Singapore-based operator Singtel is working with Hitachi Digital, the digital-change unit of Japanese tech conglomerate Hitachi, to combine their respective 5G and AI offerings in service of the Industry 4.0 sector. Hitachi Digital will deploy Singtel’s Paragon edge platform at its R&D Labs in Santa Clara, California, and also pilots its usage at an unnamed US factory to support industrial applications.

Singtel’s Paragon product, also described as an “ecosystem”, is pitched as an “orchestration platform for 5G, edge computing, and cloud”. Its pitch is to enable enterprises to deploy edge computing and AI “securely… [and] rapidly” on telecoms infrastructure, including public and private 5G networks. Hitachi Digital is bringing pre-built industrial AI applications to the bargain, plus its own consultancy services and edge/cloud and analytics capabilities. 

A statement said industrial private 5G is hard enough, already, and that the rising interest in and complexity of new industrial AI solutions makes Industry 4.0 even gnarlier; it suggested the combination of Singtel’s enterprise edge-networking orchestration platform and Hitachi’s ready-made industrial AI and analytics solutions will solve this. “Organisations have often struggled with industrial 5G deployments because of complex and fragmented solutions. AI has added a new layer of complexity to this equation,” it said.

The purpose of the new factory pilot is to validate Hitachi’s Industry 4.0 applications – relating to quality assurance, workplace safety, immersive training, and predictive maintenance – on the Paragon platform. The trial will also seek to integrate further Industry 4.0 edge/cloud applications and services – to enable enterprises to “transcend the limitations of complex, low-latency connectivity, and productivity experiences”.

The ambition is that the combination of Singtel’s multi-cloud orchestration and Hitachi’s applications will help the duo create “multiple Paragon-related offerings” to help enterprises with their Industry 4.0 transformation strategies, the two companies said. Hitachi Digital Services will sell their joint offerings as a Singtel-authorised system integrator. 

Bill Chang, chief executive of Singtel’s digital ‘infra-co’ business, said: “Enterprises in the fast-growing Industry 4.0 sector depend on high quality, reliable connectivity to ensure smooth operations. We are pleased to collaborate with Hitachi Digital… to manage its connectivity and cloud needs across Hitachi’s manufacturing facilities. Integrating Hitachi’s advanced AI applications with Paragon’s ecosystem will enhance our suite of solutions for manufacturing enterprises and enable them to seamlessly transform their operations powered by AI.”

Frank Antonysamy, chief growth officer at Hitachi Digital, said: “Hitachi has invested heavily in combining decades of digital, data, cloud, AI, cybersecurity, and connectivity expertise to establish transformative solutions for [industrial cloud] deployments. Our applications and consulting services in this area have been an integral part of the digitalisation movement impacting businesses around the world. This partnership… will enable us to increase the capabilities of next gen technologies in enterprise environments, enabling a new level of productivity for customers.”

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