Smart manufacturer to use Microsoft private 5G network

Smart manufacturer to use Microsoft private 5G network

17 December 2020 | Alan Burkitt-Gray

Cover

Microsoft subsidiary Affirmed Networks is to build a private 5G network for Inventec, a Taiwanese technology maker.

Affirmed Networks, which became part of Microsoft earlier in 2020, said it will supply a cloud-native 5G standalone network to the company to allow the use of internet of things (IoT) technology in its manufacturing of computers, telephones, notebooks and servers.

Sanjay Mewada (pictured), chief strategy and marketing officer at Affirmed Networks, said: “Inventec is ensuring that its smart manufacturing initiative is equipped with the flexibility, security and performance required to deliver upon its Industry 4.0 vision.”

Albert Chen, Affirmed’s senior VP, said the company is moving towards digital operations and robotic automation for large-scale manufacturing, which it is calling Industry 4.0.

“Inventec has fully embraced the Industry 4.0 initiative, as it is in direct alignment with our focus on innovation and our digital transformation strategy,” he said. “As the most critical component of IoT and smart manufacturing, connectivity must be ubiquitous, reliable and secure. After evaluating some of the more traditional approaches, we realised that the implementation of our own private 5G network was the best way to ensure we had ‘always on’ coverage.”

The cloud-based 5G system will connect for Inventec’s automatic optical inspection systems. The company said that by using advanced technologies to automate and improve operations, Industry 4.0 enables companies to proactively respond to changing environments and markets.

“Inventec is an example of an innovative company that seeks to use cutting-edge technology to deliver on its digital transformation objectives and ambitions,” said Mewada.

Microsoft announced the acquisition of Affirmed Networks in March 2020 and completed the deal a month later.

Yousef Khalidi, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s Azure Networking, explained at the time: “Affirmed Networks’ fully virtualised, cloud-native mobile network solutions enable operators to simplify network operations, reduce costs and rapidly create and launch new revenue-generating services.” Shortly afterwards Microsoft bought Metaswitch Networks, another maker of cloud-based wireless networks.