 testbed for 5G and AI solutions “at the enterprise edge.”

The two companies will put their technology and communication smarts together to synthesise industrial improvements in quality, availability and performance to help bring about the future of Industry 4.0 with high speed, low latency multi-access edge compute (MEC) capabilities.

Implementation will include technologies such as IoT devices and sensors, AI, hybrid multi cloud, edge computing, asset management and connected operations, according to IBM and Verizon, who will run the testing at IBM’s Industry Solution Lab in Coppell, Texas.

Advanced analytics

In a joint statement, the companies said: “For these initial solutions, the two companies plan to leverage Verizon’s wireless networks, including Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband (UWB) network, and Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC) capabilities, alongside Verizon’s ThingSpace IoT Platform and Critical Asset Sensor solution (CAS). These will be jointly offered with IBM’s market-leading Maximo Monitor with IBM Watson and advanced analytics. The combined solutions could help clients detect, locate, diagnose and respond to system anomalies, monitor asset health and help predict failures in near real-time.”

IBM and Verizon are also looking at potential combined solutions for 5G and MEC-enabled use cases such as near real time cognitive automation for the industrial environment. The use of edge computing means technology resources can be located closer to the data source, decreasing lag and increasing processing speed and reliability. The two companies are aiming to implement remote control robotics, near real time cognitive video analysis and plant automation at the testbed.

Industry 4.0

Bob Lord, senior vice president, Cognitive Applications, Blockchain and Ecosystems, IBM, said, “The industrial sector is undergoing unprecedented transformation as companies begin to return to full-scale operations, aided by new technology to help reduce costs and increase productivity. Through this collaboration, we plan to build upon our longstanding relationship with Verizon to help industrial enterprises capitalise on joint solutions that are designed to be multi cloud ready, secured and scalable, from the data center all the way out to the enterprise edge.”

Tami Erwin, CEO, Verizon Business, said, “This collaboration is all about enabling the future of industry in the fourth industrial revolution. Combining the high speed and low latency of Verizon’s 5G UWB Network and MEC capabilities with IBM’s expertise in enterprise-grade AI and production automation can provide industrial innovation on a massive scale and can help companies increase automation, minimize waste, lower costs, and offer their own clients a better response time and customer experience.”

Verizon and IBM also plan to collaborate on potential joint solutions to address worker safety, predictive maintenance, product quality and production automation.

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