Orange's latest 5G Lab goes live in Antwerp

13 October 2021 | Melanie Mingas

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Orange Belgium has officially opened its Orange 5G Lab in Antwerp where it will test and develop 5G standalone (SA) technology.

It is Orange's eighth lab – and Orange Belgium's first – with other facilities located across Europe, each with a radio network directly connected to the Orange 5G Core system. The Antwerp lab will showcase a robotic arm, demonstrating human-robot co-working enabled by 5G; autonomous driving on rails; and industrial 5G use cases.

In addition, the Orange 5G Lab hosts various types of certified 5G devices, including routers, smartphones, tablets, smart glasses and cameras, that work on a 5G SA network and are tested and validated by Orange engineers.

Karine Dussert-Sarthe, EVP Orange innovation marketing and design of the Orange Group, said: “Our growing network of Orange 5G Labs unlocks innovation from Paris to Bucharest and fosters collaboration across the ecosystem – 140 businesses have explored 5G in detail with us.  More than 40 have benefited from complimentary customised support to prototype how 5G can support their own products or services to unlock value. We are thrilled to open our latest hub for co-innovation in Belgium - a market fully immersed in building ground-breaking 5G use-cases that will change how businesses operate.”

The network of 5G Labs was announced in February and the launch in Antwerp this week builds on the work undertaken at the Orange 5G SA campus in the Port of Antwerp, where the operator's trial 5G network went live in 2020.

The opening was attended by Orange executives, media and Flemish Minister of Youth, Brussels and Media, Benjamin Dalle.

They witnessed 5G enabled human-robot co-working – on track to redefine manufacturing over the coming years – developed with Robotics supplier Staubli and Mixed Reality solution provider Mr Watts. Using 5G, the robot is remotely controlled via smart glasses connected to the Orange network and uses augmented reality to visualise the interactions with the robot.

Autonomous driving capability – developed with OTIV, a startup selected via the Orange Fab acceleration scheme – was demonstrated saw a train equipped with cameras and sensors and an AI engine that provides assistance to the driver by automatically detecting obstacles alerting or stopping the train accordingly. This use case is of particular interest to large industrial plants with rails and where multiple wagons are pushed by trains which have poor visibility at the front wagon.

Moving forward, Orange will invite corporate and industrial clients to the venue to see 5G SA technology in action.

Werner De Laet (pictured), chief enterprise, wholesale and innovation officer of Orange Belgium, said: “The opening of this Orange 5G Lab is an important new step towards unlocking the full potential of 5G SA technology and delivering concrete business value. By inviting customers, prospects and partners to use the lab to discover, develop and test 5G solutions, Orange Belgium will foster digital innovation and create value for the whole Belgian economy and even beyond."