Nokia moves forward with new 5G and 4G IoT trials

Nokia moves forward with new 5G and 4G IoT trials

Connected cars in Japan and Finnish machine learning factories get a communications boost.

Nokia has run two proofs-of-concept around 4G LTE and 5G technologies to evaluate the role that mobile technology can play in IoT deployments.

The firm has linked up with Japanese telecommunications operator KDDI to demonstrate the use of LTE in Japan to deliver cost-efficient, low-latency connectivity for vehicles.

Meanwhile, another trial in Finland has looked at the ultra-low-latency, high-bandwidth capabilities of 5G to support time-critical applications and enhance production in factories.

Turning Japanese

According to Nokia, the Japanese trials are the first in the world to use LTE broadcast, implementing the evolved Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Service standard in two connected car applications, demonstrating the potential of cellular technology to enable fully automated driving.

The trials were conducted by Nokia and KDDI at a rural location on the Japanese island of Hokkaido. The partners focused on vehicle-to-network use cases, in which non-integrated systems in cars interacted with sensors via the Nokia Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC) platform, which enables significantly reduced network latency, according to Nokia.

Nokia said its evolved Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Service (eMBMS) hotspot solution allows data to be sent once to many users simultaneously. It added that during the trial it allowed real-time information to be shared across multiple vehicles to enable greater awareness and road safety.

The companies compared the efficiency of using LTE broadcast to the one-to-one communications enabled by LTE unicast, in two connected car applications.

The first was vehicle-to-network-to-vehicle (V2N2V), in which cars maintained constant contact with the MEC system, sending real-time location, direction, and speed data to roadside sensors. In an emergency, the driver can alert the application, with information distributed to other vehicles using eMBMS.

The second test was a Network Real-Time Kinematic (network RTK) trial of LTE to enhance fully automated in-vehicle navigation. It showed how eMBMS could more cost-efficiently use existing geolocation systems to communicate to many vehicles in real time and ensure accurate navigation.

Uwe Puetzschler, head of Car2X at Nokia, said that “a clear evolution path to 5G will enable operators such as KDDI to support the widespread adoption of automated vehicles.”

Machine learning in the factory

Meanwhile, Nokia has teamed up with Finnish operator Telia and Intel to conduct industrial trials that make use of the ultra-low latency, high-bandwidth capabilities of 5G.

The trial, which took place at the end of March, represents one of the first real-world applications of ‘Industry 4.0’. Nokia and Telia worked with Intel and Finnish software startup Finwe at the Nokia base station, Conscious Factory in Oulu, using a trial 5G radio access network operating in the 28 GHz frequency band.

Nokia deployed its 5G AirScale and Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC) platforms. A Nokia AirFrame data centre, equipped with Intel Xeon scalable processors, delivered network edge and core cloud capabilities, which provided support for myriad applications in the 5G environment.

The trial also used the Intel 5G Mobile Trial Platform as the end-user device, and an integrated video analytics application from Finwe.

Close to the edge

Nokia said that using Multi-access Edge Computing together with 5G allows data to be processed close to where it’s needed, which “dramatically reduces latency”. The Finwe video application was used to monitor and analyse a video feed of a process on one assembly line. The application used machine learning to alert the assembly line operator of any inconsistencies in the process, so they could be corrected in real time.

In a second trial, Nokia and Telia demonstrated the ability of the technology to enable Telia to offer cloud remote service delivery for business customers. This trial again used the Nokia AirFrame data centre solution, Nokia’s Multi-access Edge Computing platform, and Finwe’s video analytics application at Telia’s centralised data centre in Helsinki, approximately 600 km from the Conscious Factory in Oulu.

Nokia said it would continue to use its Multi-access Edge Computing platform together with the Finwe video analytics application in the Oulu conscious factory over a 4G LTE network. But there is a future upgrade path to 5G via software updates to its AirScale Platform.

It added that the 28 GHz frequency band and Massive MIMO antennas deliver the low latency and bandwidth to enable high-performance industrial applications.

Janne Koistinen, director of the 5G Program at Telia Finland, said the trial showed how Telia could extend “service offering to new industry customers to enable efficiencies that will advance their production capabilities.”

Internet of Business says

2018 has seen a raft of new 5G announcements, along with mobile tests of IoT applications. Here are just some of our recent reports.