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.

Wireless IoT Sensors Lose the Batteries

In the beginning of wireless IoT sensors on the supplier side was the concept of inexpensive wireless sensors beaming process and environmental data to the enterprise. In the beginning on the user side was the fear of sending maintenance technician on annual rounds with pockets full of batteries sort of like the annual reminder to change the batteries in your household smoke detectors.

These thoughts were soon followed by engineers tinkering with a variety of methods for generating electricity from the process or perhaps the inherent machine vibration thus eliminating batteries.

Recently I learned of a company called Everactive that has released a wireless sensor product suite that eliminates batteries. They use energy harvesting for power, their own wireless network in which each sensor reports back to the gateway. Some impressive use cases.

The publicist’s pitch related to sustainability (and Earth Day). Some examples:

With tools like Everactive’s real-time Steam Trap Monitoring, a single sensor’s impact = avoiding $1,000 in energy costs, 10+ tons in annual excess CO2 emissions, and 1,800+ therms of energy.  That’s the equivalent of removing 2 passenger cars from the road for a single year or making 5 US homes energy net-zero for a full year.  When you consider that an average manufacturing facility has hundreds to thousands of traps and there are tens of millions of these throughout industry, the impact multiplies rapidly.

With real-time Machine Health Monitoring, B2B customers are able run machinery much more efficiently and avoid extremely costly downtime events.

In general, there are hundreds of B2B IoT applications where wireless IoT devices can be put to work in the service of far more impactful uses — to curb energy usage, reduce waste, lower emissions, improve air quality, and do it using renewable energy.

Examples of Everactive’s Customers/Technology Impact on CSR

Anheuser Busch reduced its CO 2 emissions by an estimated 7,561tons of CO 2 per year using the Everactive always-on solution, which is equivalent to taking 1,644 passenger vehicles off the road each year.

Hershey Since implementing the STM (Steam Trap Monitoring), the Hershey’s plant has already saved several thousand dollars in steam system savings. The maintenance team are now piloting Everactive’s new solution for Machine Health Monitoring (MHM).

Colgate-Palmolive During the first several months of using 230 Everactive steam trap sensors in Colgate-Palmolive’s Ohio and Indiana manufacturing facilities, on-site managers received email alerts about four critical steam trap failures. Teams were able to quickly replace the malfunctioning traps. Everactive says that Colgate-Palmolive recouped its subscription-based fees for service (including installation of the sensors and use of Everactive’s web data  platform) in just three months. Everactive also estimates that as a result of the sensor-based monitoring, Colgate-Palmolive is saving 20,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions yearly.

Merck For this customer, the advantages have been manifold. Everactive delivers steam trap insights second-by-second, rather than once every six months, and does so conveniently, with intelligent notifications and easy to navigate mobile and desktop interfaces.”I was able to get on my phone real quick and read what the condensate temperature was, so we could determine if there was live steam going into [the trap],” notes the plant’s Facilities Engineer. “[That was] pretty neat.”

End of General Purpose Wireless for IoT

Stacey Higgenbotham writes in her weekly Stacey on IoT newsletter about the proliferation of IoT networks. I’ve been noting advances in 5G and WiFi6 and occasionally about advances in Bluetooth, but she puts it all together here.

But as we have added more devices and more types of networks, wireless connectivity has become a lot more complicated. We have personal area networks for wearables and headsets that use Bluetooth. We have some devices on Wi-Fi 5 networks and others on Wi-Fi 6 or even Wi-Fi 6E. Smart homes might have Zigbee, Z-Wave, or Thread. Corporate offices might have a proprietary OT network and variations on 4G or 5G cellular.

Then it comes to the crucial point.

And someone has to manage all of this. Welcome to the end of the general purpose wireless network. Today, it’s all about special purpose connectivity.

On the one hand, corporate IT must pick up new skills.

So how will corporate IT departments manage the provisioning and acquisition of connectivity across multiple types of networks? Wi-Fi gear that handles Wi-Fi and Bluetooth that gets managed by the IT department has already come onto the market. But while the IT department might help manage the cellular network bills, with private LTE or private 5G it’s unclear how that gear and management will converge.

And, of course, changes also mean new opportunities for entrepreneurs to enter.

As general purpose wireless networks fade, enterprises will need help. The only question is: Who will win the race to provide it? 

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”

5G Private Wireless Network for Volkswagen’s Pilot Project

When Apple released its first iPhone with 5G capability simultaneously hyped by AT&T, consumer pundits swooned hoping for ultra fast speeds and capabilities on their new phones. That didn’t happen. Even now, not so much. I wrote to one prominent Apple pundit to point out that much of the benefits of 5G had little to do with his iPhone. Here is a brief story foreshadowing 5G benefits for manufacturing and production from Nokia.

  • Private 5G wireless network supports industrial connectivity at the production development center and pilot hall at Volkswagen’s headquarters plant in Wolfsburg
  • Network uses Nokia Digital Automation Cloud solution for reliable, private wireless connectivity
  • High-bandwidth and low-latency enable real-time data processing at network edge allowing Volkswagen to investigate new operational use cases

Nokia has deployed a private 5G standalone wireless network for Volkswagen at the car maker’s main plant in Wolfsburg, Germany. The private campus network uses the Nokia Digital Automation Cloud (DAC) solution to provide reliable, secure, real-time connectivity and enable Volkswagen to trial new smart factory use cases.

The industrial-grade private 5G wireless network covers the production development center and pilot hall at the Wolfsburg plant. With the pilot project, Volkswagen will test whether the 5G technology meets the demanding requirements of vehicle production with the goal to increase efficiency and flexibility in series production of the future.

Deployment of Nokia DAC offers reliable high-bandwidth and low-latency connectivity for sensors, machines, vehicles and other equipment. Initial use cases that are being tested include wireless upload of data to manufactured vehicles and intelligent networking of robots and wireless assembly tools. The deployment also ensures that all data remains on the campus, processed at the network edge in real time, giving Volkswagen full control. The network is operating in the dedicated 3.7-3.8 GHz band for local private wireless networks, that Volkswagen applied for and was allocated by the Federal Network Agency.

Dr.-Ing. Klaus-Dieter Tuchs, network planning at Volkswagen, said: “Predictable wireless performance and the real-time capabilities of 5G have great potential for smart factories in the not-so-distant future. With this pilot deployment, we are exploring the possibilities 5G has to offer and are building our expertise in operating and using 5G technology in an industrial context.”

Chris Johnson, Head of Global Enterprise business for Nokia, said: “Nokia is a worldwide leader in private wireless technology for Industry 4.0 digital transformation proven by over 380 large enterprise customer deployments, of which more than 75 incorporate 5G. By deploying private wireless to explore and develop its potential in manufacturing, Volkswagen underscores its leading position in leveraging digitalization to enhance efficiency and productivity. We are delighted to support this effort with the Nokia Digital Automation Cloud and our extensive experience in private wireless networks.”

Robotics, Vibration, and Water Systems News

Today is another “wrap up a bunch of products” day. It’s been a hectic couple of days where I was on a panel with the ZEDEDA Transform event live on the Web (I’m sure it will be ondemand shortly) while today Don Pearson of Inductive Automation interviewed me for an Inductive podcast. Below are two robotic announcements looking forward to new applications, a reliability oriented vibration sensor, and a water system.

MASS Robotics Partners with Procter and Gamble

MassRobotics helps create and scale the next generation of successful robotics and connected devices companies by providing entrepreneurs and innovative robotics/automation startups with the workspace and resources they need to develop, prototype, test and commercialize their products and solutions. It has launched a new partnership with Procter & Gamble (P&G) to collaboratively explore technologies around automation and manufacturing-related applications.

The goal of the partnership is to develop ideas to improve productivity, drive increased value for consumers, accelerate agility from more automation, and allow more flexibility in meeting the manufacturing deadlines of customers. In addition to exploring and accessing innovations from resident startups, MassRobotics’ overall community will help P&G remain on the cutting-edge of the robotics and automation industry and more closely collaborate with existing P&G robotics partners in Massachusetts.

MassRobotics is the result of the collective work of a global group of engineers, rocket scientists, and entrepreneurs with a shared vision to create a strong, vibrant robotics and IoT ecosystem. 

MiR Introduces Two New Robots

Mobile Industrial Robots (MiR), the global market leader in autonomous mobile robots (AMRs), launched its most powerful robots for transporting pallets and other heavy items around manufacturing facilities, warehouses, and logistics centers. The MiR600 and MiR1350 robots, which can lift up to 600 kg (1322 pounds) and 1350 kg (2976 pounds), respectively, are designed to safely and efficiently perform material handling tasks in challenging industrial environments.

The industrial and protected MiR600 and MiR1350 are the market’s first Ingress Protection52-rated autonomous mobile robots, which mean their components are protected and can tolerate dust and water drops.

New AMRs optimize all logistics—inbound, production and outbound

The larger MiR600 and MiR1350 are ideal for autonomously transporting heavy loads of materials and goods in:

• loading bays

• production and assembly areas

• warehouses

• material delivery areas

Like MiR’s other AMRs (MiR100, MiR200, MiR250, MiR500 and MiR1000), the MIR600 and MIR1350 navigate smoothly and safely among people and other transport equipment in dynamic surroundings. Sensors, 3D cameras and the latest laser scanning technology ensure 360-degree vision for precise and safe navigation and operations. The new AMRs are designed to comply with the industry’s latest safety standards, including ISO 3691-4 and ANSI/RIA R15.08-1-2020.

Fluke Reliability introduces the Fluke 3562 Screening Vibration Sensor system

Fluke Reliability introduces the Fluke 3562 Screening Vibration Sensor system. With its batteryless technology, long-range sensor-to-gateway communication, and ability to connect up to 1,000 sensors to a single gateway, the Fluke 3562 is a “set it and forget it” solution that can operate continuously, even in hard-to-reach places. 

When used with the recently released Fluke 3563 Analysis Vibration Sensor for critical machines and LIVE-Asset management software, maintenance teams now have a comprehensive solution for virtually every asset in the plant. The vibration screening system enables maintenance teams to spot machine faults before catastrophic failures happen, avoiding costly downtime. 

The Fluke 3562 Screening Vibration Sensor draws power from a machine’s heat or the light in the room using innovative thermoelectric or photovoltaic energy harvesters. The technologically advanced sensor screens overall vibration levels, temperature, and humidity, as well as trends the nine highest FFT peaks by magnitude. 

The Fluke 3562’s unique features: 

Batteryless technology — With either a thermoelectric or photovoltaic energy harvester, the sensor requires minimum upkeep over a longer period of time, reducing costs and labor. 

Flexible wireless network capabilities — The wireless gateway has triple network connection capabilities — Wi-Fi, LTE, and Ethernet — so it’s adaptable for any facility.

Scalable and long-range — With long-wavelength signals and the ability to connect up to 1,000 sensors, the Fluke 3562 can be placed further from the gateway, allowing sensors to be installed in more hard-to-reach areas.

KETOS Unveils Updates to its Smart Water Intelligence Platform

Addressing global water management issues, KETOS, Inc., a water intelligence innovator, announced enhancements to its award-winning, cloud-based KETOS Smart Water Intelligence Platform. Key updates include improved user experience and workflow management, greater flexibility to configure customer-specific instances, scalability to support larger concurrent users numbers, the ability to handle larger data sets, and more sophisticated analytics and reporting capabilities.

Bringing water intelligence to customers across agriculture, industrial and municipal operations, KETOS combines software, hardware, and predictive analytics to automate water monitoring and testing. The holistic solution helps solve water efficiency and quality challenges with real-time data and mission-critical insights.

Measuring over 25 water quality parameters, KETOS offers water operators a fully integrated, EPA-compliant solution with intelligent hardware, stable connectivity infrastructure, an interactive software platform, and actionable data. 

KETOS Smart Water Analytics enhancements support operational stability and business continuity efforts across its customers, offering predictive maintenance with zero labor hours required for water operators. Users now have access to improved graphical view enhancements, instant notifications, enhanced calendar-based test scheduling, push mobile notifications, and more.

Additional updates include:

• Vertical-focused analytics including reporting comparisons and correlation between parameters; 

• Improved flexibility  and overall user experience; and

• 24/7 remote support.