With the rapid rollout of 5G in India, Himachal Futuristic Communications Limited (HFCL) has collaborated with Microsoft to create converged private 5G solutions that harness new-age technologies of internet of things (IoT), cloud, edge computing, artificial intelligence (AI) and analytics to transform industry verticals that include manufacturing, retail and warehouse, mining, education, defence, railways, smart city, etc..

HFCL is deploying one such private 5G enabled Industry 4.0 solution as a pilot program using Microsoft Azure public MEC and HFCL 5G indoor small cell, at its optical fibre manufacturing plant in Hyderabad. Along the fibre production line, HFCL’s 5G small cells enable real-time fibre defect detection using video analytics and image processing. Microsoft Azure public MEC which integrates Azure compute and edge-optimised Azure services with the mobile operator’s public 5G network connectivity, analyses this video data in real-time to identify any defects and generates insights for root cause analysis and preventive care. Through this AI-enabled, cloud-connected, low-latency private 5G solution, HFCL is improving the operational efficiency and manufacturing agility of its fibre manufacturing plant.

Commenting on the partnership, Mahendra Nahata, Managing Director, HFCL, said, “We are very pleased with our collaboration with Microsoft in implementing Industry 4.0 solution in our own factory as a pilot program, using Microsoft Azure public MEC. The best practices and the lessons learnt will act as a playbook to deploy private 5G solutions for manufacturing and other industry verticals embarking on a similar digital transformation journey. HFCL’s private 5G solutions bring together key components – 5G connectivity, data collectors and sensors, AI, analytics, edge and cloud platform – to create horizontal and vertical solutions to digitally transform industries. These pre-validated, pre-integrated solutions leverage partnerships with telcos, industry best of breed components and Azure public MEC to deliver highly scalable, rapidly deployable solution for enterprises.

Meanwhile, Samik Roy, Executive Director, Corporate, Medium, Small Business, Microsoft India, said, “Microsoft Azure provides seamless and rapid capabilities to roll out Industry 4.0 solutions at scale while solving critical business problems at the operator edge. HFCL can now leverage Azure compute, storage, networking, and AI capabilities for a comprehensive portfolio of private 5G use-cases across industry verticals.”