Microsoft has teamed up with Nokia and the South Australian government to explore the potential applications of 5G and space technology in industries like Defence.
The new partnership will see the trio work together on “pathfinder” projects to “demonstrate how space technology combines with 5G ultra low latency edge connectivity”, Microsoft said.
It comes as Microsoft revealed plans to expand its presence in the state by setting up the Australian arm of its Azure Space team at the Lot Fourteen innovation precinct in Adelaide.
Lot Fourteen is home to the Australian Space Agency, as well as many companies working in the space, defence and cyber security industries.
Under the partnership, Microsoft and Nokia plan to deliver “rich new communications and data capabilities, and leverage satellite imagery, AI-infused analytics and 5G-connected edge processing”.
The capabilities are expected to enable a new generation of “digital solutions in remote areas such as rail safety, mine automation and other use cases that require high-performance edge connectivity”.
The partnership will also explore applications of “space and 5G innovation” to benefit industries like Defence, which require reliable high-speed connectivity when fixed-line connectivity is not possible.
Microsoft Australia’s Azure Space lead Lynn McDonald said the agreement would bring interdisciplinary experts together to develop, test and deploy new technologies and strategies.
She said the “important collaboration with Nokia will allow Australian organisations in multiple sectors to take a giant leap forward into a new era of communications and cloud computing”.
Nokia’s A/NZ managing director Anna Wills said the company is “proud to partner with Microsoft and the SA government to explore the industry transformation potential for 5G and space”.
“We believe that by combining our 5G for industry capabilities with Microsoft’s space and compute capabilities, we can deliver solutions that promise deep and lasting impact,” she said.
Nokia plans to expand its “existing Adelaide-based 5G field force with ... a 5G engineering resource to co-develop use cases with the Microsoft Azure Space team”.
Premier Steven Marshall welcome the partnership between Microsoft and Nokia, which he said “cements our state’s standing within the global space industry”.
“It is testament to our good reputation as forward-thinking, and collaboration within the high-tech and space industries, that companies of this stature continue to be attracted to SA,” he said.
“We welcome Microsoft and Nokia to Adelaide and look forward to working with both companies to build an even stronger space sector in SA and create many local jobs.”