As seen in the current Russian-Ukrainian war, supply chain and logistics have become one of the most significant failures on the front for the Russians. The modern warfighter is dependent on fast and reliable logistics not just on base, but in theater as well. Private sector partners are working with the Department of Defense to leverage solutions, such as 5G innovation, to solve these challenges for American forces. With an investment of over half a billion dollars in proofs of concept and living labs, logistics integrity and security is clearly a priority for the Department of Defense (DoD). At the Marine Corps Logistics Base test site in Albany, Georgia, next-generation private 5G wireless networks are being deployed for agencies to modernize logistics with automation.
Sal D’Itri, VP of General Manager Research Public Sector at Federated Wireless and Chairman of the National Spectrum Consortium, talked with Government Technology Insider to discuss how private 5G is driving innovation in logistics throughout the federal government. “We haven’t seen a wireless approach before that allows for scalability and growth to support capability like automation,” said D’Itri. Private 5G wireless networks enable the 5G smart warehouse testbed in Albany, Georgia. The 5G application connects IoT devices throughout the warehouse, such as robotics, barcode scanning, and holographic augmented and virtual reality, which boosts efficiency through reliable connections.
Traditionally, military personnel have manually or semi-manually processed inventory. Now, with 5G-enabled devices, there is full inventory automation and data integration into the systems, noted D’Itri. However, in order to successfully connect these devices and have robotics on the floor of these automated warehouses, “you need to have persistent, reliable connectivity, a lot of bandwidth, and low latency.” Private 5G provides this framework.
How the networks are constructed is what differentiates the progress at this Marine Corps Logistics Base. D’Itri explained how, in the past, organizations would spend time and money building infrastructure outside the location. But in this instance, the tables are turned and private 5G networks enable the “building of a wireless network from the inside out,” delivering coverage, capacity, low latency, and edge computing.
These private 5G networks are revolutionizing bases and enhancing capabilities for the military by enabling an accurate understanding of the “state of the capability set from not only the single warehouse but from anywhere in the world,” D’Itri explained. He continued, “military personnel can know the status of their inventory and what needs to be moved from different warehouses. For example, this can be done between repair depots and the battlefield. We haven’t previously had this fidelity of information. This will be absolutely critical for commanders and leaders to understand the status of that capability set anywhere in the world.”
Automation and logistics are essential to the warfighter’s security and success. By understanding the capability set of warehouses and knowing their statuses, force readiness and preparedness is assured giving the U.S. military a key strategic advantage in an increasingly unpredictable political environment.
To learn more about private 5G wireless networks, click here.