Telia, Nokia take 5G to the ports, test tech in electricity grids


Telia's emerging businesses arm Division X and Nokia taking part in a series of industrial trials exploring how 5G's ultra-reliable low latency communications (URLLC) can aid smart electricity and harbour automation.

The telcos are part of the Wireless for Verticals research project, comprising the public sector body Business Finland, academic organisations and enterprises.

Nokia worked with automation company ABB in the first trial, which showed how URLLC could be deployed to ensure faults are near instantly reported in medium voltage electricity networks. Low latency communications would ensure a network would keep running, personnel will be kept safe and equipment will remaining undamaged.

Petri Hovila, Program Manager at ABB, said: "Managing power distribution networks with an increasing amount of distributed energy resources and an increasing need of flexibility requires advanced technology for protection, control and monitoring.

"The 5G URLLC technology provides an affordable communication platform for deployment of these advanced technologies. The results of the WIVE project are encouraging for future utility-scale implementation of 5G."

A second trial, involving Nokia and cargo handling company Kalmar, used URLLC to advance the automation of container yard operations.

Automation research Director Pekka Yli-Paunu from Kalmar said: "Network slicing in 5G networks brings a higher level of predictability and control for our safety-related applications. 5G connections should work at the same level of reliability, latency, and bandwidth as cables, and its management should be simple enough."

Participants in WIVE have said that 5G would present a huge economic potential to the industrial internet, ensuring the quality of safety automation, remote control of hardware and energy efficient power and storage.

Mikko Uusitalo, Head of wireless advanced technologies research at Nokia, said: "Industry collaboration is essential in fostering innovation around 5G and for enabling different industries to take full advantage of the promises of 5G, especially the low latency combined with high reliability.

"The WIVE project has provided us with greater insight into the requirements and opportunities for experimentation to test our solutions. In this project, Nokia created concepts of how to make 5G URLLC possible and implemented some of these technologies as a prototype that has been tested. It is great to see the solutions moving towards reality."

Tomi Sarajisto, Research Manager from Telia Company's emerging businesses unit Division X said: "Within the WIVE project we are working with participating companies to accelerate the industrial revolution in Finland. Telia has explored new areas where 5G solutions will most likely produce breakthroughs in introducing new, more effective processes. In the trials we studied how lightning-fast 5G will advance electricity grid infrastructure protection and harbor automation."