NTT Data and Zebra Unite to Strengthen Private 5G Devices for Industry 4.0

The collaboration between NTT Data, a major IT infrastructure and services firm, and Zebra Technologies, known for its expertise in intelligent data integration and asset management, marks a significant stride toward revolutionizing private 5G applications within enterprises. Aimed at fostering AI-driven applications crucial for Industry 4.0, this partnership is set to transform how organizations adopt and implement next-generation connectivity solutions.

Accelerating Innovation in the 5G Device Ecosystem

Addressing Barriers to Private 5G Adoption

One of the most critical aspects of this partnership is addressing the device availability challenge that has hindered widespread 5G adoption in enterprise environments. By focusing on developing 5G devices tailored for enterprise use, NTT Data and Zebra Technologies aim to facilitate the rapid expansion of the private 5G market. Market researcher Omdia predicts that this market will grow by 35% globally over the next four years, reaching nearly $10 billion by 2028.

The lack of specifically designed 5G devices for enterprise applications has been a significant barrier to the adoption of private 5G networks. Most available devices are suited for consumer use, which does not align with the stringent requirements of industrial and enterprise environments. NTT Data and Zebra Technologies are addressing this gap by creating devices that meet the unique needs of these sectors, focusing on durability, reliability, and high-performance capabilities. This initiative not only accelerates the deployment of private 5G networks but also supports the broader ecosystem of innovative applications enabled by this technology.

The Role of Intelligent Asset Tracking

The introduction of intelligent asset tracking systems forms a cornerstone of this alliance. These systems enable real-time monitoring and management of assets, enhancing visibility, operational efficiency, and security. This capability is particularly vital for modern supply chain management, a crucial component of Industry 4.0. By implementing 5G-enabled devices, enterprises can achieve unprecedented levels of asset transparency and control.

Intelligent asset tracking systems powered by 5G technology offer several operational advantages. They enable businesses to monitor the location and status of their assets continuously, which significantly reduces the risk of loss or theft. This real-time visibility allows companies to optimize their supply chains, ensuring that materials and products are in the right place at the right time, thus minimizing downtime and maximizing productivity. Furthermore, enhanced security features embedded in these devices provide an additional layer of protection against unauthorized access or data breaches, ensuring the integrity of the supply chain.

The Multi-Year Agreement and Strategic Initiatives

Simplifying Device Lifecycle Management

Under the multi-year agreement, NTT Data and Zebra Technologies will collaborate to streamline the lifecycle management and support of 5G devices through NTT Data’s Device as a Service (DaaS) practice. This initiative allows customers to benefit from continuous technology upgrades without the need for large capital expenditures. The DaaS model provides a comprehensive solution for managing the entire device lifecycle, from planning and procurement to deployment and ongoing support.

This service model includes various stages, beginning with initial device configuration and setup, followed by regular maintenance and updates. It also covers support and repair services, ensuring that devices remain operational with minimal disruption. By adopting this model, enterprises can shift their technology investments from a capital expenditure (CapEx) model to an operational expenditure (OpEx) model. This shift reduces the financial burden associated with purchasing and owning devices outright, allowing companies to allocate resources more effectively.

Integration with Existing Connectivity Solutions

The collaboration aims to provide a seamless integration of 5G devices compatible with various connectivity solutions, including Wi-Fi, Private LTE, and Private 5G. This versatility ensures that enterprises can modernize their technology infrastructure comprehensively, leveraging advanced connectivity to drive digital transformation initiatives. By ensuring compatibility with multiple types of networks, NTT Data and Zebra Technologies are helping enterprises create robust, flexible technology environments that can adapt to changing business needs.

The ability to integrate 5G devices with existing connectivity solutions is critical for businesses aiming to modernize their operations. Enterprises can implement these new technologies gradually, minimizing disruption while still benefiting from the enhanced capabilities that 5G offers. For instance, private LTE networks provide reliable and secure connections in areas where public networks may be insufficient. Incorporating 5G devices into these setups offers enhanced performance, lower latency, and greater capacity, addressing a broader range of use cases and driving further innovation in enterprise environments.

Enhancing Enterprise Operations with 5G and AI

Partnership with Qualcomm

The partnership between NTT Data and Qualcomm further illustrates the commitment to advancing the 5G device ecosystem. By leveraging Qualcomm’s expertise, this collaboration seeks to accelerate the development of robust connectivity solutions that support edge AI and Industry 4.0 applications, making low-latency and high-security features more accessible. This partnership enables NTT Data and Zebra Technologies to integrate Qualcomm’s cutting-edge chips and technology into their devices, ensuring they meet the highest standards of performance and reliability.

Qualcomm’s involvement in the partnership brings substantial benefits to the development and deployment of 5G devices. Their expertise in creating high-performance processors and connectivity solutions ensures that the devices can handle the demanding requirements of AI-driven applications. This collaboration aims to bring the benefits of real-time data processing to the edge, where decisions can be made quickly and efficiently without relying on a centralized cloud infrastructure. This capability is essential for Industry 4.0 environments, where rapid response times and high data security are paramount.

Deployment in Real-World Scenarios

An example of practical deployment can be seen in the Hyster-Yale Group’s manufacturing operations. NTT Data is implementing a private 5G network in these operations, coupled with Zebra Technologies’ mobile computers and tablets. This deployment allows for efficient asset and material tracking, improving internal communications and business intelligence. The integration of advanced connectivity solutions into everyday operations highlights the tangible benefits of this partnership, showcasing how cutting-edge technology can drive industrial innovation.

The deployment at Hyster-Yale Group illustrates how private 5G networks can transform manufacturing processes. By utilizing 5G-enabled mobile devices, the company can track its assets and materials with high precision, ensuring that all components are accounted for and properly managed. This real-time data collection and analysis enhance decision-making processes, enabling the company to respond quickly to any issues that arise. Improved communication within the facility ensures seamless coordination across various operational segments, contributing to overall efficiency and productivity.

The Impact on Customers and Industries

Benefits of the Device as a Service Model

NTT Data’s DaaS model provides a comprehensive solution for managing the entire device lifecycle, from planning to deployment and ongoing support. This model offers customers a cost-effective subscription program, transforming how enterprises handle technology investments. By lowering the capital expense of purchasing equipment, enterprises can focus on leveraging their technological assets to drive business growth.

This subscription-based model allows businesses to scale their technology needs more flexibly, aligning costs with user demand. Enterprises can upgrade or downgrade their device subscriptions as needed, ensuring that they always have access to the most advanced technology without the upfront cost. This approach reduces the financial risk associated with large-scale technology investments and ensures that resources are allocated where they are most needed. It also streamlines the process of technology adoption, enabling businesses to keep pace with rapid technological advancements without significant disruptions.

Transforming Industry 4.0 through Strategic Alliances

The synergy between NTT Data’s leadership in private 5G and Zebra Technologies’ strengths in intelligent data integration and asset management positions them as pivotal players in transforming industrial and enterprise deployments. This partnership facilitates advancements in real-time monitoring, operational efficiency, and robust security, setting new benchmarks for supply chain management in the Industry 4.0 era. By leveraging their combined expertise, NTT Data and Zebra Technologies are driving the next wave of industrial innovation, paving the way for more connected, efficient, and secure enterprise environments.

Strategic alliances like this one are crucial for pushing the boundaries of what is possible in the realm of industrial technology. By working together, NTT Data and Zebra Technologies can develop solutions that address the specific needs of their customers, creating tailored implementations that maximize benefits. This collaborative approach enables them to leverage each other’s strengths and capabilities, leading to more comprehensive and effective solutions. As a result, enterprises adopting these technologies can expect to see significant improvements in operational performance, competitive advantage, and overall business outcomes.

Testimonials from Industry Leaders

Commitment to Innovation and Customer Experience

Shahid Ahmed, group executive vice president of edge services at NTT Data, expressed his enthusiasm about the partnership, emphasizing the commitment to driving Private 5G and Edge AI adoption within enterprises. He highlighted the transformative capabilities of this collaboration, underscoring its potential to revolutionize how businesses operate and interact with technology. Ahmed’s comments reflect the broader vision and ambition of NTT Data to lead the way in enterprise digital transformation, leveraging cutting-edge connectivity solutions to deliver tangible business benefits.

Similarly, Julie Johnson, senior vice president of Enterprise Mobile Computing at Zebra Technologies, highlighted their dedication to delivering cutting-edge innovations powered by Private LTE and Private 5G networks. Johnson emphasized how this partnership enhances Zebra Technologies’ ability to provide their customers with advanced, reliable solutions that address the critical challenges of modern enterprise environments. Both leaders’ testimonials underscore the importance of collaboration and innovation in driving the future of enterprise technology, providing a glimpse into the transformative impact these developments are poised to have.

Impact on Frontline Workers

The partnership between NTT Data, a prominent IT infrastructure and services provider, and Zebra Technologies, renowned for its prowess in intelligent data integration and asset management, represents a pivotal development in the realm of private 5G applications within enterprises. This collaboration is designed to support the creation of AI-driven applications that are essential for the advancement of Industry 4.0. By leveraging their combined expertise, NTT Data and Zebra Technologies aim to transform the adoption and implementation of next-generation connectivity solutions.

NTT Data’s extensive background in IT services and Zebra Technologies’ specialization in data usage and asset tracking create a strong synergy. This powerful alliance is expected to drive innovation, efficiency, and productivity in various industries. The focus on AI-driven applications suggests that the collaboration will lead to smarter, more responsive, and adaptable systems, ensuring that organizations can fully harness the potential of 5G technology. Ultimately, the partnership is poised to shape the future of how companies integrate and utilize cutting-edge connectivity for enhanced operational capabilities.

Explore more