The Smart Factory

The Smart Factory at Wichita, a Deloitte Consulting LLP project meant to demonstrate and extend the benefits and potential of smart “Industry 4.0” technology, is using Verizon Business’s private 5G network.

The project, which involves 20 organizations, is on the campus of Wichita State University in Kansas. Verizon is a “Building-level” participant. The overall goal is to innovate and use data to “improve real-time coordination between people and assets.” More specifically, The Smart Factory aims to improve shop floor visibility, enhance quality assurance and reduce defects, improve material handling automation and build workplace safety.

“The Smart Factory @ Wichita is a microcosm of industry 4.0 itself, with a wide range of enterprise partners, suppliers, researchers, and complementary technologies coming together in one ecosystem to make a supercharged impact. 5G brings massive bandwidth and incredibly fast data speeds to the equation to help make these impacts replicable in a plethora of business applications at virtually any scale — customers have the flexibility to dream big and start small,” Jennifer Artley, Verizon Business’s Senior Vice President, 5G Acceleration, said in a press release about the Verizon smart factory project. “5G is the backbone of Industry 4.0, and we’re so excited to bring it to Deloitte’s The Smart Factory @ Wichita to help catalyze scalable, collaborative innovation.”

The Smart Factory includes a fully operational production line and experiential labs for developing and exploring smart manufacturing technology and strategy. Elements of the vision include the IoT, cloud, artificial intelligence (AI), computer vision and other approaches that can contribute to interconnected systems that use data to drive real-time, intelligent decision-making.

Manufacturers are just one type of customer that Verizon sees for private wireless. Other uses so far are in the investment, shipping and healthcare sectors.

Last March, investment management firm BlackRock said that it would use a private 5G Verizon Business On Site network in its New York City headquarters.

In July, Verizon Business and Virginia International Terminals LLC (VIT) agreed to deploy the carrier’s On Site 5G Ultra Wideband network, a private 5G network, at the main Port of Virginia container terminal.

In May, 2021, Maggie Hallbach, Verizon Business’s Vice President of Business Development, Public Sector, told Telecompetitor about the interest among healthcare providers in the carrier’s private 5G core networks and private multi-access edge computing (MEC) services.

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