After the inauguration of its first Orange 5G Lab in Antwerp in October 2021, Orange Belgium partnered up with the iconic Grand Poste of Liège to showcase its 5G technology and demonstrated today during the grand opening its possibilities and applications together with the industry. The Orange 5G Lab will be used to develop and test innovative and concrete new 5G applications in collaboration with customers, prospects and partners.
Today Orange Belgium officially inaugurated its second Orange 5G Lab in Belgium: in La Grand Poste in Liège, inviting companies to discover, test and develop new innovative use cases on 5G Stand Alone (5G SA) network technology. State Secretary for Economic Recovery and Strategic Investments, Thomas Dermine as well as Karine Dussert-Sarthe, EVP Marketing, Design and Open Innovation of the Orange Group supported the grand opening where Orange Belgium showcased over eight 5G use cases. This Orange 5G Lab will join the Orange’s international network of 16 other Orange 5G Lab across Europe, fostering collaboration and innovation on an unprecedented level.
Highlighting various 5G use cases such as augmented ramp agents, human robots and intelligent pallet movers
The Augmented Ramp Agent: A ramp agent is responsible for the loading and offloading of air cargo and to manage all ground handling activities. Ramp Agents always work at a high-speed tempo, in different challenging weather conditions but always with respect of the safety. To power up the ramp agents activity in such a harsh environment an augmented worker – ramp agent – use case was introduced with an industrial RealWear smart-glass connected on a stable 5G private network. The objective of the use case is to eliminate all paperwork for the ramp agents and to facilitate the loading and offloading process through a seamless, online and handsfree workflow process. That makes the activity efficient, error-free, and safe for the agents.
Human Robot – Digital Twin: A digital twin is a virtual representation of a real-world physical system, in this case a digital 3D visualization of a robot that is operating somewhere in a plant out of the operator's line of sight. Such a Digital Twin allows the operator to do some system analysis, simulations tests and technical acceptance, before applying them in real life. The use case demonstrated today is a robot doing a specific sequence in the pharma industry, like manipulating or filling with fluids in test tubes and placing them in holders. The operator monitors the process via the digital twin that replicates and visualizes exactly what the real robot is doing. To avoid the operator having to enter the robot area with the risk of contaminating the workspace, they do a remote assessment of the error by using augmented reality (via hololens) and the digital twin.
The Intelligent Pallet Mover is an automated guided vehicle. Automated guided vehicles become more and more adopted in factories to make our businesses digital and to automate services. They become common practice in Industry 4.0 as they have a cost advantage, remain 24/7 available, generate optimal transport between warehouse and the workfloor and increased safety (38%) – equipped with collision avoidance intelligence and self-learning. Automated guided vehicles are not only ‘autonomous’ but they are also ‘connected’ and that is where 5G becomes important for: Real-time Remote Control, strengthening the coordination of automated guided vehicles and 5G offers a high-speed and low latency network for the communication between these vehicles, making them robots to have a high level of self-fleet-organization and cooperation. They also improve the safety in Human-Machine Interaction.
Orange 5G Lab is a service offer for customers, prospects and all economic players interested in 5G technology
More than ever, businesses are expecting telecom providers to not only offer connectivity but also a broader range of services, as well as guidance on new technologies. In that context, the Orange 5G Lab is a service offer for customers, prospects and all economic players interested in 5G technology and is based on:
1. A program for discovering 5G and its various usages whereby experts provide key knowledge through explanation, demonstration, and animation.
2. A program to develop and test new and innovative use cases or new products and services, in real-life conditions, using the 5G SA network technology.
Since the Orange 5G Lab’s radio network is directly connected to the Orange 5G Core system, the development of new use cases in the Lab allows it to deploy and easily scale them to the customers’ premises. In addition, the Orange 5G Lab site also hosts various types of certified 5G devices: routers, smartphones, tablets, smart glasses and cameras, that work on a 5G SA network and are tested and validated by Orange engineers.
Orange Belgium invites all start-ups, scale-ups and industrial players who are interested in the technology to try out the 5G functionalities and access certified equipment. Candidates for developing new use cases can also benefit from the expertise available in the Orange Group´s rapidly growing international network of Orange 5G Lab (15 sites outside Belgium in Europe and MEA). Many local actors from both the industrial sector and universities have already indicated their interest in the project.
La Grand Poste, in the heart of an important economical triangle
With its 8,000 m² of total surface area including private offices, 200 coworking spaces, as well as many multimedia studios, la Grand Poste is distinguishing itself as one of Wallonia’s most important and creative technological hubs. An ideal setting for Orange Belgium´s second Orange 5G Lab.
Thanks to this partnership, all local entrepreneurs, the university world, the start-ups and economic and social players will have open access to this new technology. Orange Belgium’s experts will support the development of new solutions on 5G by furnishing all necessary information and accompanying pilot projects.
Xavier Pichon, Chief Executive Officer at Orange Belgium: "After the opening of our first Orange 5G Lab in Antwerp and its great success in generating a positive dynamic in the region, we are delighted to be able to develop 5G and its applications in Wallonia as well. Here we will be able to facilitate the innovation and creativity of local actors and demonstrate 5G’s potential in a fully transparent manner, while basing ourselves on a first-class national and international network. We aim to cover 40% of the population with 5G by 2023 and 90% by 2025. Moreover, this approach supports the Walloon economic recovery plan and fits within its objectives to support start-ups, stimulate innovation, foster sustainability and assist training and economic development."
Gérôme Vanherf, CEO of la Grand Poste: “La Grand Poste is designed to facilitate encounters between all of the players in the innovation ecosystems (start-ups, SME's, large companies, academic players, investors, government authorities, the general public, etc.) and thus generate high-potential projects. Facilitating access to technological innovations such as 5G thus forms a part of our missions. Together with Orange 5G Lab we will help everyone better understand the potential of this technology and its future concrete applications in key sectors such as health, mobility, the energy transition, the media, the cultural and creative industries, etc. We are convinced that this Orange 5G Lab will offer strong advantages for our community and for the broader Liège region.”
Thomas Dermine, State Secretary for Economic Recovery and Strategic Investments, in charge of Science Policy, comments: “This is a real technological breakthrough, 5G is a magnificent economic and societal opportunity that will increase the competitiveness of companies and the number of jobs in Belgium.”
Karine Dussert-Sarthe, Executive Vice President Marketing, Design and Open Innovation at Orange: “We are happy to support the opening of Orange 5G Lab in Liège, leveraging our international Orange 5G Lab program which helps businesses and innovators unlock value from 5G. We are pleased with the success, already more than 2,000 organizations have benefited from Orange 5G Lab program in 17 locations around the world.”