Verizon Business and Deloitte create smart factory system

Verizon Business is working with the professional services company Deloitte to create 5G and mobile edge computing (MEC) solutions, specifically focused on manufacturing and retail. 

The collaboration will bring together Deloitte’s engineering expertise with Verizon’s mobile and private wireless networks and 5G Edge MEC platform, along with its SD-WAN capabilities.

Their first collaboration is the development of a smart factory solution at Verizon’s Customer Technology Center in Richardson, Texas. The system will use sensor-based detection coupled with MEC to identify and predict quality defects on the assembly line. And the system will automatically alert plant engineering and management in near real-time.

The companies will also combine their resources to reduce the need for manual quality inspection in factories. Their goal is to improve productivity, reduce production waste and improve plant efficiency. The combination of Verizon’s SD-WAN and VNS Application Edge will bring together software-defined controls and application lifecycle management.

“By bringing together Verizon’s 5G and MEC prowess with Deloitte’s deep industry expertise and track record in system integration with large enterprises on smart factories, we plan to deliver cutting-edge solutions that will close the gap between digital business operations and legacy manufacturing environments and unlock the value of the end-to-end digital enterprise,” said Tami Erwin, CEO of Verizon Business, in a statement. “This collaboration is part of Verizon’s broader strategy to align with enterprises, startups, universities and government to explore how 5G and MEC can disrupt and transform nearly every industry.”

RELATED: Verizon’s Vestberg makes private vs. public 5G MEC distinction

Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg recently said the carrier has two avenues for revenue from MEC: private MEC and public MEC. 

On the public side, Verizon has partnered with Amazon and turned on eight 5G MEC locations so far, with 10 expected by year’s end. For Verizon, “we get a revenue cut every time you use the mobile edge compute,” Vestberg said. “The public [use case] is the copy and paste from the normal cloud business that Amazon has but we do it on the edge."

On the private side, MEC is used in dedicated and confined areas. Vestberg called out environments like a factory, distribution center or large retail store, where businesses want to have high capacity and retain all of their data securely on site.

The collaboration with Deloitte would fall into the private MEC category. Similarly, earlier this month, Verizon Business said it was working with Corning to deploy in-building 5G sites at WeWork co-working locations.