Verizon recently partnered with USC innovation labs to use the company's 5G Networks for data connection between individuals, partner labs and technology. The collaboration will provide students with valuable experiences with industry-standard technology.
Verizon has provided a cell and antenna in labs that create a private network to facilitate connectivity throughout the several lab buildings across campus. The network makes it possible for research to be expedited by increasing bandwidth, throughput and elements, according to Ramy Harik, an associate professor of mechanical engineering.
“Right now we're going to leverage the 5G network to enhance the connectivity to actually make sure that the connectivity will enable the research that we're trying to do,” Harik said.
Data will now be transmitted, collected and analyzed easier, which researchers hope will enhance the study of civil infrastructure, healthcare and manufacturing. The research students and faculty members perform is facilitated by their data being transmitted, collected and analyzed easier by being connected with 5G networks.
Harik’s research team, called neXt, specifically deals in smart manufacturing, and the students are excited to see how it could improve their lab's research.
"It's obviously going to generate a lot of new opportunities for us and be able to push our research forward, because it greatly improves our data communication and the data exchange efficiency, so that can be within all of our equipment,” Devon Clark, a graduate student in mechanical engineering, said.
Verizon donated the equipment, according to Executive Director of the Office of Economic Engagement Bill Kirkland. Verizon has frequently preformed maintenance with the donated equipment in the labs on campus to help build the network.
“All the equipment, you know, the antennas and everything related to our lab ... they donated all of that,” Kirkland said. “A team of those (Verizion employees) keep coming back, setting up and building up a network. So it was both hardware and services.”
Students who work in the innovation lab will have the opportunity to participate in applied research and experience real-life situations because of this partnership.
“Our mission for the research team is to graduate the best students that are the future leaders in manufacturing in the U.S. and all over the world,” Harik said. “So this cannot happen unless you are working on today's cutting-edge technologies.”
Their research has been expedited by connecting them to other locations and their equipment has faster data exchange. NeXt's research pertains to advancing smart and automated manufacturing.
Smart manufacturing is creating technology that is responsive and receptive to its surrounding. Their lab is working on ways for machines to be more dynamic and be able to do multiple tasks.
“We're trying to do, is like push it more towards economist manufacturing, where the system is using the sensors, the cameras and the processing or digital twin, and other equipment to make its own decision without us having to force what it's doing," Clark said.
Verizon is aiding this research by facilitating communication between different facilities.
“It's all supposed to be interconnected and work together ... now we're all implementing our own projects only to work together and not step on each other's toes with it. So now we have the network power to accomplish all of that,” Clark said.
The partnership intends to benefit students and their research to prepare them them for their future careers.
“So the future is all about connectivity. And just like today is connectivity between humans. The future is about connectivity between equipment, between machines, and creating an intelligent ecosystem,” Harik said