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IBM and Verizon expand Texas lab to test new 5G use cases

Industries will be able to use 5G, hybrid cloud, and AI to create “Industry 4.0” applications

IBM logo on the side of a building

IBM and Verizon have expanded facilities at their Industry Solution Lab in Coppell, TX to include an environment for developing and testing 5G-enabled use cases for Industry 4.0 applications.

The new capabilities will enable enterprise customers to develop and test how 5G Ultra-Wideband can combine with hybrid cloud, edge, and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies to enhance next-gen use cases like robotics, guided vehicles, manufacturing process automation, visual quality inspection, data analytics, and more.

Verizon has installed 5G ultra-wideband and multi-access edge computing (MEC) to trial use cases, alongside IBM’s hybrid cloud and AI technologies, which run on Red Hat OpenShift.

The lab will offer customers a  pre-commercial, standalone 5G network and all the technical resources needed to test and optimize products. Customers can co-create business-specific use cases and jointly work with IBM Global Business Services and ecosystem partners to leverage these technologies in solving current business challenges and bring new solutions and services to market.

The lab will focus on three priority areas that take advantage of 5G networks. 

The first area is asset monitoring and optimization. IBM and Verizon said major shipping companies with ground and package-handling facilities could use the IBM Maximo Application Suite and IBM Acoustic Insights to trial how they can use ultrasonic technology to anticipate and prevent their package handling machinery from malfunctioning.

The second area is in field worker productivity and safety. By using Maximo Mobile on devices on the Verizon 5G Network, a utility company could trial scenarios where it uses AI, remote human assistance, and real-time data to “improve the on-the-job safety and enhance the quality and efficiency of fieldwork with guided workflows, reducing multiple repeat inspections and repairs of the same equipment.”

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The third area is visual inspection. IBM said industrial product manufacturers could leverage IBM’s suite of visual inspection products, including IBM Maximo Visual Inspection.

“Mobile devices running the suite could be mounted on assembly lines, robotic arms, or even held or worn by the user to inspect components and finished goods for defects using near real-time insights to improve manufacturing processes,” said Steve Canepa, global GM & managing director at IBM’s Communications Sector.

He added that the joint 5G test bed with Verizon “serves as a signal of IBM’s ongoing investment in capabilities that include, among others, centers of excellence and labs around the world.”

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