Exploring big data and 5G cloudification
Italy is known for its food, wine, and fascinating history. However, there’s more to the nation than meets the eye: it’s currently at the center of a collaborative effort to investigate the benefits of 5G and the services it could enable.
Ericsson is leading the project and in collaboration with Italy’s largest operator, TIM (Telecom Italia Mobile), the partners are exploring the technologies and use cases that could make these services possible.
The two companies have a long and successful history of collaboration. TIM offers fixed, mobile and internet services and now the operator is combining its expertise with Ericsson’s to bring together the players that will enable 5G services in Italy.
“Through this agreement, we aim to accelerate the development of next-generation network standardization, establish a cross-industry ecosystem in Italy and increase awareness around 5G as an enabler to foster innovation for new business,” says Mario Di Mauro, Head of Strategy, TIM.
Telecom Italia’s involvement in the project is highly significant. It means that necessary updates to the network can be made in parallel with the development of these new services – making it easier to move from idea to proof of concept.
Creating a partner ecosystem
The project is still in its early stages. However, Ericsson and TIM have already defined a potential partner ecosystem to drive specific use cases. These use cases encompass a wide range of sectors – such as transport, industry, retail and agriculture – that are likely to drive 5G deployment.
All of the projects involve connecting people, objects and the cloud, in order to optimize processes, enhance safety and reduce costs. This also allows big data to be collected and analyzed, which provides vastly improved information and insights.
Examples include a connected port for the automation of container loading and unloading; smart tagging to enable luxury goods authenticity and tracking; and mobile cloud robotics for industrial automation.
A first project will be on secured cloudification and the safe handling of data generated in production processes; an important consideration when such large amounts of data are being transferred. The resulting insights could support all of the services enabled by Ericsson’s 5G projects in Italy, and allow businesses to use applications remotely, without risking security breaches.
A new era
With lower latency and higher bandwidth than 4G, it is expected that 5G will rewrite what’s possible in terms of connectivity. The implications for manufacturing in particular, are huge. In the future, many industrial functions will become virtualized and the entire factory could be controlled remotely via mobile devices. This would allow continuous monitoring of the production chain, rapid intervention if a fault develops and more flexibility and optimization during the factory footprint output.
The implications for mobile operators are, of course, also significant. In this new era, their role will be transformed, with telecoms and IT integrated like never before. They will play a key role in supporting industries, with partnerships established on multiple layers, ranging from sharing of infrastructure, to exposing specific network capabilities as an end-to-end service.
The mobile operator cloud will also provide storage and computing facilities for monitoring data, statistics and control services. This new situation raises a range of issues around security and will require specific security solutions to be put in place.
Ultimately, the project aims to discover new and exciting business models and services – that can be implemented in a safe and secure way – which will benefit consumers and industries around the world.
Big data, big opportunities
Big data is big news for industries around the world. Analytics-generated insights are increasingly driving decision making, and with the speed of 5G, more information will be able to be collected and processed, faster than ever before.
However, big data raises numerous security questions. The operator will provide data storage and real-time analytics, which will take place in the cloud. And this means that businesses will need to place a lot of trust in service providers.
The answer will be to dynamically and proactively put in place specific solutions, such as monitoring, analysis and a pervasive control on deployed corporate networks. Operators will also be required to establish application security layers, including authentication, authorization, integrity and confidentiality of data, in addition to the precautions already taken in ‘traditional’ legacy networks and applications.
Addressing these security concerns is a central part of Ericsson and TIM’s 5G partnership. A first pilot will explore the safe handling of data in production processes, and through the use of a secured private network, it will demonstrate how service providers can provide resources, without ever being aware of the data content.