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Colt ramps up IBM relationship with industry 4.0 lab

Cloud and network services provider Colt has teamed up with IBM to drive the adoption of industry 4.0.

On Wednesday they opened a new lab in the UK that will offer enterprises in the manufacturing sector hands-on experience with various applications enabled by their cloud and edge networking solutions. Three use cases are available at launch: edge-based visual inspection to identify faulty parts or supply chain issues; security that monitors and protects data across the IT, OT and cloud environment; and supply chain telemetry to identify and address shortages.

“The partnership between Colt and IBM enables us to bring the best combination of connectivity, edge, security and asset performance management, enabling our manufacturing clients to capture the value of data processing at the edge,” said Jose Favilla, director and industry 4.0 global leader at IBM, in a statement.

The opening of the lab builds on the strategic partnership established between Colt and IBM in July last year. Under the deal, the companies agreed to work together on innovative hybrid cloud and edge compute use cases.

“Colt and IBM have been working in collaboration for many years, and the launch of the joint lab is a customer showcase for the power of our work together,” said Mirko Voltolini, Colt’s VP of innovation. “Industry 4.0 has huge potential for the manufacturing sector, and the lab is an exciting next step for Colt and IBM as we support enterprises to improve the visibility, analysis, performance and maintenance of their industrial systems and operations.”

Showcasing the benefits of cloud and edge compute is all well and good, but there are other significant barriers to industry 4.0 adoption that need to come down too. ABI Research in August warned that a dearth of 5G industrial devices is holding back the manufacturing sector’s adoption of private 5G networking, said to be one of several important ingredients to industry 4.0. The analyst firm said educating enterprises about the potential of private wireless networking is critical when it comes to driving adoption.

Despite these hurdles, ABI predicts that industrial private 5G connections are still expected to reach 49 million worldwide by the end of the decade, generating $2.4 billion in connectivity revenue for suppliers.

Meanwhile, it has been a good week for the UK when it comes to new laboratories. Ericsson on Tuesday announced it will spend tens of millions of pounds over the next decade on a new facility tasked with researching various aspects of 6G. These include network resilience and security, AI, cognitive networks, and energy efficiency.

And just over a month ago, the UK opened a new Telecommunications Lab in Solihull, near Birmingham, which will look into network security and performance, with more than half an eye on what these will look like when it comes to 6G.

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