AgriFood Connect taps Telstra for industry-first Ericsson private 5G enterprise deployment

Australia-based global operator and comms tech provider extend long-standing business relationship with first deployment of dedicated next-generation 5G network at agriculture and manufacturing firm

AgriFood Connect, an Australian not-for-profit organisation created to accelerate the adoption of technology and innovation across agriculture and manufacturing industries, has become the first to deploy, through Telstra Enterprise, the Ericsson Private 5G on-premise dedicated 5G network for enterprise that utilises a single-server 5G dual-mode core.

A joint initiative of the FKG Group, the University of Queensland and Telstra, AgriFood Connect is located within the technology and innovation hub of the AATLIS Precinct in Toowoomba, Queensland. Its stated mission is to “ensure science and technology translates seamlessly to industry”, connecting the entire agri-food value chain.

It aims to achieve its objectives by bringing together academia, governments, investors, corporations and startups, nurturing what it calls intelligent connections, and delivering smart solutions for industry.

Thomas Hall, acting CEO at AgriFood Connect, said: “Australia’s agriculture and advanced manufacturing industries will play a pivotal role in Australia’s economic growth. We are focused on supporting businesses in defining their challenges within the agri-food value chain.

“Working with our ecosystem partners, we identify the right solutions for businesses in areas including digital transformation and operational enhancement. Utilising advanced technologies like the dedicated 5G network will help demonstrate the latest advancement technology innovations.” 

Within the Ericsson Private 5G wireless connectivity platform, Telstra and AgriFood Connect say they have successfully deployed industrial IoT (internet of things) capabilities over 5G standalone that can support a variety of business requirements, such as asset condition monitoring and the collection of data from machinery.

The platform facilitates advanced operations through automation, flexibility and intelligent connectivity, they say. Using a single-server 5G dedicated network based on a dual mode core, Ericsson Private 5G facilitates both LTE and 5G standalone (SA) simultaneously.

Ericsson says such capabilities will enable features such as predictive maintenance alerts, which are intended to drive cost savings against unplanned downtime and repairs at AgriFood Connect. It adds that the 5G SA capability delivered from the Private 5G product, coupled with Telstra’s advanced network capabilities, offers an industrial wireless connectivity platform for enterprise that can deliver low latency, enhanced resiliency and the capacity to meet even the most demanding business operation requirements.

“The combination of a dedicated network in partnership with Telstra’s existing network capabilities can facilitate the implementation of a whole variety of new and emerging technologies,” said Telstra Network and Infrastructure executive Iskra Nikolova. “Challenging locations in regional Australia, where there is comparatively limited back-haul capacity, will greatly benefit from this technology. For example, a remote farming or a manufacturing business could embrace the latest advancements in video analytics and IoT connectivity, almost regardless of their location, with the data processed on site.”

Emilio Romeo, head of Ericsson, Australia and New Zealand, added: “This world first deployment in partnership with Telstra represents an important step towards automation and control through intelligent 5G connectivity. The Ericsson Private 5G platform will enable emerging industrial use cases across multiple verticals, such as autonomous mobile robots, AI, automation, drone technology, augmented reality and virtual reality, and many more innovative 5G use cases made available through Ericsson’s robust Industry 4.0 partner ecosystem.”

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