“Good connectivity unlocks fantastic experiences, and there are several such examples in the world of technological innovation where connectivity has allowed for better experiences. We want to be seen as a key pillar that will unlock the digital transformation of the mining community.”
Founded in 1865, what is Nokia’s key current offering to the mining industry?
Our mission is to create technologies that connect the world. Nokia, along with Bell Labs, our research and consulting arm, has developed our Future X for Industries architecture to facilitate digital innovation in mining. We believe that at the heart of all digital innovation and transformation is the network, as the network connects everything. We enable mining companies to connect all aspects of a mine in a seamless manner with a standard methodology, so any communication in a mine such as voice or data can be consolidated on a single network. Having that layer means that applications and analytics capabilities can extract value from an operation. Network transformation is one of the key enablers for digital transformation, and this is the service we provide to the mining industry.
Could you elaborate on the Future X program?
Future X for industries and specifically for mining details a four-layer architecture approach in terms of how we believe mining communities can take advantage of technology. Our approach serves as a blueprint for them to follow in order to enable digital transformation and automation. The first layer is mission critical connectivity, which entails having a robust and agile connectivity layer that connects every aspect of the mine. The second layer is based on deploying cloud computing in order to enable analytics capabilities closer to where the action takes place in a mine. For example, CCTV allows one to view mine activities remotely, however a constant CCTV stream requires a high bandwidth. Bringing some of the analytics capabilities and video processing closer to the edge and relaying information back to a command center saves bandwidth and optimizes how the network is structured. We call this multi-access edge computing or mobile edge computing. The third layer is the digital value platform, which takes available data, analytically observes for correlations and provides common enablers for automation and autonomous decision making. The fourth layer is business applications that provide the visible output to inform decision-making and turn it into action. This approach to Future X encompasses our vision for the mining industry.
Given that Nokia supports many different industries, how are you able to gain industry-specific expertise in a niche industry such as mining?
The capabilities and knowhow that we have acquired by building large-scale networks, including connecting millions of people and devices, is the same capability needed to unlock other industries. They need the robustness and security of the network to support their mission critical operations. We extrapolate our knowhow on how people experience our network and apply it to specific industries such as transportation, energy, government services, extra large-scale enterprise and web scale companies such as Google. We have also increased our offering by acquiring new capabilities. For example, we acquired Space Time Insight, which specializes in analytics capability and provides expertise in predictive analytics, operational optimization and other areas where data is a key enabler for informed decision-making. We also partner with other companies in the mining industry, such as Komatsu, in order to ensure that the systems we deploy work with their vehicles, equipment and applications. Another example is our partnership with Sandvik, a Swedish underground mine engineering company, that is working on autonomous drills. We are deploying one of our newer solutions – Nokia Digital Automation Cloud (NDAC) – to Sandvik, which enables private LTE deployments in a seamless manner. Digital capability is a key aspect of autonomous drilling because proper communication infrastructure is critical to communicate everything back to a command center. Our strategy is to focus on the industries we are in as well as acquiring capabilities outside of our current knowhow.
What will be your key objectives in the mining industry in the coming year and could you provide a final message to our readers?
Our key steps will focus on our further expansion into Australia and the Americas. The adoption of digital innovation in mining operations has started to increase, and we are excited to facilitate this ecosystem by enabling mines to take the next step in their digital automation journey.
Good connectivity unlocks fantastic experiences, and there are several such examples in the world of technological innovation, such as Uber, where connectivity has allowed for better experiences. We want to be seen as a key pillar that will unlock the digital transformation of the mining community. We want to improve safety and increase productivity and efficiency while reducing costs in mines, and we believe this innovation will only happen when there is a robust, secure and high-performing communication infrastructure.