Verizon and IBM are partnering on a 5G Industry 4.0 testbed at IBM’s Industry Solutions Lab in Coppell, Texas. Business customers will be able to use the testbed to develop advanced use cases such as robotics, guided vehicles, manufacturing process automation, visual quality inspection, data analytics and others.

Verizon has installed 5G Ultra Wideband and Multi-Access Edge Computing (MEC) at the lab, where those offerings can be combined with hybrid cloud, edge, and AI technologies to enable the new use cases, notes Steve Canepa, global general manager and managing director for IBM Communications Sector, in a blog post.

The Industry 4.0 testbed is the latest development involving a partnership that IBM and Verizon announced last year.

At that time, the companies said they would work together on applications that would draw on Verizon 5G and MEC, as well as IBM’s expertise in AI, hybrid multi-cloud, edge computing, asset management and connected operations. The companies said they would collaborate on potential joint solutions to address worker safety, predictive maintenance, product quality and production automation and that their first deliverables would address mobile asset tracking and management.

Verizon IBM Industry 4.0 Plans

Canepa’s new blog post also highlights asset monitoring as one of the partners’ initial priority focus areas. Enterprises involved in logistics and supply chain will be able to use the IBM Maximo application suite and IBM Acoustic Insights to test how they can use ultrasonic technology to “anticipate and mitigate” malfunctioning package handling machinery. The application also draws on Verizon IoT offerings, as well as the company’s 5G network.

Verizon 5G and the IBM Maximo application suite also play a role in two other initial priority focus areas for the Verizon IBM Industry 4.0 testbed.

Courtesy of IBM.

The IBM Maximo application suite is designed to monitor, manage and maintain a company’s assets. The suite includes half a dozen applications, at least four of which will play a role in supporting the initial focus areas.

The asset monitoring application will draw on IBM Maximo Predict, a predictive machine learning application, and IBM Maximo Asset Monitor, an AI-powered remote asset monitoring application. A visual inspection application will draw on IBM Maximo Visual Inspection, which works with any iOS device. And a field worker productivity and safety application will draw on the Maximo Mobile field technician application.

Business customers interested in field worker productivity and safety also will be able to use an augmented reality productivity platform from Ario, that was developed with the help of a $1 million prize in Verizon’s Built on 5G Challenge.

IBM® and Maximo® are registered trademarks of International Business Machines Corporation.

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