Verizon has installed a 5G network in Corning’s fiber optic cable manufacturing facility in Hickory, North Carolina, to test how the high speeds and low latency can improve factory automation.
The facility contains one of the largest fiber optic cable manufacturing facilities in the world. The companies are testing how the technology could improve the manufacturing process and enhance capabilities such as machine learning, augmented reality and virtual reality (AR/VR).
Specifically, the goal is to explore how factories of the future can use 5G to accelerate data collection, allowing machines to communicate with each other in near real time and wirelessly track and inspect inventory using 5G-connected cameras. The factory will also test how 5G can improve autonomous guided vehicles (AGVs) by helping them move more efficiently around the factory floor.
“5G will usher in the Fourth Industrial Revolution enabling massive steps forward in robotics and automation that will transform supply chain management and create smarter and more efficient factories,” said Tami Erwin, executive vice president and CEO of Verizon Business Group, in a statement.
Previously, Verizon worked with Corning to speed deployment of 5G using Corning’s optical technologies and Verizon’s network architecture.
Verizon has been experimenting with different use cases for 5G beyond smartphones, including experimenting with how the technology could be used with autonomous vehicles, enabling AR/VR and improving emergency services. Other companies are also exploring all the ways that 5G could be used to help improve various industries.