5G and enterprise solutions showcased at Nokia Technology Day

Communications equipment and systems provider Nokia showcased its 5G and enterprise solutions at Nokia Technology Day in Kuala Lumpur on 11 October 2022.

Nokia also reaffirmed its commitment to support enterprises in Malaysia in their digital transformation journey and advancing Malaysia’s Industry 4.0 roadmap.

The company also showcased some of its latest innovations, products and technologies, which were showcased at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, Spain from 28 February to 3 March 2022.

“We have a responsibility to develop technology to address the world’s challenges, such as climate change, so we need to reduce carbon emissions and the use of scarce natural resources is very important. Also, productivity is stalling, so we need to do something different, and are all talking about Industry 4.0 (IR4.0), which is where we can help increase productivity by leveraging upon technology” Datuk Mohd Rauf Nasir, Nokia Managing Director of Malaysia, Sri Lanka & Maldives who hosted the event.

“However, resistance to digitalisation amongst enterprises and industry, and inequitable access to opportunity still needs to be overcome, so education is important, and we think that technology can bridge the gap, so we are committed to deliver critical network through technology leadership and trusted partnership”, Datuk Rauf added.

Thus, Nokia aims to provide technology leadership, in areas such as cloud-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) and network-as-a-service (NaaS), and to create value with long term research and intellectual property by putting a lot of its investments into research and development (R&D) in sustainable technologies.

Currently, seven billion mobile connection or subscriptions as well as 500 million broadband lines across over 130 countries employ Nokia’s technologies.

Besides communication service providers, Nokia sees much traction in industry and the public sector, with over 2,200 mission critical customers and over 480 private wireless customers, and the need to support the industry 4.0 to increase their productivity.

Thus, Nokia aims to provide technology leadership, in areas such as cloud-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) and network-as-a-service (NaaS), and to create value with long term research and intellectual property by putting a lot of its investments into research and development (R&D) in sustainable technologies.

Nokia’s first focus area is in mobile networks, especially 5th generation (5G) mobile technology. Second is network infrastructure, including Internet Protocol (IP), optical, fixed and virtual-LAN networks. Third are cloud and network services such as SaaS and NaaS. Fourth is sustainable, energy-efficient technology which can save up to 75% of energy.

The company’s regional engineering and technical support are based in Malaysia, as well as its regional optical lab for its customers’ testing and integration.

With 5G cellular service currently being deployed across Malaysia, communication service providers are increasingly focusing on 5G and fibre connectivity, whilst Nokia sees much interest in private wireless networks coming from the oil & gas. manufacturing, transportation and other industries.

Also, with cloud service providers such as Amazon Web Services, Google and Facebook, Nokia sees more submarine cable connections coming to Malaysia.

With all that, Nokia hopes to provide its cloud and network services, as well as web solutions to its customers.

No green without digital

“Sustainability has become a key or key part of Nokia’s purpose, and also part of our strategy. It’s not just as part of our products and our design for our environment philosophy”, said Preetha Nadarajah, Nokia Malaysia Chief Technology Officer.

“Connected with industrialisation, is a critical component to solve the world’s environmental, social and governance challenges, which is why we say that there is no green without digital”, she added.

Whilst 70% share of the worlds GDP comes from physical industries, however their annual productivity growth is only 0.7% compared to 2.7% for digital industries, so physical industries are stalling. On the other hand, 70% of total expenditure on information and communication technologies is by digital industries compared to 30% by physical industries.

Right now, over 70% of enterprises are investing in industrial IoT, and almost half are working on interactions between IoT and operational technology (OT), the latter term coming from IR4.0.

So overcoming stalled productivity, physical industries require to invest on connectivity and digitalisation, and 5G is an enabler, whilst other areas which require 5G connectivity include edge computing, hybrid cloud, artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), mixed reality (MR) as well as Internet of Things (IoT), all of which being key components of Industry 4.0 which Nokia provides. Whilst some of these will work over 4G, however they will encounter limitations, which 5G can overcome.

Right now, over 70% of enterprises are investing in industrial IoT, and almost half are working on interactions between IoT and operational technology (OT), the latter term coming from IR4.0.

OT involves mission-critical connectivity, not just business connectivity, so private wireless connectivity is required, and better still where information technology (IT) and OT work together, and its the operational staff who require the OT.

Whilst the safety, productivity and efficiency make up a business case for companies to adopt IR4.0 for industrial automation, however the importance of sustainability is increasing today to reduce carbon emissions and reduce or avoid a carbon tax, which was proposed recently in Malaysia.

These benefits thus drive enterprises to adopt private wireless and advanced technology to achieve these objectives, whilst IR4.0 also requires continuous and operation with security, since downtime is generally unacceptable, hence the need for mission-critical networks.

“With IR4.0, we need to connect together devices so the operations centre can remotely see what’s happening on the shop floors, on oil & gas platforms and at other operational locations, and to process, understand and analyse the data coming from the network to be able to take autonomous actions and automate production processes, and where low latency is required, edge computing platforms are installed on-premises”, said Preetha.

Nokia’s private wireless solution includes connectivity, processing, digitalisation enablement, orchestration and management from end-to-end, and the company can provide pre-tested solutions or pre-tested with industrial devices from its partners.

Nokia Automation Cloud is a pre-built, pre-packaged and quick to deploy solution, and the company also provide onboarding applications for specific segments within its area of focus.

Recent innovations

Meanwhile, Perry Poehlmann, Head of Marketing for Nokia Asia-Pacific and Japan demonstrated some of Nokia’s new innovations presented at MWC 2022.

These include Nokia’s liquid-cooled AirScale Base Station equipment which is 24 times more efficient and saves up to 90% of total energy consumed over air conditioning or fan cooling.

Much like liquid cooling of processors on PC motherboards, the electronic components on the circuit boards inserted into these base station equipment are liquid cooled, with an inlet for the cold liquid and an outlet for the warm liquid.

“For example, Google had spent five years looking at seven different cooling systems for servers in their data centre and found water cooling to be the most efficient. Water has a specific heat capacity of 4.186 Joules/gramme per degrees C, versus air, which has a specific heat capacity of 1.005 Joules/gramme per degrees C, and 24 times the thermal conductivity, so basically water can cool systems 20 to 24 times better than air”, said Poehlmann.

Since about 15% to 20% of base station sites are built inside cabinets which require air conditioning, which in turn consumes additional power, but liquid cooling does away with the need for air conditioning, so saves power.

Nokia’s 5G Innovative Liquid Cooling recently won the ‘Innovative Breakthrough in Mobile Technology Award’ at the GTI Awards 2022.

Also, since 5G base station equipment are often installed in buildings, in temperate countries such as Finland, the warm water from these base stations can be fed into the building’s central heating system to augment heating within the building, with the returning cold water cycled back into the base station equipment to cool it.

Depending upon the primary fossil fuel used to generate the electricity used, whether coal, natural gas or oil, Nokia’s water-cooled base stations can reduce carbon emissions by up to 80%.

Nokia’s 5G Innovative Liquid Cooling recently won the ‘Innovative Breakthrough in Mobile Technology Award’ at the GTI Awards 2022.

Nokia’s industrial grade Enterprise 5G Private Wireless enables IR4.0 digitalisation, with a broad range of private wireless end-to-end solutions which offer organisations the required flexibility and ease of use to adapt to various industrial segment needs.

Using working models of factory line equipment such as conveyors and so forth, Poehlmann demonstrated how IoT sensors are used to detect metal objects, how video analytics is used to identify colours.

It can be used in worksites to identify whether workers entering work areas are wearing protective gear such as helmets, vests, protective goggle and ear muffs or not.

It can also be used to set up a virtual perimeter fence around potentially hazardous machinery and work areas for added safety. For example, if physical barriers were removed, say for cleaning and not put back, if someone inadvertently crosses the virtual perimeter, the sensor will either trigger the alarm or shut down the machine for safety.

Such systems can also be used to detect abnormally high magnetic or radiation levels within mines, assign tasks workers and provide them with manuals through virtual reality goggles, provide guidance to workers through augmented reality, record videos and upload them as detailed evidence of work done and much more over high-capacity 5G connections..

The FP5 routing silicon chipset developed by Nokia is the new core of Nokia’s IP service routing platforms, which support 800 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) per interface. It also supports improved security through flow-based encryption, whilst offering 75% reduction in power and a new embedded line rate.

The FP5 will enable service providers to address today’s unrelenting requirements to efficiently scale network capacity, enable new higher speed IP services, and provide unmatched protection against escalating network security threats.

Nokia’s 5G Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) customer premises equipment (CPE) provides home and business customers with fibre-like, wide-area broadband connectivity over 5G spectrum, coupled with WiFi 6, mesh WiFi wireless as well as wired Ethernet local area network (LAN) connectivity within homes and offices.

For example, the Nokia FastMile 5G Gateway 3 comes with 5G and 4G wide-area connectivity integrated with WiFi 6 and wired Ethernet for local-area connectivity, and is also compatible with Nokia’s mesh WiFi beacons placed at different locations to provide whole home or office indoor WiFi coverage, thus eliminating blind-spots.

Alternatively, the Nokia FastMile 5G Receiver comes with an up to 9dBi high-gain antenna and can be mounted at suitable locations indoors or outdoors for optimal 5G wide-area connectivity. It too works with Nokia’s mesh WiFi beacons for local-area connectivity.

Both FastMile 5G Gateway and Receiver, as well as the Beacons can be easily set up and configured using the Nokia WiFi app on their iOS and Android smartphone.

Nokia’s 5G FWA solutions provide fibre-like broadband connectivity where where physical fixed broadband connectivity is not available, such as on building sites, at open-air events, in temporary offices, as a backup for fixed broadband connections and so forth.

Nokia can provide these CPEs to commercial cellular service providers rebranded with their respective brandnames.

Also on display was Nokia’s AirScale millimetre-wave antennas. These operate at 24, 26, 28 and 39 GHz radio-frequencies and are used to provide 5G coverage at 5G speeds, of dense-urban locations, shopping malls, sports events, concert halls and so forth, where large numbers of users are concentrated. The coverage of these millimetre-wave antennas can also provide a high-capacity overlay of hotspots within lower-density coverage of wider areas using longer centimetre wavelengths, such as those with frequencies around 3.5GHz.

Poehlmann also showcased other 5G-enabled applications and solutions in Nokia’s cloud and network services, enterprise wireless, network infrastructure, mobile network and security portfolios.