Verizon and IBM create 5G Industry 4.0 Testbed in the US

Using drones for inspection. (Image credit: IBM)

IBM and Verizon have announced that they are expanding the capabilities at IBM’s Industry Solution Lab in Coppell, Texas, to include a testbed environment for developing and testing innovative 5G-enabled use cases for Industry 4.0 applications. 

“Enterprise customers at the lab will be able to develop and test.”

Steve Canepa, IBM Communications Sector.

“Enterprise customers at the lab will be able to develop and test how Verizon 5G Ultra Wideband, which is being deployed in select cities across the US, can be combined with hybrid cloud, edge, and AI technologies to intelligent applications and gen use cases like robotics, guided vehicles, manufacturing process automation, visual quality inspection, data analytics and more,” said Steve Canepa, Global GM & Managing Director, IBM Communications Sector. 

New era of hybrid cloud

The lab demonstrates the power of optimising solutions for a new era of hybrid cloud that leverages the growing relationship between “connectivity and compute” to create new value. IBM say the lab will provide hands-on experience for enterprises as they seek ways to leverage the new 5G capabilities – reduced latency, increased bandwidth, network slicing and edge – by trialing new use cases and highly automated deployment and management approaches. 

“Truly innovative solutions and use cases to accelerate their transformation to Industry 4.0.”

Steve Canepa, IBM Communications Sector.

In order to power these trial use cases, Verizon has installed 5G Ultra Wideband and its Multi-Access Edge Computing (MEC) platform to enable customers to experience the value of high 5G speed, reliability, and ultra-low latency. The approach includes the seamless integration of IBM’s hybrid cloud and AI technologies, which run on Red Hat OpenShift. “Taken together, customers will have access to an environment that is designed to deliver a level of performance that enables truly innovative solutions and use cases to accelerate their transformation to Industry 4.0,” said Canepa. 

Standalone 5G

The newly announced testbed will provide a pre-commercial, standalone 5G and MEC environment, with the required technical resources and expertise needed to test and optimise products. Customers will be able to co-create business-specific use cases and jointly work with IBM Global Business Services and their ecosystem partners to leverage these technologies in addressing current business challenges and bringing new solutions and services to market. 

Asset monitoring and optimisation

Logistics and supply chain enterprises, can use the IBM Maximo Application Suite and IBM Acoustic Insights to trial how they can incorporate ultrasonic technology to anticipate and mitigate malfunctioning of their package handling machinery. These enterprises can leverage IBM Maximo, Verizon IoT solutions, and the power of 5G, including on the edge of factory floors, to deliver business value now.

Field worker productivity and safety

Using Maximo Mobile on devices with Verizon 5G, a company can trial scenarios where they use AI, remote human assistance, and real-time data to help foster on-the-job safety and enhance the quality and efficiency of field work with guided workflows, to reduce multiple repeat inspections and repairs of the same equipment.

Visual inspection

Industrial product manufacturers could leverage IBM’s suite of visual inspection products, including IBM Maximo Visual Inspection. Mobile devices running the suite could be mounted on assembly lines, robotic arms, or even held or worn by the user to inspect components and finished goods for defects using near real-time insights to improve manufacturing processes. 

IBM and Verizon have a long history of working together. Last year they announced a major collaboration to advance the era of 5G and edge computing in industrial operations, and recently that they’re working together to deploy a modern open hybrid cloud strategy across Verizon’s 5G network core and service orchestration platform.

Rachael Sharpe

Rachael is a British journalist with 17 years experience in the publishing industry. Since launching, she’s been freelancing, and working for some of the world’s best-loved websites and magazines including and and has also had a book, iPad for Photographers, published. A regular contributor at 5Gradar, Rachael is following the 5G market closely. Find out more at