Verizon powers industrial 5G applications with startups

Verizon on Wednesday outlined four 5G-powered applications for manufacturing developed by a group of startups working in the carrier’s 5G Studio lab.

The applications focus on industrial uses and leverage technologies in robotics, sensors, IoT, machine learning and AI, and video monitoring. Behind the use cases are four startups including IronYun, Orangewood Labs, Sixdof Space, and Wheel.Me.  

Work began this September at Newlab, where the carrier’s 5G Ultra Wideband network using millimeter wave spectrum and mobile edge compute capabilities are installed. Newlab is part of a 300-acre industrial campus located in the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

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December marks the showcase for the lab’s third cohort of startups, which used 5G to enhance processes, as well as safety, for manufacturing, warehousing and supply chain resilience.  

Here’s a rundown of the companies and technologies:

IronYun is a Stamford, Connecticut-based startup that leveraged its Vaidio AI Vision platform on an HD camera installed at Newlab to track movements in a warehouse environment. It successfully flagged security concerns or if safety protocols weren’t being followed. The application used Verizon’s private network 5G OnSite product (launched this summer) to process barcode scanning to detect and alert if employees weren’t wearing PPE or were carrying certain items. The Vaidio platform orchestrates AI engines for video search and analytics in near real-time.

San Francisco-based Orangewood Labs builds industrial robotics arms and deployed a stationary robot arm at the lab. It was controlled via 5G OnSite and was able to perform tasks like Pick & Place and detect objects. Part of the aim is to increase throughput and help address labor shortages. Verizon said Orangewood demonstrated efficiency of Verizon’s 5G private network infrastructure in an Industry 4.0 environment. The robot reacted in near real-time as it trained the Orangewood software at 10x speeds.

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Sixdof Space, based in Israel, is focused on location-based tracking tech. It built a patented high-speed optical tracking devices that uses visible or infrared lighting as location sensors. Sixdof Space products can be embedded in manufacturer’s existing hardware and report accurate positions up to 1,000 times per second to a host system. Verizon said the startup used 5G mmWave to enhance prediction of collision risks and enable near real-time data transfer between the tracking sensors, which continuously map the warehouse environment, and software to detect motion across the facility.

Meanwhile, Norway-based Wheel.Me is a robotics and IoT startup focused on smart autonomous wheels for indoor use. Wheel.Me used both Verizon’s On Site 5G and edge compute to offboard data processing from the wheels. In a pilot, LIDAR sensor guided wheels moved autonomously around the lab while without hitting objects or workers, while carrying an industrial container

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Verizon SVP of New Business Incubation Elise Neel in a statement said that the combo of Verizon’s 5G network, edge compute and next-gen software proved to deliver on accelerated services for the next wave of industrial users.

“These network and software technologies have the power to transform the future of manufacturing and warehousing and we are excited to build upon the prior success of the 5G Studio with the third cohort’s impactful projects,” Neel continued.

Verizon and Newlab launched the 5G Studio in 2020 to help support and speed up the development of industry applications that can leverage the carrier’s 5G mmWave network. Providing an environment where companies can get access to 5G technology and other resources to develop use cases is an avenue other carriers have also followed as they aim to find new ways to put their 5G to work in the real world. As one example, earlier this year T-Mobile launched its own new 5G incubator program for startups in the 500-acre smart city tech park of Peachtree Corners.