Building the future of manufacturing with tools powered by 5G networks

The strategic partnership between dtac and Norway-based telco group Telenor allows the Thai mobile operator to connect with 5G experts globally. While dtac is an early mover in harnessing the capabilities of 5G, Telenor Sweden is another beacon of innovation in 5G within the Telenor family. They partnered with Ericsson and supplied a solution to Atlas Copco to explore the potential of power tools connected to a private 5G network.

The project runs on 3500 MHz and is an exciting addition to Telenor Sweden’s commercial 5G, which is already available in 36 locations. To better understand its ability to transform manufacturing and connectivity, dtac blog spoke to Andreas Kristensson, Head of IoT and New Business at Telenor Sweden.

“We know that private networks are essential to Industry 4.0,” he said. “Connected power tools require very low and highly predictable latencies. Hence, Telenor Sweden’s installation at Atlas Copco is a great use case to test the benefits of a dedicated LTE and 5G Network. And we plan to add lots of other equipment over time.”

The project is truly a meeting of greats. The Telenor Group has 169 million customers globally and leads the pan-European 5G Verticals Innovation Infrastructure (5G VINNI) to accelerate the development of relevant use cases. Atlas Copco is an industrial group with 40,000 employees in 180 countries making compressors, vacuum solutions, generators, pumps, power tools and assembly systems. And Ericsson, which has 100,000 employees, is a global provider of ICT and networking services.

“A dedicated network gives the customer all the control. They can test, evaluate, and secure 100 percent of the communication within their network,” said Mr. Kristensson of the smart power tools at Atlas Copco. “Previous solutions relied on cable, bluetooth and Wi-Fi, which are difficult to scale. Add to that high maintenance costs and reduced efficiency and flexibility, and you can understand why many business users are asking for 5G networks instead.”

Although 5G use cases for industrial applications provide faster, more secure networks, they also represent a radically new way of work for service providers. Rather than just providing a network, telcos must now collaborate closely with industrial partners to build the future of mobile and industrial connectivity.

“As operators, we need to learn to work in ecosystems, rather than rely on the traditional supplier-customer relationships. Changing operators’ mindsets isn’t a flick of the switch, but with the right focus, we can be part of—or even lead—the 5G growth opportunity,” said Mr. Kristensson. “That’s why finding the right partners is so important.”

With Telenor Sweden’s commercial 5G available in dozens of locations across the country, dtac blog also asked Mr. Kristensson why Industry 4.0 needs dedicated networks in addition to commercially available 5G.

“Mobile networks are already highly secure, but with a local dedicated network, you can get even lower latency, even more control over dataflows and, over time, potentially reduced costs. That said, one size doesn’t fit all. There will be several flavors of private and dedicated networks going forward,” replied Mr. Kristensson.

He cites sports stadiums as an example of the need for overlapping public and dedicated 5G networks. The public can benefit from 5G’s massive capacity while the TV broadcasters can utilize a separate, dedicated spectrum with guaranteed speeds and reliability.

“In the long run, consumers will be able to get augmented reality, advanced camera possibilities and much more. But in the short term, the focus for private networks will be on enterprise customers,” Mr. Kristensson said.

Back in Thailand, dtac business is also building industry use cases and 5G ecosystems with partners such as PTT, WHA, ABB and ASEFA. Its latest project, a private network in collaboration with Amazon Web Services, even showcases edge computing capabilities. And with the support of Telenor, 5G power tools could well be next on dtac’s list.



About dtac

Total Access Communication PLC or dtac is a leading mobile operator in Thailand, providing 5G, 4G, 3G, and 2G services to over 19 million subscribers. Through its highly advanced digitalization initiatives, dtac (Stock Exchange of Thailand symbol: DTAC) is committed to empowering its customers to live the life they truly want, connecting them to what matters most, and empowering society.