Samsung, AT&T Creating America’s First 5G Manufacturing “Innovation Zone” in Texas

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Samsung Electronics America (SEA) and Samsung Austin Semiconductor (SAS) are working with AT&T, to create America’s first manufacturing-focused 5G “Innovation Zone” in Austin, Texas.

With 5G promising to eventually usher in a new era for manufacturing, this new Zone will help provide crucial insight into how smart manufacturing can evolve and strengthen the industry at large.

Next-Generation 5G for SAS

5G is set to be the next generation of mobile communications. Its delivery objectives, grounded in an ecosystem that covers chipsets, devices, and other equipment, include reduced latency, high data rates, higher system capacity and massive device connectivity.

The goal of the new 5G-powered testbed is to provide tangible results for a better understanding of how 5G can impact manufacturing, as well as to provide insight into the future of a smart factory. The 5G-enabled “Innovation Zone” sits within Samsung Austin Semiconductor, one of the world’s most advanced semiconductor fabrication facilities. It will harness Samsung’s 5G equipment as well as AT&T’s 5G wireless technology.

AT&T Business Chief Marketing Officer, Mo Katibeh, notes that this project is an industry first. “We’re testing the real-world impact 5G will have on the manufacturing industry. Ultimately, we will use what we learn from this 5G ‘Innovation Zone’ to help create better technology experiences and improvements in SAS’s plant, along with creating a future blueprint for people and businesses across all industries.”

The Future of Smart Factories

5G-enabled technologies promise to eventually have a significant impact on the development of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, particularly for connected manufacturing. 5G support has the potential to unlock new experiences in AR, powerful machine learning and AI applications, and to provide the next step in intelligent robotics and predictive maintenance.

Some of the new technologies and use cases that SEA and AT&T may explore in the SAS Innovation Zone include 4K video as a sensor to improve plant security and detection response, industry IoT sensors to monitor for environmental and equipment conditions, AR and VR for employee training, and enhanced location services for plant safety.

“As we evolve into a smart factory, Samsung Austin Semiconductor is continuously focused on leveraging data and automation to increase system performance,” says Dr. Sang-Pil Sim, President of SAS. “This collaboration with Samsung Electronics America and AT&T will help us test how a 5G network can improve mobility, performance and efficiencies within our plant.”

One Step Closer

This announcement marks a step forward on the way to the widespread commercialization and use of 5G technologies. In September, Samsung announced its first 5G city, which tests diverse 5G use cases and learn technical requirements from its real-world application.

The launch of the Austin “Innovation Zone” is another breakthrough for enhanced connectivity across the board. “We’re hard at work deploying our commercial mobile 5G network for people and businesses in parts of a dozen cities by the end of this year,” says Igal Elbaz, Senior Vice President of Wireless Technology at AT&T. “Seeing a number of technologies enhanced and improved by 5G at a large manufacturing plant will give us an exciting glimpse into a 5G world, which is closer than ever.”

“This test bed demonstrates Samsung’s expertise in innovation spanning chipsets to devices to network technology,” notes Wilf Norrlinger, Vice President of the SEA Networks Division. “We’re excited to expand upon our recent commercial networks agreements with AT&T to bring 5G technologies to the forefront of industry, and advance specific use cases to accelerate new market opportunities.”

Since 2000, Samsung has been developing 5G technologies to advance network capabilities in order to meet the ever-growing data demand in an increasingly connected world. Using in-house technology and assets, Samsung has managed to develop the first commercial ASIC-based 5G modems and mmWave RFICS, enabling the design of compact access units and CPEs.

In the first half of 2018, the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) granted authorization of Samsung’s 5G access units and CPEs for the first time. Samsung continues to drive the next wave of technologies taking an open approach towards providing a seamless pathway to a 5G world by unlocking the potential of mobile services and future connections.


TelecomDrive Bureau covers the latest developments happening in the space of communications, devices and innovations in targeted geographies of India, SAARC, Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa regions.TelecomDrive Bureau is headed by Zia Askari. He can be reached at ziaaskari@telecomdrive.com