PARTNER CONTENT: Region Authority Corporation is able to gain insight into, and then reorganize and construct, business processes at the enterprise level thanks to a convergence of Nokia’s technology. Citizen centered design is a cornerstone of contemporary city planning and construction. People’s holistic development should be prioritized, and everyone should benefit from urbanization. Cities and enterprises may be able to save money, energy, and resources by strategically integrating technologies in order to make strides toward sustainability goals. Industry 4.0 relies heavily on the connectivity provided by 5G networks. The 5G Era will lay the groundwork for building upon these advancements by enhancing existing services and paving the way for brand new commercial and practical opportunities.
Private wireless networks
Private wireless networks use cellular technologies as 4.9G/LTE and 5G to connect operational assets and consumers. Private wireless networks provide broadband connectivity like public networks but are owned and managed by the organization that constructed or bought them. Micro towers, small cells, edge routers, and other on-site equipment allow organizations to replicate a public cellular network with less congestion and higher cost-effectiveness, especially in locations without public LTE infrastructure.
The fourth revolution in industrial production
Industries are digitalizing. We’re entering the Fourth Industrial Revolution as 5G, virtualization/cloud, AI/ML, and IoT gain steam. It’s changing how organizations work, think, and service customers, and networks must adapt. We’re seeing unprecedented demand for corporate and operational process automation, simple digital applications/services, secure and reliable connectivity, which is excellent for a new generation of private wireless communications. Private wireless networks are 4.9G/LTE and 5G cellular networks tailored to a business, venue, or locality. Private wireless uses flexible spectrum access methods to operate on unlicensed, shared, or licensed spectrum to integrate sensors, machines, people, vehicles, and more across a wide range of applications and usage situations. It addresses dependability, service quality, security, and compliance with a single, scalable wireless networking solution.
Using digital metrics, private 5G and IoT may be able to predict the onset of illness at an early stage, enabling institutions to more efficiently deploy resources. Using digital measurements, doctors and insurance companies can monitor a patient’s improvement in areas of interest. Expanding use of digital tools in all phases of healthcare delivery has dramatically altered the course of discovery, diagnosis, and treatment in the medical sciences. Instead of randomly checking in with folks to see how they’re doing, private 5G and IoT may keep tabs on them right where they live. Digital instruments allow for the objective monitoring of patients’ day-to-day functioning. Such data could complement patient-reported outcomes.
A solid technological foundation is needed for cities to thrive. Changes in a city’s size, complexity, people movement, transportation, commerce, energy use, environment, and climate. Cities may employ 5G and IOT sensors to examine their existing state at any time. Population increase will stress the city’s infrastructure and operations. Cities require a robust technical foundation to become economic engines and high quality of life hotspots. Your city can become whatever you’ve imagined with Region Authority Corporation and Nokia. This means combining city operations and services with IT for improved and automated governance through complete and full perception, broadband and ubiquitous connectivity, with intelligent & integrated solutions. 5G networks support time-critical functions and the interoperability of mobile and wired Ethernet networks.
The new benchmark requires technology. When revenues and margins are under pressure, it may be hard to justify large CAPEX spending. Businesses must explore how technology might improve their personnel and internal processes. Businesses must now, more than ever, explore the entire breadth of how technology might improve their personnel and internal procedures. This careful balance of humans and systems is ultimately what leads to efficiency gains and long-term viability within financial restrictions.
Asset tracking helps firms discover and monitor important assets across the supply chain to optimize operations, maintain inventory levels, prevent quality issues, and uncover theft. Inefficient resource management, extra or unplanned costs, and poor customer experience arise from a lack of asset insight.
Warehouse automation use cases
Nokia and Region Authority Corporation Private industrial wireless networks can provide a single connectivity platform for end-to-end automation, replacing a mix of wireless technologies. Private wireless networks employing 4.9G/LTE and 5G can now enable a lengthy variety of automated warehouse use cases using unlicensed, shared, and licensed spectrum, devices, and chipsets.
1. Conveyor and sortation systems
Conventional systems are being replaced by modular conveyors (MDR), which allow independent operation for individual segments. MDRs are critical for enabling increasing goods-to-person workstations, robotic piece picking and bag order fulfillment. Easily reconfigured, MDRs increase flexibility and scalability, which calls for wireless as opposed to cabled connectivity. Private wireless can support data capture and analysis for improved maintenance practices including sensors that generate data and predictive recommendations to minimize system downtime. The same sensors that monitor the condition of equipment can alert a warehouse management system (WMS) to reallocate material flow from an overactive area to one that still has capacity, or simply slow down conveyors during lighter periods to reduce wear and tear.
2. Overhead systems
Especially good for omni-channel fulfillment, overhead systems are a very flexible system for order fulfillment for either stores or direct-to-consumer delivery. Pouches are tagged with RFID and the RFID readers can be linked to the LTE/5G network. This allows for more reading points, and it speeds reconfiguration. Data from the readers can be processed in the edge cloud that supports the wireless network by software analytics that manage the efficient loading, buffering, transport and sortation of pouches.
These are dense, automated systems for storing and retrieving both palletized and non-palletized goods in a small footprint and at varying speeds. One example of a non-palletized AS/RS is the “grid” developed by Ocado using robotic shuttles to lift and sort crates, either storing them or retrieving and transporting them to picker stations. The shuttles move horizontally over the AS/RS stacks, reaching down into them much like mini-overhead gantries. Moving at close to 9 mph (13 ft/s), the LTE wireless network can keep the 1,000+ shuttles connected to central software that manages their movements and coordinates the entire workflow. This contrasts with the Amazon AS/RS system, where the maximum speed of the robots is 5 mph on a modified Wi-Fi network.
4. Automated data collection (ADC)
Also known as automated identification and data capture (AIDC), these systems use a variety of ways to identify items from bar codes and optical character recognition (OCR) to RFID and BLE tags. The data collected on handled goods is used by warehouse automation software to optimize warehouse processes and provide visibility of goods across the distribution center, as well as upstream to manufacturers and downstream to retailers and their customers. There is a trend towards optical scanners that not only capture the product ID, but the condition of the product and handling process issues. Handheld and wearable wireless devices are increasingly using consumer operating systems such as Android for more intuitive human interfaces; thus, it is natural for them to connect to LTE and 5G
5. Autonomous mobile robots (AMR)
The challenges for many warehouses are dealing with small, multiple SKU orders and shorter delivery times. To pursue automation, 3PLs especially require highly flexible and configurable systems. Although AGVs are heavily used in most automated warehouses today, in order to promote agility and reconfigurability, the industry is moving to AMRs, replacing AGVs over time. AMRs can be used, for instance, to create a highly flexible AS/RS system such as Amazon’s Kiva AMRs.
AMRs used in automated warehouses will require robust wireless connectivity as they self-navigate using a variety of technologies (e.g. LiDAR, SLAM, HD cameras) through the facility. Through data exchanges with other AMRs and the central warehouse management Fleet Management software, they dynamically adjust their routes in real-time to avoid other AMRs and, based on predictive analytics, they can adjust routes in real time to optimize batches and pick paths. Some AGV vendors are adding dynamic routing and 3-D sensors to become more like AMRs, which also require more robust wireless connectivity. LTE and 5G wireless will support much higher speeds for AMRs than Wi-Fi, as discussed above.
6. Picking — The industry largely relies on handheld scanners and voice-directed systems for manual picking operations today. There is a multi-modal trend, however, to combine voice and data systems to support voice-directed work, the use of voice commands, barcode or RFID scanning as well as mini-tablet-like information screen. As with AMRs, warehouse management software can use algorithms to constantly assess orders and adjust pick paths to optimize batches. Both LTE and 5G support push-to-talk and push-to-video communications, as well as the higher bandwidth requirements for these new multi-modal terminals. If manual pickers are using UTVs to move at speed around the warehouse or yard, Wi-Fi will be unable to support these devices and traditional private radio will not be able to support the data. LTE/5G wireless will enable multimedia as well as mobility.
At the cutting edge, companies like DHL are trialing augmented reality goggles for “vision picking” that will require the higher bandwidths provided by LTE and 5G. On the horizon, robotic picking is getting faster and more accurate. It is expected that in some industries such as pharmaceuticals, grocery, and health and beauty, where SKUs are considered more pickable, robotic pickers will be adopted more quickly. Since many of these applications will be goods-to-robot scenarios, cabled communications are possible, however, wireless allows for rapid reconfiguration and scaling.
Additional warehouse use cases
Once installed in a plant, industrial wireless based on LTE and 5G can be utilized for a range of tasks not immediately linked to warehouse automation. These are summarized below.
- Worker health and safety — beyond arming workers with multi-modal scanners, headsets and vision-picking goggles, there is the entire area of smart personal protective equipment (PPE) that can be used to increase worker safety, alerting them to approaching vehicles, environmental hazards and other dangers, or monitoring their vital signs such as heart rate and body temperature to proactively warn them of health issues.
- VR/AR training — Beside helping workers to pick items, AR and virtual reality (VR) technologies can be used to train workers to operate more efficiently.
- Indoor and outdoor positioning — 5G radio-frequency (RF) positioning promises to achieve sub-meter positioning using multi-meter (MM) waves, although it requires dense radio coverage, so is one of those applications that makes most sense if 5G is already being used for another use case.
- Drone and video surveillance — both LTE and 5G support drone control and can backhaul video from the drone and stream audio to the drone for directing people verbally during an event.
- Video analytics — besides the video analytics used in optical scanning, CCTV and drone video can be backhauled using wireless and analyzed in the 5G edge cloud to identify everything from security intrusions to traffic congestion and obstacles for AMRs.
- Predictive maintenance — warehouse automation involves a lot of mechanical infrastructure that will need regular maintenance. Data from sensors on the equipment can be logged and analyzed in the 5G edge cloud to move from scheduled maintenance to condition-based and, finally, predictive maintenance for assets.
Regardless the sector or industry, we always incorporate standardized technologies that are up to date with international norms. The industries that we focus on are listed below.
|Environmental & Facilities Services
|Office Services & Supplies
|Heavy Electrical Equipment
|Electrical Components & Equipment
|Airlines, Air Freight & Logistics
|Marine Ports & Railroads
|Auto Parts & Equipment
|Tires & Rubber Hotels
|Apparel & Luxury Goods
|Food & Staples Retailing
|Health Care Equipment & Supplies
|Pharmaceuticals & Biotechnology
|Health Care REIT
|Containers & Packaging
|Diversified Telecommunication Services
|Wireless Telecommunication Services
Throughout the business lifecycle, we serve both public and private enterprises. The Nokia Digital Automation Cloud (DAC) platform supports critical areas of public and private enterprise digital transformation throughout the lifecycle. Management consulting is something we do. We are an indirect Nokia reseller, utilizing the Finnish company’s industry-leading private wireless technology. The Nokia Digital Automation Cloud (DAC) provides our clients with the flexibility they require to rapidly innovate and deliver new 5G-enabled services and user experiences. Region Authority Corporation is the enabler of Ultra-Reliable Low Latency Communications (URLLC) and massive Internet of Things (IoT). We provide scalable, efficient, and well-designed solutions. Whitepaper is now at:
Shuayb Greenaway, courtesy of Region Authority Corporation