US Pacific Northwest National Laboratory taps Verizon to explore 5G potential

Comms giant links up with science and technology research body to explore opportunities for 5G to impact national security, energy efficiency and advance science in the US

The US Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) has formed a partnership with Verizon Business to investigate how 5G networks can support its mission to tackle science and technology challenges in areas such as national security, energy efficiency and scientific discovery.

PNNL’s stated mission is to advance the frontiers of knowledge by taking on what it calls some of the world’s greatest science and technology challenges to create a world that is “safer, cleaner, more prosperous and more secure”. It boasts particular expertise in chemistry, earth sciences and data analytics in order to provide a foundation for innovations that, it says, can improve the US’s energy resiliency and enhance national security.

As part of the collaboration, PNNL will install Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband network at its Richland, Washington premises to develop 5G applications and allow PNNL researchers to explore how 5G can transform diverse mission areas, including cyber security, the protection of grid infrastructure, and the science behind autonomous systems.

With the network on site, researchers will be able to test how the faster speed and increased bandwidth can be used to enhance machine learning, artificial intelligence and public safety. This testing may enable wide-ranging applications, which can benefit everything from chemistry and earth sciences to the needs of first responders.

With Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband network on site, PNNL will also advise federal sponsors on how 5G could impact their operations and infrastructures when deploying 5G. PNNL researchers and corporate partners will also be able to test how 5G’s fast speeds, increased bandwidth and sub-millisecond lag could enhance machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI) and augmented/virtual reality applications used in fields ranging from public safety to computing and analytics.

“With Verizon, we plan to explore how cyber security will underpin 5G for critical infrastructure and how 5G will drive transformation in the protection of endpoint devices, advancement of AI, the science behind autonomous systems and related internet of things [IoT] applications,” said Scott Godwin, general manager of corporate partnerships and alliances at PNNL. “This partnership fits squarely with PNNL’s commitment to explore the capability of new science and technology to further safety and security worldwide.”

Tami Erwin, CEO of Verizon Business, added: “Our 5G Ultra Wideband network is built to support transformational innovations and solutions across all industries. There is no doubt 5G’s increased data bandwidth and super-low lag will help play a critical role in evolving response connectivity and mission operations for first responders. We have seen exciting use cases come out of our 5G First Responder Lab and are thrilled to see the new applications that will arise from our work with PNNL.”

Its engagement with PNNL is the latest in a series of partner announcements by Verizon Business concerning 5G. Verizon recently opened a number of 5G-enabled development and collaboration facilities in the US and one in London to support its business and media customers. Each facility aims to showcase existing 5G use cases and experiences and offer a co-creation space for 5G-enabled application development. The centres also offer technology innovators a space to grow a 5G ecosystem.

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