Verizon Lights up First 5G Shipyard with Newport News Shipbuilding


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Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband service is now live at Newport News Shipbuilding (NNS), a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) in Newport News, VA.  HII is America’s largest military shipbuilding company and its Newport News Shipbuilding division turned to Verizon to explore how 5G can enhance the shipbuilding process as part of their digital transformation.  

“We are excited to partner with Verizon on our digital journey and be one of the first complex manufacturing businesses in the US to have 5G on-site,” said Bharat Amin, executive vice president and CIO of Huntington Ingalls. “Adding this capability to our infrastructure will allow our workforce to have the right information, at the right time, and at the right location to perform their jobs.”

With 5G’s increased bandwidth and ultra-low latency, NNS will be better equipped to meet network connectivity demands and will test new ways its engineers can use augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) to support everything from architectural design to employee training. The company recently undertook a rapid modernization transitioning from pen and paper designs to tablets and allowing smartphones to be used on premise.

As a company that deals with government classified information, the change not only led to increased bandwidth needs but also the need for network reliability and security. With Verizon 5G, network virtualization will lead to a dramatic reduction in service deployment times allowing for quick security updates. Further, 5G is expected to be able to support up to 1M connected devices per square kilometer and its increased throughput and low latency will enable things like autonomous robotics and enhance machine learning and AR/VR solutions to improve the overall speed and quality needed to deliver the nation’s warships.

“The first and most meaningful use cases for 5G will be in the enterprise space and we've built our 5G network to support those truly differentiated experiences that will reshape entire industries,” said Tami Erwin, executive vice president and CEO of Verizon Business Group. “We’re thrilled to bring 5G to Newport News Shipbuilding and explore how it can ultimately reshape the way shipbuilding is done.” 

With 5G on site, NNS plans to test how 5G can drive manufacturing efficiencies that will transform business operations with increased automation, advanced robotics, 3D holographic design and real-time analytics. 5G could enable the company to connect hundreds of IoT sensors to provide real-time status of processing, machines, alarms, etc. to helping them make better decisions in near real-time.

“5G will be a game changer when our engineers can put on a pair of AR goggles connected to 5G and map out 3D drawings or video chat directly with the those employees working inside a ship in real-time,” said Brian Fields, vice president of Business Transformation and CIO at Newport News Shipbuilding. “Using 5G to connect our shipyard ecosystem and improving the productivity of our employees who are designing and building the nations warships will truly be transformational.”

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