Oracle teams with Verizon as it expands global network of industry innovation labs

New facility outside Chicago will explore how 5G can create and test use cases to solve industry challenges, from carbon reduction to worker safety and sustainable building

Supported by Verizon 5G Ultra Wideband, IT leader Oracle has opened the doors of a new 30,000ft2 Oracle Industry Lab just outside Chicago, with the intention of giving customers a hands-on environment to develop new ideas and create solutions using its technology and that of more than 30 industry partners.

The Chicago lab will first focus on the energy and water, construction and engineering, communications and manufacturing industries. Later this year, Oracle will open a new sustainability and mobility-centred lab in Reading, England and a construction industry-focused lab in Sydney, Australia.

“The core technology used in the world’s most essential industries doesn’t run in an office, it runs on a construction site, in the utility operations centre, on the manufacturing floor,” said Mike Sicilia, executive vice-president of Oracle’s vertical industries, commenting on the expansion of the Industry Labs. “So why not let customers develop, test and validate technology in similar environments?

“The lab brings these scenarios to life so that collectively, customers, partners, and Oracle can create solutions to fuel opportunity and solve the really tough problems these industries are facing.”

In the realm of communications, Oracle believes that for service providers, 5G represents an opportunity to not only bring new, more reliable services and products to consumers, but also to drive new revenue streams in the enterprise. These can range from powering robotic surgeries to smart factories.

At the lab, visitors can experiment with how cloud-native communications technologies are enabling automation and scaling to meet expected growth in 5G subscribers, connected devices, and demand for rapid service innovation. They will also be able to explore how service providers can partner with other industries to co-create B2B2X (business-to-business-to-X) offers and business models.

For example, Oracle says visitors will be able to use virtual reality (VR) smart city scenarios to demonstrate how to engage residents using a cloud-based immersive gaming experience enabled by a service provider and ecosystem from partners. It adds that coupled with Verizon 5G Ultra Wideband and its communications 5G core network technology – working with collaborators including EDX Technologies and ESRI – visitors will be able to see the power of 5G in action across several complex scenarios.

In construction and engineering, the Oracle lab will explore the potential of a connected ecosystem leveraging technologies such as visual progress monitoring, sensor-based tracking, digital twins, autonomous laser scanning, augmented reality (AR) and the internet of things (IoT). Together with Oracle’s portfolio of construction and engineering solutions, these offerings will enable visitors to test and validate new systems to inform predictive decision-making, reduce inefficiency, mitigate risk, and foster better outcomes. Collaborators include CAXperts, ESRI, FARO Technologies, Hilti, Intelliwave Technologies, Milwaukee Tool, Newmetrix, OpenSpace, Reconstruct, Skydio, Triax Technologies, VREX, WakeCap Technologies and Walbridge.

“We see huge value in a facility like the Oracle Industry Lab, where we can test and validate new technologies in a simulated worksite environment,” said John Jurewicz, senior director of technology at Walbridge. “Once we prove the value and approach, it’s much easier to take them out to our own worksites and quickly scale them up.”

With simulated environments including a connected neighbourhood and smart studio apartment, the lab will set out to enable utilities customers to experiment with technologies such as sensors to help relieve stress on the electricity grid, drones and AR to improve safety and efficiency in field work. It will also use artificial intelligence (AI) and behavioural science to guide households to be more energy-efficient. Collaborators include Copper Labs, EDX Technologies, Constellation Clearsight, Micatu, and Samsung SmartThings.

In manufacturing, the lab will aim to support companies’ need to digitise their businesses and increase connectivity throughout their operations by embedding technologies such as IoT, AI, AR, digital twins, predictive analytics and factory automation. The smart manufacturing lab enables customers to experiment with these technologies to demonstrate their impact on efficiency, quality control, customer satisfaction and sustainability. Collaborators include KanbanBOX, Mitsubishi Electric Automation, Omron Automation Americas, RF-SMART and TrueCommerce.

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