Deutsche Telekom positions itself as a safe pair of hands for industry 4.0 push
- Operator confirms three new partners to help it address smart factory vertical
- Builds on last month's campus networks deal with Ericsson
- Will DT's credentials make German enterprises hesitate about acquiring spectrum?
Why bother yourself with the faff of acquiring and operating your own private 5G spectrum, when faithful old Deutsche Telekom has got you covered?
This is my interpretation of the recent Industry 4.0-related messages coming from Bonn, anyway.
The German incumbent spent €2.17 billion on 5G spectrum earlier this year, in an auction where regulator BNetzA earmarked a chunk of 3.7-3.8-GHz frequencies for private enterprises. That allocation was made after the likes of BASF, Siemens, and Volkswagen showed interest in having their own frequencies. So, not only does DT need to work hard to earn a return on its auction outlay, but it also has to win hearts and minds so that big industrial players think twice about ploughing their own furrow.
To that end, Deutsche Telekom this week confirmed three recent partnerships that will help it address the smart factory vertical: EK Automation, Konica Minolta, and Endress+Hauser.
EK Automation – which makes automated guided vehicles (AGVs) for factory floors – partnered with Deutsche Telekom in July. Together they have equipped AGVs with 3D cameras to help with obstacle detection. The vehicles send images over 5G almost in real time to an edge cloud that analyses them to identify potential obstructions.
With Konica Minolta, Deutsche Telekom is helping the venerable Japanese imaging specialist further develop its AIRe Lens augmented reality glasses. To cut a long story short, they're working on embedding the product with 5G connectivity. AIRe is pitched at manufacturing use cases; Konica Minolta claims it helps to reduce assembly time and errors by overlaying with instructions an employee's view of whatever it is they are putting together.
Finally, Swiss-based Endress+Hauser, which makes measurement and process automation technology, has partnered with Deutsche Telekom to equip its sensors with 5G modules. Information sent to the cloud for analysis can be used for predictive maintenance.
"We enjoy working with renowned and experienced partners. More and more industries are being added. In this way, our offering is becoming increasingly complete," said Claudia Nemat, board member for technology and innovation at Deutsche Telekom.
Indeed, the message from DT to potential manufacturing clients couldn't be any clearer: It's a familiar face, partnering to lend its expertise to leaders in technology for industrial applications, promising to take away the stresses and strains of going it alone with a campus 5G network deployment.
As for that campus infrastructure, Deutsche Telekom has already made moves to tick that box too.
Last month it announced a partnership with Ericsson that will see them jointly offer enterprise networking delivered over a combination of public and private cellular, as well as Wi-Fi.
"With its campus networks, Telekom is the first network operator to offer an infrastructure for the smart factory of tomorrow," the operator says.
In other words: securing your own spectrum is like the dog who caught the car, best stick with us instead.
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