The Microsoft subsidiary Affirmed Networks has revealed that it will be outfitting Inventec with a private 5G network. The deployment specifically involves Affirmed’s 5G Standalone UnityCloud, which is able to link to many different kinds of industrial machines.
That makes the solution particularly appealing to a company like Inventec, which manufactures a wide variety of enterprise-grade electronic devices. The company’s portfolio includes HP and Acer computers, retail terminals, Amazon tablets, and Apple’s HomePod Speakers. (There have also been rumors of biometric AirPods that could arrive in 2021.)
According to Affirmed, its Inventec network is the world’s first fully operational cloud-native 5G standalone network, insofar as it is a finished commercial offering and not a pilot or test for a future system. The partnership is part of a broader digital transformation, and is expected to help Inventec automate several of its core processes. For example, the UnityCloud will initially be integrated with Inventec’s optical inspection systems, which use computer vision to check for defects as products come off the line.
Inventec selected Microsoft’s 5G offering because it offered more bandwidth with less latency than comparable Wi-Fi solutions. The network’s performance is comparable to that of a wired connection, while still delivering the convenience and flexibility of a wireless setup.
The Inventec network is Affirmed Networks’ first private 5G network since it was acquired by Microsoft earlier this year. The tech giant finalized its acquisition of Affirmed in April.
While this may be the first full Industry 4.0 deployment, Affirmed and Microsoft do have some competition in the private 5G sphere. Fujitsu received Japan’s first private 5G license in February, and Samsung and KDDI have also teamed up to develop new 5G business models for large enterprises. Interested customers will be able to choose whether or not they want to leverage KDDI’s existing infrastructure or develop their own private 5G network.
Source: Venture Beat