Tag Archives: 5G

OZ Minerals Prominent Hill joins Aqura 5G Underground Initiative

Aqura says its 5G Underground Initiative in Australia is progressing to plan, with the company having recently added OZ Minerals’ Prominent Hill mine to the project, joining representatives from one of Northern Star Resources’ operations in the project.

Aqura, recently acquired by Telstra Purple, was awarded a grant back in 2021 from the Australian Government under the 5G Innovation Initiative to augment the organisation’s own development work to address the challenge of delivering underground 5G LTE. This development work included technical architectures, commercial model development and installation of a live Private 5G LTE network in an operating mine.

The 5G Underground Initiative leverages learnings from a 2017 project where Aqura successfully delivered Private 4G LTE in an underground mine in the Kalgoorlie region of Western Australia.

Aqura says it has onboarded Northern Star and OZ Minerals by providing a detailed design for both of its chosen mines.

“Having two different mines involved in the project will greatly extend the diversity of the technology architectures developed to suit more mine operation types,” it noted.

Site visits to validate terrain and existing infrastructure are currently in progress. Equipment acquisition is also underway, with works expected to commence at both sites in August 2022, Aqura said.

Nokia, Telia and Sandvik embark on world-first deployment of 5G Edge Slicing solution

Nokia has announced the world’s first deployment of 5G Edge Slicing on a live commercial network with mobile operators, Cellcom and Telia.

The latter deployment is with Sandvik in Tampere, Finland, and will demonstrate how next-generation 5G Edge Slicing functions can operate with different mining equipment and digital applications, the company said.

Nokia’s Edge Slicing solution allows operators to offer their enterprise customers next-generation, secure, reliable and high-performing Virtual Private Network (VPN) services over commercial 4G and 5G networks, it says. Once launched, both companies will be able to offer new services to their customers − driving new revenue opportunities − as well as partner with cloud application and infrastructure service providers. Nokia’s solution is available now for its global customer base.

Nokia and Cellcom’s trial with sliced RAN-Transport-Core is taking place in Netanya, Israel, and is focused on business applications and the customer experience as well as enterprise interconnectivity over a high-speed metro network.

It explained: “Nokia’s 5G Edge Slicing solution is an evolution of Nokia’s previously announced 4G/5G slicing capability. It enables operators to keep critical business data traffic local while running slice management, control and assurance on existing central mobile data centres ensuring cost and operational efficiency. It is also scalable and the same virtualised network infrastructure can be used by several customers in the same area, for example in a business campus containing multiple companies.

“Based on an enterprise customer’s needs, a 5G virtual private network can be flexibly deployed in an area with a 4G/5G base station or in a campus, city, or regional area. With Nokia, CSPs can now offer their customers both on-premise 5G Private Networks or 5G Virtual Private Networks.”

Jari Collin, CTO, Telia Finland, said: “We are delighted to be the first to deploy the first-ever 5G Edge Slicing solution together with Nokia and our important customer Sandvik, who is investing heavily in digital mining technologies and the technology environment in its test mine in Tampere. Our advanced 5G network supports our customers’ business by enabling new kinds of services and making the network more efficient. We will continue to develop innovations and the latest applications, as our mission is to bring the opportunities of 5G to our customers.”

Tommi Uitto, President of Mobile Networks at Nokia, said: “Nokia was the first vendor to offer a network slicing solution and we are proud to continue this pioneering story by being the first to offer 5G Edge Slicing to our customers. These successful trials cover different use cases and customer requirements and demonstrate the possibilities of network slicing. I look forward to seeing this important new area grow and deliver opportunities to our customers in the coming year.”

A distributed and sliced 5G edge architecture creates partnering opportunities for mobile operators and Cloud Service and Infrastructure Providers, according to Nokia. High-performing virtualised networks enable service providers to bring edge cloud application platforms close to enterprise customers. Co-location and infrastructure companies’ facilities can be also used in the edge slicing deployments.

The company added: “5G Edge Slicing combined with Nokia’s new Adaptive Cloud Networking solution, which part of its scope is automating the edge cloud network, opens additional opportunities for service providers to create value for enterprises.”

Nokia’s 5G network slicing solution supports all LTE, 5G non-standalone, and 5G standalone (SA) devices, enabling mobile operators to use a huge device ecosystem and address a large customer base. This allows operators to utilise existing 4G/5G network assets, spectrum, and coverage for next-generation VPN services. Nokia’s network slicing solution is based on 3GPP, IETF, and TMForum standards and architecture and works in multi-vendor environments.

Telstra Purple adds Alliance Automation, Aqura to expanding IoT base

Telstra Purple, which brings together Telstra Enterprise’s business technology services capabilities and a number of its recently acquired companies, has announced a plan to acquire two Australia-based companies with mining exposure to bolster its IoT capabilities and accelerate its industry vertical growth ambitions.

Alliance Automation is, Telstra says, one of Australia’s largest independent providers of IoT industrial automation solutions and control systems. Founded in 2010, it is headquartered in Brisbane with several offices around Australia staffed by more than 250 engineers and consultants. It provides services in technical advisory and design, electrical and automation engineering, project management, site installation, business intelligence, operational technology cyber security and continuous support.

Aqura Technologies delivers key technology and telecommunications infrastructure solutions including industrial wireless, complete access networks, unified communications and industrial IoT. A wholly owned subsidiary of ASX-listed Veris, Aqura Technologies has more than 90 staff across Perth, Brisbane, Adelaide and Melbourne as well as a fly-in-fly-out workforce that services all parts of Australia.

Following the acquisitions, Telstra Purple will be able to offer professional and managed services capabilities to deliver industrial-grade wireless and fixed networks in remote and underground operations (Aqura Technologies), while expanding the potential for digital transformation services, industrial automation capabilities, digital twins, smart spaces and operational technology cyber security (Alliance Automation), it said.

These acquisitions will bolster Telstra Purple’s presence across mining, energy, oil and gas, utilities and defence projects, and increase its automation and digital transformation engagements, according to the company.

Head of Telstra Purple, Christopher Smith, said the deals were testament to Telstra Purple’s successful growth strategy.

“As our 10th and 11th acquisitions, Alliance Automation and Aqura Technologies will accelerate Telstra Purple’s growth, particularly in IoT, cloud and security, across key industry verticals, which are important building blocks of our T25 strategy,” Smith said.

“Both companies have demonstrated consistent historical growth, close customer and vendor relationships, backed up by a deep pool of specialist talent with a strong pipeline and growth outlook. We were impressed by their people, expertise and capabilities and believe they will be very valuable additions to the Telstra Purple team.”

Managing Director and CEO of Alliance Automation, Matthew Griffiths, said: “The opportunities that arise out of our complementary capabilities, but shared customer and employee centric services base will enable us to jointly provide world class digital transformation strategies to improve operational efficiencies for all our customers.

“Joining Telstra Purple will provide unparalleled value propositions for both our employees and our customers, taking Alliance Automation to the next level of technical capability and accelerating our push toward Industry 4.0 excellence for all of our customers.”

CEO of Aqura Technologies, Travis Young, said: “Our specialist capabilities, coupled with the highly complementary service offerings of the broader Telstra Purple family will deliver more powerful and compelling solutions.

“We can now more rapidly accelerate our growth to meet the significant demand of organisations who are looking to leverage next-generation connectivity as part of their broader digitisation strategies.”

Alliance Aviation has the likes of Evolution Mining and Bloomfield Group on its mining project reference list, while Aqura is working with Fortescue Metals Group, BHP and Roy Hill, among others, in the mining sector. Aqura is also taking part in the government-backed 5G Innovation Initiative.

Nokia extends Industrial portfolio of ‘ruggedised’ devices for improved connectivity

Nokia has announced it is extending its Industrial portfolio of ruggedised devices to allow more enterprises to connect teams and equipment in demanding environments, such as mining, using private wireless networks.

The new 5G SA devices complete the portfolio and include a highly-durable smartphone, fieldrouters and 5G millimetre wave (mmW) hotspot providing even more connectivity options and capabilities for industries around the globe, it said.

“The Nokia Industrial portfolio of ruggedised devices is designed to ensure reliability and continuity of operations in the most arduous and remote environments, whether on an off-shore platform, a busy factory floor or even in the depths of a mine shaft,” the company said. “It maintains reliable team and equipment connectivity for mission-critical communications and operations at ports, mines, manufacturing facilities, logistics companies, government and public safety agencies as well as other entities.”

Nokia Industrial devices are pre-tested for industrial use and pre-integrated with Nokia private wireless solutions. Device Management, running on MX Industrial Edge, simplifies the introduction of new devices and operation processes on a customer’s network, according to the company.

With this range of devices, Nokia is also able to support frequency band combinations often associated with private wireless in 4G and 5G, including bands B31/72/87 as well as band 53. The solution also brings unlicensed capabilities to private wireless, such as the recently launched Nokia MulteFire fieldrouter.

The new range of 5G SA fieldrouters will enable enterprises to connect industrial machinery, sensors and vehicles to private wireless networks, Nokia said. With an anti-vibration design, Nokia fieldrouters are IP67-rated for both indoor and outdoor use. They connect to assets wirelessly, meeting the demands of a range of industrial standards and protocols including PROFINET communications, EtherCAT and Modbus. New 5G mmW devices starting with a hotspot will allow customers to take advantage of new spectrum as it’s released for high data rate industrial applications, the company said.

The Nokia XR20, a 5G SA capable smartphone, is built to withstand extreme temperatures from 55°C to -22°C, 1.8 m drops, one hour under water and more with its military-grade resilience, the company said. Nokia Industrial handheld devices come pre-loaded with key industrial applications including Nokia Team Communications running on MX Industrial Edge and Nokia Group Communications, allowing teams to securely keep in contact using push-to-voice, video and messaging.

The company concluded: “Deploying Nokia Industrial devices within a private wireless network that leverages the high-processing power of the Nokia MX Industrial Edge will enable enterprises to securely monitor and analyse operational data from myriad connected devices and sensors in real time. Customers can unlock new capabilities by downloading Nokia and third-party digitalisation enabler applications from the Nokia DAC catalogue to their devices, while monitoring and management of the devices is conducted over a single device management portal.”

MTS, Ericsson deploy Russia’s first commercial 5G-ready private network at Polymetal’s Nezhda

Mobile TeleSystems PJSC, a leading provider of media and digital services, has completed the construction and launch of operations of what it says is Russia’s first commercial 5G-ready Private network at Polymetal International plc’s Nezhdaninskoye gold deposit in the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia).

The planned installation of the network, built on the Ericsson Dedicated Networks solution, was announced last year.

Within the project, MTS deployed a wireless network for Yuzhno-Verkhoyansk Mining Company JSC, affiliated with Polymetal. The network supports integrated mining dispatching systems, positioning, remote and automated control of various equipment, including excavators, drilling rigs, measuring devices, monitoring systems for remote equipment and video monitoring.

Within the project a full range of turnkey works and services has been implemented, including site inspection, network architecture design, supply and installation of radio base stations, network core and auxiliary equipment, network testing and commercial launch, MTS says. At the first stage, the network built on Ericsson solutions will operate in the LTE standard with the possibility of smooth and fast upgrade to 5G, according to the company.

The network is built on Ericsson Dedicated Networks solution, which complies with the 3GPP standards and includes a full-fledged carrier-grade network core. It supports 4G and 5G Non-Standalone (NSA) simultaneously and allows dual-mode core capability to support 5G New Radio Standalone (5G NR SA). An enterprise can use all the carrier grade packet network functions for its own mission-critical applications, MTS says.

Georgy Dzhabiev, Director, Digital Solutions, MTS, says: “We are grateful to our partner Polymetal for cooperation that resulted in the creation of the first commercial Private LTE network in Russia for remote monitoring and managing critical processes in difficult geographic and weather conditions. I am sure that the competence and experience of MTS in the implementation of unique network and IT solutions, digitalisation and automation of production processes will help our customers to increase their business efficiency and improve the working conditions.”

Alexander Laguta, Head of Information Technology and Communications department, Yakutsk branch of Polymetal, says: “The system is already showing its effectiveness and is ready to move to next stage of introducing innovative technologies in production. The Private 5G-ready network will significantly increase the speed of transferring large amounts of data and reduce the cost of maintaining the technological network. One of the first projects on the basis of this network will be launch of dispatching systems, remote control of drilling rigs and video monitoring.”

Alexander Romanov, Head of Private Networks, Ericsson Russia, says: “The Private Network is the backbone of critical communications infrastructure and the Industrial Internet of Things, not only in mining, but also in other industries with a high demand for seamless coverage, performance, security and reliability while supporting mission-critical business processes in a new digital reality.”

At the next stages of the project, the implementation of a dispatch radio communication system based on MC-PTT (Mission Critical Push-to-Talk) over LTE network is planned, along with integration with the internal telephone network of the enterprise.

Aqura to take on Australia’s 5G LTE underground mining challenge

Aqura Technologies has been awarded a grant from the Australian Government under the 5G Innovation Initiative to, it says, augment the organisation’s own development work to address the challenge of delivering underground 5G LTE.

The grant is an important step to overcome the technical and commercial barriers associated with operating next-generation broadband wireless networks in sub-surface environments, according to Aqura.

Aqura Chief Executive Officer, Travis Young, said the project was founded on extensive customer and industry feedback as critical to enable mining operators to unlock the benefits that surface operators had been enjoying for a number of years.

“With over 50% of mining in Australia being conducted underground and increasing, the industry is still playing catch-up with technology that is being widely utilised to great benefit in surface operations,” he said.

“Our track record and development work, coupled with the 5G Innovation Grant, will enable our team to work to deliver technical architectures and a validated commercial model which will enable and accelerate adoption.”

The 5G Innovation Initiative grant will complement investment already made by Aqura to deliver technical architectures, commercial model development and installation of a live Private 5G LTE network in an operating mine. The project leverages a lot of learnings from a 2017 project where Aqura successfully delivered Private 4G LTE in an underground mine in the Kalgoorlie region of Western Australia, Aqura said.

The focus of the program is to fast-track the enablement of applications and processes that are being adopted in surface operations so underground operators can realise the benefits of enhanced environmental, safety and productivity outcomes that advanced wireless communications can deliver, it added.

Aqura’s Chief Operations Officer, Alan Seery, said underground operators are wanting a kick-start to advance their technology capabilities.

“Many underground mines use processes and technologies that are decades old and operators want to leverage the latest technology, but the technical challenges and the commercial model to acquire can be prohibitive,” he said.

“We’ve learnt a lot through our previous work in underground, and we believe our new LTEaaS (LTE as a service) platform optimised to deliver next-generation private industrial operations networks will support a new commercial approach that will better suit the business models utilised by mining operators.

“And with new advances in radio access, we’re excited to have the opportunity to work with some very motivated partners to develop and make available new architectures which will bridge the underground connectivity gap.”

Many of Aqura’s core team were behind the first Private 4G LTE network in Australian resources, delivered Private 4G LTE underground and supported delivery of one of the first above-ground Private 5G LTE networks in north Queensland earlier this year, it said.

The project has kicked off with Aqura working with a large gold operator to commence scoping. Various partners have indicated support to validate applications, devices and processes around autonomy, condition monitoring, safety systems, data access, PTT communications and IoT sensors.

Metso Outotec takes mining and metals innovation to the next level with new facility

Metso Outotec has launched its first innovation centre in Espoo, Finland, as it looks to bring “together the comprehensive value chain from ore to metals” and enable “rapid co-creation with customers and partners”.

The Metso Outotec Innovation Center offers unique expertise and tools for solving different types of challenges, from process optimisation to the selection and virtual prototyping of solutions, in a cutting-edge environment, the company says.

“It takes ideation, collaboration, and innovation to the next level,” Metso Outotec added.

Veli-Matti Järvinen, Vice President for Automation and Digital Solutions, Minerals, at Metso Outotec, explained: “The Innovation Center introduces a completely new way to collaborate and co-create with our customers and partners. Adding value to our customers’ processes and ensuring their reliable, efficient and sustainable operation, as well as safety are all at the core of what we do at the Innovation Center.”

The centre looks to serve demand for a suitable virtual environment in which to quickly develop and test flowsheet solutions and prototypes, with the facility able to offer digital demonstrations; host training, problem-solving and co-creation workshop sessions; demonstrate technologies and services; cement value calculations; and display three-dimensional engineering digital twins in accurate form while securely protecting data and sensitive content.

These are just some of the features currently in play, with more set to be introduced including process control demonstrations, 5G connectivity, a metallurgical digital twin, extended process optimiser demonstrations, and modelling and simulation.

Järvinen concluded: “In our new digital space, we can support our customers at every stage of their continuous improvement path. We’re thrilled about the opportunities offered by the Innovation Center: it speeds up the innovation cycle and makes efficient collaboration possible in a space that is both physical and digital.”

Mobilaris’ new devices to leverage latest communication, machine-learning tools

Intent on “mastering the latest technologies” in its domain, Mobilaris says it will focus on the use of next-generation communication technologies such as 5G and Wi-Fi 6, and artificial intelligence, to build out its new safety solutions in 2021.

Mobilaris says it is building a device using 5G technologies that will be used in a new offering for Mobilaris Industrial Solutions.

By leveraging these new technologies, it will bring Industry 4.0 digital workforce safety to all its customers, it said.

To ensure this new device is “truly world-class in terms of safety, performance and resilience”, Mobilaris has partnered with Sigma Connectivity and Ericsson to leverage their expertise in this domain. It says it is the first company to use the new reference cellular IoT design from Ericsson called Ardesco.

The company said: “5G and cellular IoT are technologies that will open up new possibilities, but they need connection to existing public mobile networks, or private networks. Therefore, Mobilaris has partnered with Telia to bring our new solution to the market.”

Earlier this year, the company joined Telia’s 5G program as a new member and, after that, secured a commercial partnership to bring solutions to the market while at the same time tailor its use of the Telia network to maximise performance and efficiency.

Another key technology for next generation communication solutions is Wi-Fi 6.

Mobilaris has been deploying Wi-Fi-based solutions for many years, with 2021 representing no change to the status quo.

“Many of our customers have Wi-Fi networks, and we are continuing to invest in this technology to secure our capability to meet all customer demands and to innovate, leveraging the new additions coming in Wi-Fi 6, 6E and beyond,” it said.

This is where a partnership with Aruba will bring best-in-class, real-time situational awareness to industry customers around the globe, Mobilaris said.

The use of artificial intelligence is also nothing new for the Sweden and US-based company. It has already deployed its Mobilaris Onboard product in several mines across the globe and, at its core, machine learning is creating “value for our customers” that would not have been possible just a few years ago, it says.

It concluded: “Moving ahead, we are continuing to invest in AI to further accelerate our products and solutions and we expect to announce several new research partnerships here within the near future.”

Aqura to supply LTE equipment to Iron Bridge magnetite project

Veris Ltd subsidiary, Aqura Technologies, has secured a contract to supply advanced LTE equipment for the Iron Bridge Magnetite project, a joint venture between Fortescue Metals Group subsidiary FMG Magnetite Pty Ltd and Formosa Steel IB Pty Ltd, in the Pilbara of Western Australia.

The A$2 million ($1.4 million) contract reflects Aqura’s strong focus to understand the evolving technology needs of the project and demonstrate its industry-leading capability to identify and design robust technology solutions that will support clients’ future operational strategies, the company said.

Aqura Technologies CEO, Travis Young, said: “This contract award is a great validation of the strategy the Aqura team are pursuing to leverage their expertise to enable other organisations to achieve positive business outcomes with leading-edge technology. We are very pleased to be supporting the great work of FMG and look forward to assisting them with their longer-term technology transformation program.

“Aqura continues to lead in high-performance industrial connectivity with advanced engagements for new rollouts, and other developments such as the imminent completion of our first 5G-enabled LTE network to bring the benefits of private LTE to a broader spectrum of businesses.”

The $2.6 billion Iron Bridge Magnetite project is expected to see a new magnetite mine developed to support production of 22 Mt/y of high-grade concentrate, according to Fortescue. First concentrate is expected to be produced by mid-2022.

Nokia teams up with Speedcast to improve connectivity in remote locations

Communications and IT services provider, Speedcast International Ltd, has signed a long-term agreement with Nokia to deploy its industrial-grade private wireless solutions globally via the Nokia Digital Automation Cloud.

Through this new collaboration, Speedcast is providing remote backhaul, data and voice connectivity to enterprise customers, covering areas up to a radius of 30 km and supporting hundreds of users from a single cell, it said. The network will also support critical, high-bandwidth applications with low latency requirements.

Stephan Litjens, GM Digital Automation at Nokia, said: “Nokia Digital Automation Cloud meets stringent requirements across multiple industries to deliver network coverage, capacity, mobility, reliability, quality of service and security, while connecting a wide variety of devices. By integrating with Speedcast we can significantly improve local connectivity in remote locations.”

Nokia’s 5G-ready Digital Automation Platform provides industrial-grade high-bandwidth private wireless networks – both outdoors and deep indoors – to increase efficiency and productivity for industry verticals, including manufacturing, supply chain, mining, utilities, oil and gas, as well as large enterprise compounds outside of standard cellular connectivity.

Acting as a private wireless network that brings IoT to enterprises, the Nokia private LTE/ 4.9G solution opens up new opportunities such as smart manufacturing, predictive maintenance, remote operations, and machine-to-machine communication, in addition to critical-voice and data solutions. Nokia’s cloud solution provides high reliability and security in any challenging conditions, according to the company. Leveraging the future-proof solution, users can scale up and down according to changing needs, while the solution also provides for flexible business models to suit the enterprise requirements.

Combining the power of the Nokia Digital Automation Cloud with Speedcast core connectivity options – including C-band, Ku-band, Ka-band, MEO and LEO backhaul – will increase the reach of several Speedcast products, including:

  • Speedcast IoT Solutions: with LTE-enabled devices solutions from the Speedcast IoT portfolio, customers can connect to headquarter locations and the internet. The cloud-based Speedcast IoT Center provides lifecycle support of LTE as well as satellite devices and offers customers full deployment and management capabilities of IoT devices on Nokia private LTE networks at scale;
  • Speedcast Speedtalk: the Speedtalk voice app allows users to capture live footage from remote sites and provides instant communications with remote teams. Private LTE/ 4.9G will extend the coverage of remote camp areas further compared with standard Wi-Fi, allowing for better access to Speedtalk via smartphone apps. In addition, private wireless networks will enable superior QoS and high-speed mobility; and
  • IPTV: the Nokia Private LTE solution will also provide higher bandwidth capacity for Speedcast’s IPTV solutions to handheld devices.

Chris Hill, Chief Technology Officer at Speedcast, said: “Nokia Digital Automation Cloud is a plug-and-play platform optimised for low latency and ultra-reliability, which are critical factors for remote communications. Bringing this technology to our customers’ remote sites will enable the use of bandwidth-intensive and low-latency solutions such as CCTV video analytics, drone surveillance, and personnel push to video applications.

“This is a game-changer for customers who need to keep personnel safe and operations running efficiently in hard-to-reach locations such as the energy and mining sectors.”