LIVE FROM MWC21 LOS ANGELES: IBM CTO for networking and edge computing Rob High (pictured, left) identified devices such as a maintenance robot named Spot as the so-called killer application for 5G, citing wide potential benefits in industry.

In a keynote presentation made alongside robotics company Boston Dynamics, IBM highlighted the benefits of systems employing edge technology together with private 5G in industrial scenarios.

The pair focused on uses for Spot to assess the performance of analogue machinery still in use.

“For all my network operator friends in the audience who keep asking what’s the killer app for 5G? This is it,” High said. “It’s around production processes valuable to industries that are needed, and need 5G to accomplish their tasks to maintain operational readiness and efficiencies.”

“That’s where 5G is going to have its biggest benefit,” he added, noting although the maintenance robot did a lot of local processing it needed to be on a communications network as it was programmed to raise urgent issues.

Boston Dynamics’ chief sales officer Mike Pollitt (pictured, right) highlighted Spot’s ability to assess machinery and other assets across industrial sites in difficult-to-reach areas and those dangerous for humans.

Potential uses include taking readings from analogue machines, proactive maintenance and general site investigation.

High added with a long asset life on much industrial machinery, these types of technological solutions could fill the “data gap” by assessing sites without the need to retrofit connectivity hardware into every piece of equipment.

The robotics company has been working with IBM on industrial deployments with Spot relying on the latter’s application management system.