Orange and Nokia are expanding industrial 5G projects with SNCF and Schneider Electric in France

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The French train operator SNCF and its technical partners have unveiled a 5G Living Lab devoted to industrial practices to extend 5G tests in local stations and assist in the modernization of the group’s industrial entities.

SNCF, in collaboration with Orange and Nokia, has extended a state-sponsored industrial 5G testing platform using the 26 GHz millimeter-wave band at the Rennes train station in northwest France. Beyond testing 5G use cases for rail commuters, the strategy will address industrial maintenance cases for rolling stock. Separately, Orange and Nokia have expanded their private 5G setup in nearby Normandy with Schneider Electric, including LTE and 5G slicing.

“SNCF has always been a center of innovation, and the 5G Living Labs initiative reflects that goal.” Extending these tests to our industrial activities is strategic and provides us with a competitive advantage.

Christophe Fanichet, SNCF

The expanded project, which has received additional government funding, will include two local SNCF rails Tech centers in the testing. According to a statement, the project will “accelerate the transition to very high-speed wireless for industrial entities of the SNCF group,”

Orange will provide telecom network services as part of this ambitious collaboration, while Nokia will be in charge of connectivity technologies, including private network solutions. The Institut Mines-Telecom will examine the concepts of trust and sovereignty as they apply to telecommunications, precisely the issue of hosting data at the network’s edge (edge computing). Researchers at IMT (Télécom Paris) will also conduct multidisciplinary research on the social impacts, including economic, legal, management, and design. By implementing a trusted charter, the goal is to meet the general public’s expectations and foster true digital inclusion.

“SNCF has always been a hub of innovation, both in terms of services for our customers and industrial excellence,” said Christophe Fanichet, the chief digital officer of the SNCF Group and CEO of SNCF Voyageurs. “Extending these tests to our industrial activities is strategic because it paves the way for potentially game-changing innovations and gives us a leg up, particularly in terms of the dependability and competitiveness of our maintenance.”

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