Verizon on Monday showcased two robots on the stage of the Mobile World conference, saying that bots use 5G connectivity and mobile edge computing to communicate with each other.
Edge computing uses augmented reality and machine learning to analyse bulk data where it was gathered – whether factory floor, oil rig or office space – and requires fast data transfers of the kind that only high-speed 5G signals provide.
“When you have more than one robot on the floor, you run into a problem, as these are still just machines, and they can’t naturally communicate with one another,” Verizon’s Chief Strategy Officer Rima Qureshi said at the event in Barcelona.
“5G will make it possible for robots to connect with other robots and devices of all kinds in a way that simply wasn’t possible before,” she said.
Connected, smarter robots are considered crucial to making areas such as factory floors more efficient through automation, with remote monitoring cutting costs and the need for plant infrastructure.
As part of the demo, Qureshi beckoned at the stage’s wings and two robots emerged: one dog-like robot called Gigi – after 5G – that walked stiffly on four legs, and a second boxy bot named Mekeal – a nod to mobile edge computing, or MEC – which rolled in on traction wheels.