In March 2023, SoftBank Corp. (TOKYO: 9434) and Sumitomo Electric Industries, Ltd. announced a partnership aimed at creating smart factories through the utilization of 5G. The collaboration will involve the integration of industrial 5G terminals being developed by Sumitomo Electric, which are scheduled to be offered in 2024 to support SoftBank's "Private 5G" service. As reported earlier by SoftBank News, SoftBank’s Private 5G was launched in March 2023 as a managed service that can be tailored to meet the needs of different enterprise customers.
As part of the collaboration, both companies will promote digital transformation (DX) at production sites by using AI-based video compression and analysis solutions, which are also based on Sumitomo Electric’s proprietary technology. Efforts will be made to improve productivity at factories, including those of the Sumitomo Electric Group.
Companies demonstrate 5G transmission of 4K video
SoftBank and Sumitomo Electric have conducted demonstrations jointly to realize 5G-based smart factories since 2019. In a trial conducted from December 14, 2021 to July 6, 2022, the movements of factory workers were captured using a 4K camera installed at Sumitomo Electric’s Osaka Works. The ultra-high-definition video was compressed by AI-based video processing (AVP) –Sumitomo Electric’s proprietary video compression technology–and was transmitted to a cloud server via SoftBank’s 5G network to conduct AI-based video analysis.
The use of AVP reduced data volumes by 88% compared to conventional compression methods. Furthermore, the video-based worker detection rate improved from 89% to 100%. While workers with small image sizes could not be detected in previous trials, the use of video captured by an ultra-high-definition 4K camera improved the accuracy of AI-based video analysis, bringing the detection rate up to 100%.
The technology used in the demonstration made it possible to quickly identify tasks that took more time than planned, implement countermeasures, and improve productivity. The demonstration results are also expected to improve safety by monitoring workers and their pathways.
(Posted on June 12, 2023)
by SoftBank News Editors