Research collaboration to unlock valuable industrial data in rural areas

A new research project just started – a Nordic collaboration that will develop and demonstrate advanced ICT infrastructure for integrating remote sensing, data fusion and data communication via 6G for industrial applications in rural areas.

This new collaboration is between Mid Sweden University and Oulu University along with the companies Starbit AB in Sweden and Solita Oy in Finland and the innovation environment Bron Innovation in Sweden.

Connected industrial applications, depending on the monitoring and control tasks, often demand diverse data communication requirements in terms of data rate, latency, and reliability. This is a major challenge when remote sensing data must be collected from rural areas that often lack infrastructure for advanced data communication and data analysis.

– The sparsity of the population in rural areas makes conventional wireless broadband connectivity solutions economically infeasible. Therefore, providing full-scale coverage and connectivity in rural areas has been a challenge, leaving all important information for the digitalization of logistics infrastructure locked and untapped. A challenge for small and medium-sized enterprises in these areas, says Dr. Aamir Mahmood, projectleader at Mid Sweden University.

In the new project ENSURE-6G, Mid Sweden University in Sweden and the University of Oulu in Finland, collaborate with two Nordic companies to modernize the data source to the data consumer pipeline by embedded intelligence in sensing devices and exploiting advanced solutions for wireless connectivity and data fusion of information coming from heterogenous sensors. One of the project’s target application area is to investigate and develop such technology for the digitalization of railway networks. By using new technologies for rail track monitoring, possible risks can be detected earlier and accidents be prevented. Through a connected railway system, maintenance and repair planning can also be improved and streamlined.

– In our aim to develop the needed connectivity infrastructure, we’re integrating remote sensing, edge computing, and data fusion functions through multi-scale 5G/6G connectivity to build a technology that will be put to the test in real-world scenarios through a demonstrator. Our aim is to harness connectivity and remote sensing infrastructure to enable data-driven monitoring, management, and optimization of supply chains. Given that the challenges and dynamics of the issues we’re tackling are uniform across national borders, it’s crucial to seamlessly integrate varying inter-regional ICT competencies, perspectives, and efforts. The active participation of industries across borders underscores the significance and potential of our collaborative effort to ENSURE-6G, says Aamir.

The research project is called ENSURE 6G – Remote sensing and data fusion integration for Industrial Logistics in Rural Areas with 6G, and is funded by the European Union’s Interreg Aurora programme. The project started in September and will last for three years. In the project, Mid Sweden University and Oulo University collaborate with the companies Starbit AB, Solita Oy and the innovation environment Bron Innovation.

Read more on the project website

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