Private 5G Network Emerges as Key Technology Enabler for Smart Factories & Smart Buildings

Private or local 5G network technology is one of key technology enablers to build smart factories and smart cities.

Ensuring better security and better reliability, the private 5G network supports low-latency machine-to-machine communications, low-power IoT sensors, mission-critical voice and video radio communications.

Especially, the private 5G network is a dedicated telecommunication backbone technology to allow private entities and municipalities to build their own 5G networks across limited spaces of premises like factories and office buildings, if they win licenses for 5G radio spectrum.

As the shift to DX, or digital transformation platform is gaining speed across manufacturers, retailers, and even government offices, system integration (SI) vendors as well as cloud service providers are racing to get private 5G  network licenses to capitalize on the shift.        

Cases in point are LG CNS and Naver Cloud of Korea. LG CNS, the country’s SI service provider has applied with the Ministry of Science and ICT for a private 5G concession.

Once the license won, the SI service provider plans to service its private 5G network to help manufacturers across the country to rebuild their facility around smart factory solution by combining it with its already-released smart factory solution Factova.

Coming built with AI, Big Data Analytics, and IoTs,  Factova is an integrated smart factory platform that is designed to help build data-based intelligent factories.

Once combined with the private 5G network, the smart factory platform will recalibrate factories to become intelligent enough to gather and analyze big data through all manufacturing processes and then automatically act to do what they are supposed to do.

LG CNS said that it had test-run its Factova smart factory platform in sync with a public 5G network to see whether it serves as a brain to intelligently control its partner company’s manufacturing lines and monitoring system.

The dry-run proves a big success, motivating LG to jump on the private 5G network bandwagon.

LG CNS has a proven track record in various smart factory build-up projects.

The SI service provider has played a key role in building up smart factories for consumer electronics maker LG Electronics, electronics parts and components makers LG Innotek, petrochemical company LG Chem, and display panel maker LG Display.

The Korean government opened up a bid  for the private 5G radio spectrum licenses in 2021, paving the way for prospective license winners to ride on exclusively dedicated 5G network of 4.7GHz or  28GHz radio frequency  offer a variety of services like smart factory and smart city solutions.

As the private 5G network is structured to exclusively used for a limited and dedicated space, it can be better optimized for smart factory and smart city service that public 5G network.

Naver Cloud, a subsidiary of Naver Inc., the country’s largest search engine portal, is also betting on the bandwagon.

Naver Cloud’s fleet of 5G brainless robots

The cloud service provider had become the country’s first business entity in late 2021 to win the private 5G network license with an ambitious plan to use the private 5G radio spectrum as a backbone network to make its headquarters building a smart premise.

Naver Cloud plans to build the private 5G network around it headquarters building premise to control and supervise movements and interactions between a fleet of service robots.

Connected to the private 5G network, the robots will move inside the building premises to carry back and forth lunch boxes, deliveries, cups of coffees and beverages.

Dubbed as a fleet of 5G brainless robots, the AGV robots is a sort of dumb robots that come with no sensor system but a built-in camera not only to detect and recognize objects but also avoid collisions.

Rather, the private 5G-based cloud system remotely and seamlessly commands and controls their movements in real time taking advantage of the low latency of the private 5G network.

Naver Cloud still has no immediate plan to commercially offer this 5G-bsed cloud command and control system to help other business entities, but it is certain that the service provider will soon open and launch the service for their cloud service clients as a value-added one.                

Naver Cloud will service cloud data centers and private 5G networks, while Naver Labs will offer ultra-large AI and 5G brainless robots. 

Naver will use the robot-friendly building as a global showcase to demonstrate how a private 5G networks, cloud, robots, autonomous driving, digital twin, and AI are connected to make offices, or buildings far smarter.