9 June 2020
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In a recent press release Mitsubishi Electric Corporation announced that Japan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications has approved a test of a local 5G system including local base stations.  The system is to be installed in Mitsubishi’s Nagoya Works, one of Mitsubishi’s hubs for innovation and manufacturing and notably including their cutting edge Factor Automation Equipment production facility.

It is these Factory Automation (FA) products which are to be connected to the 5G demonstration system.  The FA product range includes human-machine-interfaces which allow operators to see, on the fly, the status of various manufacturing stages, as well as programmable controllers which allow manufacturing parameters to be changed quickly.  The section of the spectrum which has been licensed to Mitsubishi, 28.2 GHz – 28.3 GHz, sits within the microwave band of the 5G protocol which excels at ultra-high speed and ultra-low latency.  Given the base stations are to be installed locally, this will mitigate the oft quoted downside of the microwave band: that it has a low penetration depth into structures.  

The adoption of local 5G base stations seems to be a trend set to continue, given 5G’s relationship with Integrated of Things (IoT) platforms which will take advantage of the speeds and multiple connections available over 5G.  In this area too, Mitsubishi Electric has been making strides.  In a further press release, they announced their new ClariSense integrated IoT technology.  ClariSense is a unified design guideline and solution library for IoT systems, which is centralised and so allows for easier maintenance and expansion. The intent is for ClariSense to sit between various integrated solutions reliant on IoT platforms, for example healthcare, energy, and the environment, and the equipment which provides these solutions, for example AC, motors, programmable controllers etc.  

Mitsubishi Electric’s involvement in IoT is picking up pace, with the announcement of a 5G Open Innovation Laboratory to be opened in Kamakura.  It is intended that this centre will serve as a base for joint research and demonstrations of 5G based technologies.

Tom is a Partner and Patent Attorney at Mewburn Ellis. He handles a wide range of patent work, including original drafting, prosecution and opposition, particularly defensive oppositions, in the engineering, electronics, computing and physics fields. Tom also advises on Freedom-to-Operate, infringement issues and registered designs.
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