LIVE FROM MWL UNWRAPPED: Hakim Achouri, 5G and IoT solutions expert for digital aviation at Airbus, lamented challenges in working with telecoms vendors when implementing smart manufacturing systems, highlighting the need for a broader range of functionalities in services offered to enterprises.

In a keynote on the second day of Mobile World Live’s Unwrapped series, Achouri said the relationship with operators was getting better, with the greatest challenge actually the vendors providing core and radio set-ups

He explained enterprises, such as Airbus, did not like having a “black box” built into their infrastructure, largely due to strong compliance regulations such as identity protection rules around who connects to its network.

While he acknowledged that vendors want to automate their own systems, which increases sales, and lowers the maintenance and upgrade burden, this approach did not necessarily work for Airbus.

“The risk here is to build things that will satisfy the masses but not adapt to the specific of each of the enterprises,” he said.

Opening up on the current “difficult trade off”, Achouri said it had the choice between a telecoms-grade system which, if deployed, it lacks “the skills and resources to run in our infrastructure”.

“Or, do we choose a black box that does its job, but it is proprietary and closed?”

Private 5G investment
On the connectivity side of smart manufacturing, Achouri added one of the major drivers for adopting private 5G was to tackle pain-points of past technologies, including Wi-Fi.

“Wi-Fi provides a lot of capabilities but still has weakness in terms of dead spots, insufficient quality of service and insufficient business continuity.”

He explained the sheer size and scale of manufacturing aircraft meant Airbus needed a signal to cover all areas.

With Wi-Fi prone to a lot of interference it “was the baseline for us to invest in private 5G”.

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