Nokia strikes private 5G deal with IT reseller CGI in the UK – RCR Wireless News

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Nokia has announced another private-5G go-to-market deal, this time with the UK arm of Canada-basedIT consulting giant CGI. It is unconfirmed whether the deal extends beyond than the UK and Ireland. CGI has already deployed Nokia’s private LTE/5G gear at a smart manufacturing testbed in Northern Ireland. Its stated remit is to target Industry 4.0 customers.

CGI will sell Nokia’s Digital Automation Cloud (DAC) system, in both its standard and compact guise (plus its ultra-compact version, presumably, when it comes available), as well as its large-sized Modular Private Wireless (MPW) product. It will also offer the Finnish firm’s Mission-Critical Industrial Edge (MXIE) computing platform and developing range of industrial devices, alongside third-party private LTE/5G hardware and applications. 

The new smart manufacturing testbed in Northern Ireland is organised by Smart Nano NI, a local photonics consortium focused on advanced prototyping and smart manufacturing methods. “The consortium shares a niche capability around nano manufacturing and world-leading knowledge in photonics,” says a statement. The consortium has funding of £63.9 million over five years, including £42.4 million from a UK government innovation fund. 

Catapult UK, the UK innovation agency for digital technology, developed in conjunction with Innovate UK as part of its Catapult centres, is the lead partner in the Smart Nano NI testbed, which incorporates an LTE/5G-connected education site at the Springtown campus at North West Regional College, a higher education college in Derry-Londonderry, in the northwest of the country, and an LTE/5G-connected factory, hosted by the nearby division of US data storage firm Seagate.

Nokia has supplied both networks. An LTE-based NB-IoT network, for low-power IoT monitoring and tracking solutions (versus 5G for high-power IoT cases), is also on the cards, apparently. The idea is to “give both students and industry parties access to explore and test new use cases using the [private] 5G network,” said CGI. The Smart Nano NI project is billed as the “largest private 5G testbed in Northern Ireland”.

CGI announced plans to expand into Northern Ireland in February last year, by setting up a so-called Digital Services Delivery Centre with 50 staff in the capital, Belfast. The company has 6,000 employees in the UK (out of 90,250 worldwide), including 500 across four offices and one service centre in Scotland, which variously handle its IT supplier relationships with the City of Edinburgh Council and Scottish Borders Council, amongst others. 

It said at the time of the Northern Ireland expansion: “CGI plans to expand its client base in both the public and private sector across Northern Ireland, adding to a portfolio of clients throughout the UK and Ireland.” Ian Dunbar, in charge of telecoms consulting at CGI in the UK, said: “Industry 4.0 requires… sensor rich ecosystems underpinning the business solutions. Our partnership with Nokia delivers the connectivity services to enable solutions which solve these business challenges.”

Tara McGeehan, president for CGI in the UK and also Australia, commented: “This partnership brings the combined capabilities of our organisations together to drive cost efficiency into our clients’ operations. It will enhance our ability to bring world-class business solutions to our clients which deliver them a competitive edge in the market today.”

Nokia has kind words for CGI, too, of course. David de Lancelloti, vice president of Nokia’s enterprise campus edge business, said: “The importance of adequate technology in supporting operation and business infrastructure cannot be understated. We are excited to partner with CGI and look forward to collaborating with them as they continue to enable future digitalization of enterprises.”

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