Qualcomm Unleashes A Raft of New Products for WiFi and Autonomous Robots

Qualcomm has been quite busy releasing new products and devoting time to conversations. Networking advances are intriguing. Qualcomm has news beyond WiFi 6 that others are touting with news of a WiFi 7 platform. Other news includes an AR chip set and technology for mobile robotics.

Let’s take a tour through Qualcomm news:

Qualcomm Debuts Wi-Fi 7 Networking Pro Series, a Scalable Commercial Wi-Fi 7 Platform

Highlights:

  • Qualcomm Technologies is currently sampling the world’s most scalable Wi-Fi 7 networking platform portfolio commercially available, with offerings ranging from 6 to 16 streams, for next-generation enterprise access points, high performance routers, and carrier gateways
  • Third-generation Qualcomm Networking Pro Series platforms bring key Wi-Fi 7 features like 320MHz channel support establishing new performance benchmarks in wireless networking of up to 33 Gbps wireless interface capacity and peak throughputs over 10 Gbps.
  • These Qualcomm Networking Pro Series platforms continue the legacy of innovative, custom architectural design optimized for multi-user environments, to power the collaboration, telepresence, XR, metaverse, and immersive gaming applications of today and tomorrow’s home and enterprise environments.
  • Qualcomm Networking Pro Series platforms are supported by Qualcomm Technologies’ turnkey service for Automated Frequency Control (AFC) to enable the highest performance possible in the 6GHz spectrum band.

Qualcomm Technologies announced its Wi-Fi 7 capable Qualcomm Networking Pro Series Gen 3 family of platforms. Now sampling and available to global development partners, the Qualcomm Networking Pro Series, Gen3 is the world’s highest performance Wi-Fi 7 network infrastructure platform portfolio commercially available. Building upon the multi-generation legacy of the Qualcomm Networking Pro Series platforms, the products combine Wi-Fi 7 features with Qualcomm Technologies’ intelligent multi-channel management technologies to improve speeds, lower latency, and enhance network utilization for users of Wi-Fi 6/6E devices while offering game-changing throughput and incredibly low latency for the next generation of Wi-Fi 7 client devices.

This third generation of the Qualcomm Networking Pro Series sets new industry benchmarks for networking platform performance. The family enables systems with peak aggregate wireless capacity of 33 Gbps and point-to-point connections exceeding 10 Gbps. With advanced features for interference detection and multilink operation, the Wi-Fi 7 Network Pro Series enables deterministic low latency across challenging shared wireless environments, enabling application performance rivaling private spectrum. The products can support high speed low latency wireless backhaul for home mesh Wi-Fi and enterprise infrastructure with reliable performance even in the presence of neighboring interference. When combined with high performance internet access such as 5G fixed-wireless access or 10G PON fiber, customers can experience immersive connected experiences including high resolution videoconferencing, AR/VR, and high-performance cloud gaming.  

Wireless AR Smart Viewer Reference Design Powered by the Snapdragon XR2 Platform

The Wireless AR Smart Viewer eliminates the cord between an AR glass and a compatible smartphone, Windows PC, or processing puck and still achieves virtually lag-free AR experiences using a fully integrated Qualcomm FastConnect 6900 System combined with the new FastConnect XR Software Suite.

The reference design, which is being sampled to select OEMs, boasts a 40% thinner profile and a more balanced weight distribution2 .

Qualcomm Technologies announced another milestone in making extended reality (XR) the next computing platform with the Wireless AR Smart Viewer Reference Design, powered by the Snapdragon® XR2 Platform. The cord-free reference design helps OEMs and ODMs more seamlessly and cost-efficiently prototype and bring to market lightweight, premium AR glasses to enable immersive experiences that unlock the metaverse. 

Greater Performance, Sleeker Device: The purpose-built, premium Snapdragon XR2 Platform now packs powerful performance into a slim, smaller AR glass form factor. The AR reference design hardware, developed by Goertek, has a 40% thinner profile and a more ergonomically balanced weight distribution3 for increased comfort. SeeYA provides the dual micro-OLED binocular display enabling 1920 x 1080 per eye and frame rates up to 90Hz and a no-motion-blur feature to deliver a seamless AR experience. Dual monochrome cameras and one RGB camera on the smart viewer enable six-degrees of freedom (6DoF) head tracking and hand tracking with gesture recognition to achieve AR precision.

Qualcomm Advances Development of Smarter and Safer Autonomous Robots

Highlights:

• As 5G advances beyond the smartphone, 5G and premium AI-enabled robotics, drones and intelligent machine solutions will empower more productive, intelligent, and advanced robots, unlocking new possibilities with critical intelligence and maximum efficiency.

• Qualcomm Robotics RB6 Platform and the Qualcomm RB5 AMR Reference Design – bring enhanced AI and 5G together to power next-generation robotics, drones and intelligent machines including autonomous mobile robots (AMRs), delivery robots, highly automated manufacturing robots, urban air mobility (UAM) aircrafts, autonomous defense solutions, and beyond.

• Latest solutions unleash innovative possibilities for industries looking to adopt robots and realize the benefits of the solutions at the connected intelligent edge.

The Qualcomm Robotics RB6 Platform and the Qualcomm RB5 AMR Reference Design will support evolving applications for OEMs and robot manufacturers looking to integrate ground robots in industrial use cases across sectors including government service applications, logistics, healthcare, retail, warehousing, agriculture, construction, utilities, and more. The new solutions will accelerate the digital transformation of industries and serve as a key enabler for Industry 4.0.

Updated: Schneider Electric Launches Universal Automation Discovery Packs

Updated and corrected. I’m just off the “phone” with Louis Arone of Schneider Electric. Here are a few amplifications to what I wrote earlier this week.

  1. This release deals with factory automation, not process automation. Specifically technologies in use with the Modicon product line.
  2. Universal Automation is an organization. Check out the website. It lists 31 current members. The organization promotes standardization under IEC 61499.
  3. The foundation is software defined control. For Schneider Electric the instantiation is EcoStruxure Automation Expert software.
  4. Schneider Electric is developing on two PLC platforms, a drive platform, and a softPLC platform.
  5. While my comments about how important open automation is to the process side still stand, this conversation revealed the same importance to Schneider’s strategy for factory automation, as well.
  6. Ethernet remains the core network, just as my conversations with executives going back several generations emphasized.

Schneider Electric took a bold step last year announcing an open control platform evidently not proprietary to itself at all. Based on IEC 61499 open distributed control standards, it put this control out into the wild and asked competitors to forsake their own proprietary boxes and join it in the brave new Open Process Automation world. 

Pause while we listen for the rush to join.

Here are two articles I wrote last year about the announcement—Hannover announcement and Automation Expert.

Somewhere about the time of the sale of Foxboro and other assets to Schneider Electric, Foxboro executives told me firmly that they were betting heavily on the Open Process Automation  initiative as their competitive advantage. And to this day years later Schneider Electric has been a stalwart supporter of the work.

Today’s news involves release of Discovery Packs designed to jump start the program by offering free 12-month engineering software licenses. This obviously targets people who might possibly become internal advocates in end user companies spanning the globe. I did not count the number of references to innovators. You can catch that drift.

The news in brief:

  • New program designed to help industry professionals break the confines of traditional systems and enable next-generation automation
  • Innovative offer addressing the barrier of single vendor lock-in by testing the ability to decouple hardware from software using tools to reduce commissioning time and associated costs
  • Free 12-month engineering software license available for innovators to explore the benefits of universal automation and IEC61499-based solutions

Schneider Electric launched its Universal Automation Discovery Packs program in the U.S. May 18, 2022, giving innovators the opportunity to explore the benefits of universal automation. Through this program, experts from all aspects of the industry, including OEMs, system integrators, end users, distributors, academics, and others can receive a free license to explore this next-generation automation system for themselves. 

Universal automation is a disruptive technology based on the IEC61499 standard for interoperability and portability that decouples hardware and software by addressing one of the industry’s largest challenges to innovation — single-vendor lock-in. By having the opportunity to explore this new technology before leveraging it for commercial projects, innovators can better understand how the platform can support their organizational goals and improve operational efficiency.

“Today’s industry is changing faster than ever before, requiring both new solutions that offer greater flexibility and higher productivity, and a skilled workforce familiar with those solutions able to implement them,” said Kaishi Zhang, Global Director, Product Management at Schneider Electric. “Through this program, we are fostering digital innovation and creativity in the next wave of the industrial automation workforce by providing access to the latest universal automation platform and tools to get them started, encouraging them to take the next step in driving the industry of the future forward.”

Universal Automation Discovery Packs are for non-commercial use, enabling innovators to experience the benefits of universal automation while testing the interoperability and portability of Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure Automation Expert system with compatible 3rd party hardware. Available on both Microsoft- and Linux-based machines, the plug-and-produce automation software components are based on IEC61499, a key industry standard that defines high-level system design language for distributed Industrial Control Systems (ICS). Adoption of an IEC61499-based automation layer common across vendors has unlimited potential for modernization across industries.

The vendor-agnostic EcoStruxure Automation Expert — the world’s first universal automation solution — is an ideal platform for Industry 4.0 solutions, providing excellent reusability, scalability, and architectural flexibility. Through the implementation of a common distributed control runtime across hardware and software platforms, it represents a new approach to designing, building, operating, and maintaining industrial automation systems, offering a unique technology mix that defines a new category of integrated automation systems.

Siemens Continues To Build Additive Manufacturing Momentum

Siemens reserved a central location at its stand at Hannover Messe for additive manufacturing (AM) the last couple of times I made it to Germany. It has released a few news items lately revealing an ever expanding AM initiative.

This news announces opening of a new technology hub in Charlotte, NC designed to “accelerate plans for the industrialization of additive manufacturing.” AM momentum grows.

Siemens is announcing the opening of its new Charlotte Advanced Technology Collaboration Hub (CATCH) which will be located in Charlotte, NC. This new strategic research and development hub, spearheaded by Siemens Digital Industries, Siemens Technology and Siemens Energy, now a separately operated company, to focus on helping our customers accelerate their plans for the industrialization of additive manufacturing (AM). Specifically, Siemens will use this space to collaborate with key machine builders (OEMs), end-users and U.S. national laboratories to ensure the successful industrialization of additive manufacturing.

In conjunction with this announcement, Siemens also recently announced partnerships with ExOne, Xerox and Roboze, leaders in building industrial 3D printers. This partnership will ensure that Siemens and its collaborators have the most advanced hardware on the market.

“We are excited to launch this new additive manufacturing hub and to begin inviting customers in to collaborate and find ways to accelerate the industrialization of this technology,” said Tim Bell, Additive Manufacturing Business Manager, Siemens Digital Industries. “The benefits of additive manufacturing are clear from faster time-to-market, to better design through digital prototypes, to localized manufacturing helping to reduce supply chain constraints. We believe that future of manufacturing is additive.”

Dr. Hallee Deutchman, Head of Research in Materials and Industrialized Manufacturing (US) for Siemens Technology stated, “the CATCH center will not only help industrialize additive manufacturing, but also help incubate and grow the next generation of cutting-edge technology to solve industry’s hardest manufacturing problems.”

CATCH will be the entry point for many manufacturers to understand how and why AM is crucial to designing products more effectively, manufacturing them closer to the point of purchase and creating a more resilient supply chain.

Further enabling the collaboration between Siemens, machine OEM’s, and end users, Siemens Financial Services (SFS) – the financing arm of Siemens – supplied the CATCH lab with a financing solution that aided the leasing of several 3D printers for use in the lab. Financing additive manufacturing is a strategic priority for SFS as the evolution and digitalization of manufacturing continues, and the revolutionary use of 3D printing expands.

Morf3D Applied Digital Manufacturing Center Partners with Siemens Advanta

Cybersecurity and supply chain are two of the three most received news items here at the Manufacturing Connection. The third is additive manufacturing. Not so much automation and control and even IoT anymore. This news is the beginning of a bunch of news coming from or concerning Siemens. In this news, Morf3D partners with Siemens Advanta (neither entity had I even heard of before this release given that there is apparently no media relations activity for America).

Morf3D, Inc., a subsidiary of Nikon Corporation, announced its partnership with Siemens Advanta, the IoT consultancy and solutions integration arm of Siemens. The two entities have committed to an ongoing technology development partnership as Morf3D continues to build its new Applied Digital Manufacturing Center (ADMC) in Long Beach, California.

Morf3D’s ADMC is a new 90,000 square foot state-of-the-art facility that harnesses applied research, advanced engineering and application development, serial production and most significantly, new industry partnerships with global leaders to drive the industrialization of digital manufacturing in high-growth markets.

As part of Siemens Advanta’s inaugural project, the consultancy will leverage advanced design and simulation software from Siemens Digital Industries to develop a scale up plan and bottleneck analysis, as well as explore novel manufacturing and logistic concepts for the Long Beach center. Material flow and space demand will be validated based on a digital twin of production.

“Siemens Advanta is proud to contribute to the forward-thinking innovation that is transforming the additive manufacturing industry,” said Rani Shea, CEO of Siemens Advanta, North America. “In working with Morf3D and its new ADMC, we look forward to helping optimize additive manufacturing capabilities for the aerospace industry.”

Siemens Advanta’s work at the new ADMC will transition into additional ongoing software innovations and on-site personnel support. “We are constantly thinking about how to further our industry and this partnership with Siemens Advanta gives us a great sense of optimism for the future,” said Ivan Madera, CEO for Morf3D Inc. “Morf3D is experiencing growth at a rapid rate. We wanted to make sure that our factory was flexible and that we had a team able to understand the challenges that we might face, not just today, but in the future too.”

Morf3D’s investment in the new California facility underscores the company’s commitment to developing a strong industrial base that improves the quality of its products, enhances technical capabilities, and enriches customer applications worldwide. The center is projected to be one of the largest aerospace additive manufacturing solution integrators in the US. At peak, the center will be home to 150 multi-discipline engineers, research staff, and technical teams.

Headquartered in Munich, Germany, Siemens Advanta was founded in 2019 to help clients unlock their digital futures by offering end-to-end support on their unique digitalization journey. Siemens Advanta is a strategic advisor and a trusted implementation partner in digital transformation and industrial IoT with a global network of more than 9,000 employees in 19 countries and 89 offices. Highly skilled and experienced experts offer services ranging from consulting to design & prototyping to solution & implementation and operation.

Wi-Fi 6E and the Insatiable Demand For Network Bandwidth

Networking continues to be one of the most important technology developments for manufacturing and production enterprises. I came across this article from Michael Tennefoss, vice president of IoT and strategic partnerships at Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company. He is responsible for the company’s ecosystem of technology partners and strategic initiatives, including the Internet of Things and blockchain.

He discusses Wi-Fi 6E in this blog post at HPE. Here are the quick takeaways:

LESSONS FOR LEADERS

• Wi-Fi 6E is being implemented in large, real-world environments.

• Newer applications increasingly demand high bandwidth and wireless access.

• Wi-Fi 6E was carefully engineered so as not to interfere with established uses of the bandwidth.

Following are a few of his thoughts. Click the link for the entire article.

In the networking market, one truism has held constant for decades: Applications expand to fill all available bandwidth. No sooner does a technological breakthrough that increases bandwidth hit the market than a myriad of applications are released, pushing the bar higher still. Whether it’s high-definition gaming, augmented or virtual reality, or real-time medical imaging, customer demand for network capacity is insatiable.

Wi-Fi 6 also squeezes roughly 25 percent more bits into every radio frequency (RF) cycle by adjusting the amplitude and phase of each bit through a technique called 1024-bit quadrature amplitude modulation (QAM). RF power management reduces interference with other radio networks, allowing the benefits of OFDMA and QAM to be delivered in real applications and not just lab environments.

Wi-Fi 6 operates in the 2.4 and 5 GHz bands, and while that enables backward compatibility with previous iterations of Wi-Fi, it was well known that additional bands would be needed to accommodate future needs. Work was afoot for years to secure unlicensed spectrum in the 6 GHz band for this purpose. However, doing so required reallocating frequencies already in use by ultra-wideband systems, microwave services, and wireless backhaul.

The benefits of using Wi-Fi 6E include more capacity, improved high-density congestion mitigation, and 160 MHz channels for demanding high-definition streaming. Additionally, it avoids the increasingly congested 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands with headroom to spare as 6 GHz devices come on the market. These benefits depend on the availability of Wi-Fi 6E access points and 6E-enabled client devices.

Aruba began shipping its AP-630 Series Wi-Fi 6E APs in 2021 and predicts that the transition to 6E will be in full swing in 2022. Industry analyst firm 650 Group forecasts that revenues for the Wi-Fi 6E-based enterprise and outdoor wireless LAN market will exceed $1 billion by 2025 and that the consumer market—including routers, consumer mesh, extenders, and broadband customer premises equipment with Wi-Fi—will also exceed $1 billion in the same period. A list of 6E-enabled products is published by the Wi-Fi Alliance.

5G Industrial Wireless Private Network Installed in Croatia

We are beginning to see more installations proving the value of 5G private cellular networks for industrial applications. This should be almost commonplace by the beginning of 2023. This is the third Nokia application I’ve seen in a bit over six months.

Nokia announced it is partnering with OIV, a leading provider of national strategic communications infrastructure in Croatia, to deliver a 5G private wireless network solution that will enhance operational efficiency and enable new capabilities at AD Plastik’s automotive component manufacturing facility in Croatia.

Nokia Digital Automation Cloud (DAC) application platform will enable low latency and secure, reliable 5G wireless connectivity for equipment, machinery, and a set of applications at AD Plastik’s manufacturing campus in Zagreb, Croatia. It will replace and overcome the limitations of the existing Wi-Fi infrastructure to allow AD Plastik to implement new Industry 4.0 use-cases and enhance operational efficiency.

Marinko Došen, President of AD Plastik Group, said: “Further digitalization and automation of business in our industry is simply a necessity. Just as your chances on the market are significantly reduced if you produce vehicles that cannot be connected, so you have to keep up with trends in the production of automotive components. Industry 4.0 is our reality, and we must be ready to continue its implementation. 5G technology, in addition to being a hundred times faster than the existing one, allows us to simultaneously connect smart and digital devices that we use every day in our production, and which will be even more represented in the future. Simply put, at the moment it is the basis for connecting devices that will help us in the production and delivery processes, and for the future we create the preconditions for building a modern, digital and promising company.”

Andrej Skenderović Project Manager at OIV Digital Signals and Networks, said: “OIV as a modern digital company is constantly looking for new solutions for existing and future clients. We see the Private 5G network as a key technology for further development in the next decade. That is why we launched this project with the aim of expanding the range of our services. In this technology, which is characterized not only by a large capacity of the network, but also by many other possibilities, we see the potential to start the recovery and further development of the industry. We hope that with this project we will continue to be the leading provider of innovative services in our country.”

Michael Siegel, Director Nokia Enterprise South-East Europe, said: “By implementing the Nokia DAC, AD Plastik will benefit from the highest reliability and lowest latency connectivity for all their operations, allowing the company to accelerate its digitalisation and industry 4.0 transformation for greater efficiency and flexibility while maintaining quality and safety in its manufacturing facility in Croatia”