07.12.2022

wheel.me, Telefónica Germany and Hewlett Packard Enterprise to cooperate on mobile robot solutions

Telefónica Germany, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) and the Norwegian scale-up wheel.me have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to work together on mobile robot solutions based on state-of-the-art 5G networking and edge computing.

A first practical study (PoC) demonstrates the performance of 5G campus networks and edge computing in the real-time orchestration of autonomously driving robotic wheels from wheel.me. The showcase also illustrates the synergy effects of the solutions and the benefits for the logistics and manufacturing industry.

During the demonstration, wheel.me's robotic wheels were used in a typical material handling use-case. They autonomously transported goods from the warehouse to the workstations, bypassing objects and workers. To do this, the wheels needed to create and calculate a 3D image of the factory floor to autonomously decide on the best root to take.

Telefonica Germany's 5G Campus network and Hewlett Packard Enterprise's edge computing infrastructure made it possible to analyze the large volumes of data generated in real time to optimize the performance of the wheels. For applications like the one demonstrated, low latency is critical for success. 5G provides a high-speed data link between the device and the base station and by providing computing and storage resources close to the local network, edge computing further lowers latency by eliminating connection to central cloud data centers. 

Pushing the boundaries of robotics, 5G and edge computing

The collaboration between Telefonica Germany, Hewlett Packard Enterprise and wheel.me demonstrates how the combination of 5G campus networks and edge computing fulfills the real-time promise of 5G and enables applications that would not be feasible with other networking solutions. It also exemplifies how an ecosystem of solution providers can work together to deliver powerful solutions while dramatically reducing the complexity of digitization and automation projects for end customers. This will be achieved by transforming a disjointed value chain into the value network of a partner ecosystem. 

"The collaboration with HPE and wheel.me is a great example of an ecosystem which allows clients to get all components for their complex digitalization project fully integrated as an embedded solution and out of one hand. Creating a partner ecosystem is a key element in Telefonica Germany's approach to make 5G Campus networks easily accessible to industry customers and enable them to make the most of it," says Leonard Michalas, Business Manager at Telefonica Germany. 

"We see a huge potential in utilizing private 5G networks and Edge computing as a way to manage our autonomous wheels. With stable, safe, and high-speed connections we can offboard data processing from the wheels to the edge, shifting computing power to central locations and thereby allowing large amounts of data to be analyzed on-site and in real-time," says Stefan Hollander, Chief Executive Officer at wheel.me.

"5G aims to become for the enterprise what 4G was for the consumer, a platform for a revolution in the consumption of data. Private 5G and a rich partner ecosystem with key operators like Telefonica and innovative scale-ups like wheel.me, allow the realization of key use cases like the one demonstrated in this PoC, and generate expertise and confidence in the technology, which enable full scale deployment and industry reach," said Ignacio Garcia-Carrillo, Telco Infrastructure Business Development Leader, Global, HPE.

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