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September 28, 2023
Kit vendor Nokia is keeping its toe in the devices water with a set of new ruggedized 5G handhelds designed to connect over private networks in harsh and hazardous environments.
Ports, mines, chemical plants and offshore oil platforms are the type of environments Nokia suggests its new series of devices will be useful in. They are manufactured in the US, have a long lifecycle, are IP 68-rated for operation in remote or harsh environments, have dual-SIM and eSIM capabilities, and exchangeable batteries.
Users can customize keys to define a dedicated push-to-talk button, and other features such as large buttons, remote speaker microphones and earpieces enabling push-to-talk are designed to allow workers to communicate without removing safety equipment like helmets and gloves.
To produce these sturdy blowers, the company has partnered with i.safe MOBILE, a firm that apparently specialises in explosion-proof mobile devices. We’re told the devices can be safely used in hazardous areas (something called ATEX Zone 1 apparently) or further away (ATEX Zone 2) where flammable atmosphere is not likely but could occur for a short time.
These ruggedized 5G industrial devices can be deployed over Nokia Digital Automation Cloud (DAC) in a subscription-based as-a-Service model. Such bundles include Nokia Industrial device management, Nokia Team Comms and Nokia Network Digital Twin. Selling the kit in this way, claims Nokia, allows enterprises to move asset costs from capital to operating expenses and more easily manage the fleet of industrial devices in their plants. More types of devices are promised under the aaS mode in the future.
“At Nokia we are committed to helping enterprises reliably connect workers in the most intuitive ways to keep them safe and productive,” said Martin Beltrop, Head of Industrial Devices, Enterprise Campus Edge Solutions. “By extending our portfolio with the new 5G handheld devices and making Nokia Team Comms 3GPP-aligned, we can serve the growing needs of enterprise workers in industrial and hazardous environments as well as public safety teams. And, by leveraging the new capabilities of Nokia Network Digital Twin, teams will have more information than ever before allowing them to make instant informed decisions to maintain efficiency and network reliability in their dynamically changing environments.”
Martin Haaf, CEO of i.safe MOBILE adds: “Through this partnership, we are pleased to support Nokia with our decades of expertise in explosion-proof mobile devices with our latest 5G developments. The combination of our devices with Nokia’s solutions offers companies a great added value on their digitalization journey.”
While it’s obviously not a return to the nineties and noughties heyday when Nokia phones were a dominant force in the consumer market, having a small niche of industrial focussed devices that can take a tumble in its arsenal presumably acts as a sweetener when pitching private networks to industrial firms with lots of environmental aggro.
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