MWC 2019: Intel’s ‘network in a box’ for smart cities

Intel is experimenting with combining artificial intelligence, antennas, multi-access edge computing, and 5G in a single, compact box to be used across smart city deployments.

Intel is targeting smart cities deployments by looking into providing a network-in-a-box offering that integrates its Movidius artificial intelligence (AI) accelerator, multi-access edge computing, and a 5G mobile network all into a single offering.

"It's essentially a solution that can go into smart city where it sits like a beacon up on a wall," Intel GM of 5G Advanced Technologies Rob Topol told ZDNet at Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2019 in Barcelona.

"It's a small box of tech ... that has AI, as well as antenna, and it can be used for a lot of the vision capture in a smart city for transportation, for logistics, and we're starting to share that with partners now.

"Right now, we just call it a network-in-a-box concept, but it's taking all these existing technologies that Intel has and showing them, so I do expect that we'll have some smart city examples later this year that we'll use on that."

According to Topol, when combined, Intel's retail and manufacturing demos at MWC 2019 showcase its network-in-a-box offering.

Intel's MWC demos are all running on 5G networks by both Nokia and Ericsson, with the manufacturing demo alongside HPE showing how an industrial area with robots can implement a "virtual safety fence" using Intel's AI Movidius silicon to detect when a person enters the area.

Once someone is detected, the heavy machinery will automatically stop instantly.

The retail applications, meanwhile, involve an unmanned smart kiosk with CloudPick, and a smart retail sign with LG-MRI, AT&T, and Smart Edge.

The smart screen performs behavioural analysis on the person standing before it, judging height, age, and mood, as well as projecting a selection of products that the person may be interested in buying.

On the entertainment side of 5G, Intel has partnered with Sony Pictures and Nokia on a Spider Man VR demo; with Warner Bros and Ericsson on a Batman AR and VR merged reality demo; and with Tencent on cloud gaming.

"5G will be a much broader technology than what we've seen in the past," Topol said.

"5G is about new applications and services ... it's going to be much more around us as an everyday technology."

Disclosure: Corinne Reichert travelled to Mobile World Congress 2019 in Barcelona as a guest of Intel

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