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Speeding up the replication of successful 5G use cases

(First posted April 2023; video added July 2023.) Since the 5G era started in 2019, the technology has been applied successfully in a growing range of industries. To further speed up the spread of 5G, a lab in Suzhou, China, welcomes commercial users to test out how they can apply 5G to their business. 

Opened in October 2022, the 5G + XtoB Joint Innovation Lab is operated by Huawei and several industry research institutes. One of its main focuses is the standardization of successful 5G solutions so that they can be more efficiently replicated and transferred. Since 2019, 5G has been successfully used in mining, ports, the steel industry, manufacturing, healthcare, and a variety of other sectors. In the lab’s name, XtoB means that the facility looks at how to integrate 5G with other (+X) technologies (cloud, AI, etc) to benefit businesses (toB).

 5G + XtoB Joint Innovation Lab in Suzhou

“Over the past three or four years, 5G has entered commercial use in nearly 100 industries,” says Wang Yongde, Director of Huawei's 5GtoB Solutions Dept. “The value of the technology has been verified through real-world uses.” 

Supported by national policies, 5G will see wider commercial adoption through the joint efforts of carriers, equipment suppliers, and industry players, Wang believes. “5G is now entering a period of large-scale commercial deployment, partly because several Chinese industries are seeking to implement a digital transformation,” he says. The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, he notes, has proposed to create fully-connected factories at 10,000 companies. National policies will support this effort that will involve telco carriers, equipment suppliers, and industry players.

 Wang Yongde, Director of Huawei's 5GtoB Solutions Dept

The 5G + XtoB Joint Innovation Lab is the first of its kind in China. It is a place where industry partners work alongside each other to incubate innovative solutions in fields such as industrial control systems, IoT, machine vision, and the real-time tracking and localization in large physical spaces of workers, equipment, parts, and materials. It lets industry customers pre-integrate and test multiple technologies, to facilitate real-world implementation of 5G solutions at their site. To date (May 2023), 11 commercial 5G standardizations have been completed, making it easier for companies to implement 5G in their business.  

AI-powered Advanced Intelligent Sensing

Other than development and standardization of 5G solutions, the lab also serves as a venue to facilitate interdisciplinary exchanges between partners from industry research institutes, universities, telcos, and companies. To encourage industry-academia collaboration, the lab held ten conferences and events in its first eight months of operation. 

“Cooperating with the lab has helped me with a number of challenges,” says Professor Zhou Peng from University of Science and Technology Beijing. For instance, the lab provided him with data on high-temperature and high-speed scenarios. Zhou specializes in the application of machine vision and intelligent sensing technologies to industrial scenarios. 

Professor Zhou Peng, University of Science and Technology Beijing

With 5G entering a period of large-scale deployment, standardization is the key to addressing new challenges and accelerating industry development. Moving forward, the 5G + XtoB Joint Innovation Lab will continue to innovate with partners to enable the efficient, large-scale replication and transfer of successful 5G cases.

Venezuelan resident of Shenzhen Rafael Saavedra (Rafa) creates videos that describe Chinese scientific and technological developments to global audiences.  Below is what he came away with in Suzhou (posted courtesy of Rafa).