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Samsung and AT&T create US 5G manufacturing ‘Innovation Zone’

Samsung Electronics America (SEA) and Samsung Austin Semiconductor (SAS) are working with AT&T to create America’s first manufacturing-focused 5G “Innovation Zone” in Austin, Texas, USA.

With 5G promising to eventually usher in a new era for manufacturing, this new zone will help provide crucial insight into how smart manufacturing can evolve and strengthen the industry at large.

5G is set to be the next generation of mobile communications. Its delivery objectives, covering chipsets, devices, and other equipment, include reduced latency, high data rates, higher system capacity and massive device connectivity.

The goal of the new 5G-powered testbed is to provide tangible results for a better understanding of how 5G can affect manufacturing, as well as to provide insight into the future of a smart factory.

The 5G-enabled “Innovation Zone” sits within Samsung Austin Semiconductor’s semiconductor fabrication facilities. It will harness Samsung’s 5G equipment as well as AT&T’s 5G wireless technology.

AT&T Business Chief Marketing Officer, Mo Katibeh, notes that this project is an industry first. “We’re testing the real-world impact 5G will have on the manufacturing industry.

“Ultimately, we will use what we learn from this 5G ‘Innovation Zone’ to help create better technology experiences and improvements in SAS’s plant, along with creating a future blueprint for people and businesses across all industries.”

5G-enabled technologies promise to eventually have a significant impact on the development of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, particularly for connected manufacturing.

5G support has the potential to unlock new experiences in AR, powerful machine learning and AI applications, and to provide the next step in intelligent robotics and predictive maintenance.

Some of the new technologies and use cases that SEA and AT&T may explore in the SAS Innovation Zone include 4K video as a sensor to improve plant security and detection response, industry IoT sensors to monitor for environmental and equipment conditions, AR and VR for employee training, and enhanced location services for plant safety.

“As we evolve into a smart factory, Samsung Austin Semiconductor is continuously focused on leveraging data and automation to increase system performance,” says Dr. Sang-Pil Sim, President of SAS.

“This collaboration with Samsung Electronics America and AT&T will help us test how a 5G network can improve mobility, performance and efficiencies within our plant.”

This announcement marks a step forward on the way to the widespread commercialisation and use of 5G technologies. In September, Samsung announced its first 5G city, which tests diverse 5G use cases and learn technical requirements from its real-world application.

“We’re hard at work deploying our commercial mobile 5G network for people and businesses in parts of a dozen cities by the end of this year,” says Igal Elbaz, Senior Vice President of Wireless Technology at AT&T.

“Seeing a number of technologies enhanced and improved by 5G at a large manufacturing plant will give us an exciting glimpse into a 5G world, which is closer than ever.”