Private LTE on the rise as Nokia bags BMW deal

Nick Wood
By Nick Wood

Nov 8, 2018

via Flickr © Raito Akehanareru (CC BY-SA 2.0)

via Flickr © Raito Akehanareru (CC BY-SA 2.0)

  • China Unicom provides underlying connectivity
  • Car maker to use M2M to connect industrial robots
  • Private LTE market expected to top $27bn by 2024

Private LTE networks are continuing their rise, underscored this week by Nokia and China Unicom announcing a deal with BMW.

The German car maker is building a new factory in Shenyang, modestly-named BMW Brilliance Automotive. To help the facility live up to its lofty title, Nokia has been chosen to deploy a private LTE network, which will support run-of-the-mill communications between workers, but also some of the more futuristic services, including M2M communication between industrial robots.

The deal comes hot on the heels of Nokia's announcement in mid-October that it was deploying the same kit at its Chennai factory in India, using BSNL's LTE network for the underlying connectivity.

While private LTE networks are nothing new, their commercial deployment seems to be gathering pace, as demand from public safety agencies is now being augmented by demand from the enterprise sector.

According to Global Market Insights, the global private LTE market is expected to be worth $27 billion by 2024. North America is expected to account for 40 percent of that sum, but if Nokia keeps it up, Asia-Pacific looks likely to claim its fair share of the spoils too.

Full press release below:

  • Companies create private LTE network at BMW Brilliance Automotive Ltd plant in China's Liaoning province

  • Leverages Nokia virtualized Multi-access Edge Computing and China Unicom's 4G LTE network to process data closer to where it is being used

  • Enables secure low-latency communications for business-critical applications such as object tracking, video surveillance and analytics

7 November 2018

Espoo, Finland - Nokia and China Unicom have created a private LTE network for a BMW Brilliance Automotive Ltd* plant being built in Shenyang city in the Liaoning province of China. The Nokia virtualized Multi-access Edge Computing (vMEC) solution will leverage China Unicom's 4G LTE network to provide low-latency support for smart manufacturing activities at the plant.

The Nokia MEC platform leverages communications service providers' secure LTE networks to process data closer to where it is being used, delivering an ultra-responsive experience for business-critical applications. It allows enterprises such as manufacturers to connect assets using sensors and automate activities including object tracking, video surveillance and video analytics, resulting in enhanced operational efficiency and reduced costs.

China Unicom is running the Nokia vMEC solution over its network following deployment, which was completed in October. Once integration with the enterprise network is complete, the private LTE network will support secure voice and data communication between staff at the plant as well as machine-to-machine communication including wireless video monitoring, production line maintenance inspection, indoor navigation, industrial robots and indoor navigation.

Nokia is committed to the use of private LTE, 5G, cloud and intelligent software to drive the digital transformation of industries and make factories, supply chains and logistics more nimble, transparent and secure. Wireless connectivity of IoT sensors offer enterprises more control over their operations, instantly relaying data to enhance operations.

Gao Bo, head of the China Unicom customer team at Nokia Shanghai Bell said: "Smart manufacturing is a key priority for the transformation of the manufacturing industry in China and we are pleased to work with China Unicom on this important project. Being a software-only solution, the Nokia vMEC can be integrated easily into existing enterprise IT infrastructure to enhance business-critical processes and deliver new operational efficiency." 

* BMW Brilliance Automotive Ltd. is a joint venture between the BMW Group and Brilliance China Automotive Holdings Ltd.

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