Industry 4.0 and the internet of things among focus of 5G lab

Telecom Italia (TIM) and Ericsson have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Municipality of Genoa, the Liguria region and Liguria Digital to launch a 5G digital lab to explore the benefits of 5G technology and the internet of things (IoT) for local citizens, businesses and public offices.

The 5G digital lab will be located in the Genoa Research & Advanced Technology Campus, TIM said. The Italian telco said the first tests will be carried out this year, with TIM and Ericsson making available new 5G apps to public and private partners operating in the campus to encourage the development of innovative solutions in areas such as IoT, mobility, public safety and Industry 4.0.

In 2017, TIM and Ericsson had launched a joint ‘5G for Italy’ initiative to create an open ecosystem for research and implementation of innovative projects enabled by 5G technology. Trials have already been conducted in areas such as cloud robotics and automation, remote management of production lines, smart agriculture and port management.

The ’5G for Italy’ initiative is also focusing on industry pilots of possible 5G solutions in areas including smart city, the internet of things, Industry 4.0, transport and smart agriculture. The program has already identified a number of pilot projects to be implemented, including security systems for the management of cycles and automated production processes, logistical tracking of luxury goods, solutions dedicated to mobility of goods within ports, cloud robotics for 5G enabled manufacturing, broadband services applied to automotive sector, management and remote monitoring of health parameters and immersive video services enablement.

The Italian mobile operator is currently carrying out trials of 5G technology in order to pave the way for a commercial launch in 2020. Also in 2017, the Italian telco activated what it claims to be the first 5G antenna with millimeter wave support in Italy. The trial, which took place in the northern city of Turin, reached record connection of 20 Gbps.

Telecom Italia said this 5G trial follows on from the Memorandum of Understanding between TIM and Turin’s municipal authority to implement the “Turin 5G” project, which aims to provide gradual coverage of the city with 5G technologies by 2020.

For “Turin 5G”, TIM is developing applications and new solutions for the smart city, environmental monitoring, public safety, the vehicle industry, 4.0 industry, healthcare, education, mobility and road safety, logistics and smart agriculture.

In September 2017, TIM collaborated with compatriot operator Fastweb to launch 5G trials in a number of cities across Italy. The companies will deploy the connectivity in the 3.7GHz band in Bari and Matera in southern Italy. Chinese vendor Huawei will also take part in these 5G trials.

Rival operator Vodafone Italy has also launched its project to test 5G technologies via the 3.6-3.8 GHz band in the city of Milan. The telco said it will be working with a total of 28 partners on the project, which is budgeted at 90 million euros ($110 million).

Vodafone Italy said the network will cover 80% of the city and surrounding metropolitan areas by the end of 2018 and 100% by 2019.

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