Telefónica and El Corte Inglés join forces to introduce 5G in the logistics industry

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Agreement between the main Spanish operator and the most important department stores in the country to implement the new mobile communications technology. Telefónica will deploy a 5G network on the El Corte Inglà © s platform in Valdemoro (Madrid), in a one of the first demonstrations of the industrial possibilities of this fifth mobile generation.

As EL MUNDO has learned, this pact between the two firms will modify both the management of the pallet racks of that logistics plant and the wireless communication that controls the machines. The change will be radical in this plant in the south of Madrid, the most important piece for the distribution of goods in El Corte Inglés and, with 500,000 square meters, one of the largest in Europe.

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On a network infrastructure of the Swedish company Ericsson, Telefónica will deploy for El Corte Inglà © s a private 5G network. In other words, industry is one of the verticals that can gain the greatest momentum with the new generation of mobile communications, not just consumption. Telefónica, multinational chaired by José María Alvarez-Pallete, and El Corte Inglés, led by Marta Alvarez, maintain a good historical relationship, as denoted by the fact that the production company has relied on the operator for its traditional telephone communications.

5G increases the capacity of transmissions from mobile devices and also enables interconnected smart objects to multiply. In addition, latency or delay is minimized, so that pooling of large volumes of data is almost immediate.

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The joint work between Telefónica and El Corte Inglà © s comprises two use cases, and would optimize the packaging processes and product classification.

Move pallets and control machines without cables

On the one hand, the movements of the pallet racks will be done intelligently, with routes in the shortest possible time that involve movements and elevations for the collection of packages. This optimization would be supported by the edge computing, one of the computer technologies associated with 5G and that consists of the analysis and close management of a large amount of data without the need to send it, for example, to a platform cloud or in the cloud. With 5G and edge computing, low risks and delays are already a reality.

This action for the pallet racks is carried out in the 700 MHz band, capable of achieving a high coverage penetration in places that are not very open, such as a logistics center with its shelves and packages. Telefónica and El Corte Inglés estimate that, with this remodeling, process times decrease by around 20%.

The second use case enters fully into the concept of Industry 4.0, by eliminating the physical wiring that today is necessary to operate machinery. Thanks to its wireless system, 5G will support communication at the Valdemoro plant that is lower in costs and times, in which the software will handle sorting machines without the need for cables. To do this, the millimeter wave band, the 26 GHz band, will be used, which achieves large bandwidths and minimum latencies.

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