BELLEVUE, Wash. & TACOMA, Wash.–()–5G Open Innovation Lab (5G OI Lab), EDGE Cluster, Washington Maritime Blue and the City of Tacoma along with a coalition of partners today unveiled a 5G Private Network at Tacoma Tideflats supporting five enterprise clients. This landmark pilot project showcases the potential of a 5G innovation ecosystem as an enabler for business modernization. The clients supported by this network include: TOTE Maritime Alaska, Silverback Marine, Trident Seafoods, SAFE Boats International, and Motive Power Marine.

“Ports are the lifeblood of coastal economies around the world, and there is fierce competition to stay ahead. Washington State has a “Blue Economy” strategy in place to help the state create a thriving and sustainable maritime industry through 2050 and beyond,” said Joshua Berger, president and CEO of Washington Maritime Blue.

This pilot project provides initial network coverage for five enterprise clients while leveraging existing infrastructure, including floodlights and utility poles, to optimize cost and effort. The network’s initial phase spans the East Blair Peninsula, where the client operations are located. Scott Waller, CTO of the 5G Open Innovation Lab, spearheaded the design and implementation, collaborating with 5G OI Lab partners, including Comcast, Dell Technologies, VMware by Broadcom, Intel, Expeto, Ericsson, and others.

“Our goal from day one was to build an enterprise-ready private 5G network that’s extensible. The network we have today meets the needs of our current enterprise clients and can be extended to cover future clients across the Tacoma Tideflats,” said Scott Waller.

Jim Brisimitzis, CEO and General Partner of 5G OI Lab, added, “Networks are enabling platforms to solve enterprise problems. Together with our partners and alumni, we intend to demonstrate the true potential of private connectivity, edge computing, and applications as enablers to modernize enterprises in the Tideflats and beyond.”

The Tacoma Tideflats 5G Network Feasibility Study, developed by the 5G OI Lab, Washington Maritime Blue, Avanade, City of Tacoma, Washington Department of Commerce, Business Finland, Impact Washington, and Tacoma Power, was published in January 2022. This study uncovered use cases and critical investment areas that several businesses located within the Tideflats identified as pivotal for their operations. The network announced today received funding through the Washington State Department of Commerce Evergreen Manufacturing Growth Grant, awarded in June 2023. This investment will foster a technology platform to support initiatives from the study such as:

  • Orchestration and Efficiency across the Tacoma Tideflats, improving supply chain visibility.

  • Infrastructure Modernization of the Tacoma Tideflats, enhancing physical and virtual infrastructure.

  • Improving Safety across the Tacoma Tideflats, prioritizing worker and community safety.

  • Enabling a Sustainable Future in the Tacoma Tideflats, focusing on ecological and community health.

“Everyone at the table is united by a desire to improve data sharing across the ecosystem including trucking, rails, ships, and the environment,” said Maritime Blue’s Berger. “In providing access to a private network to innovators and startups seeking to apply IoT technology to Blue Economy sectors, we can amplify the Tacoma Tideflats as the prime region in North America for tech development and living wage jobs. This Field Lab allows our team to facilitate and convene specific technology challenges that address key use cases benefiting from shared data and utilization.”

“Collaboration and innovation are prominent characteristics of Tacoma, and this project is the latest example,” said Jeff Robinson, Director of Community and Economic Development for the City of Tacoma. “We are delighted to support our existing businesses through this state-of-the-art network and to welcome the entrepreneurs who will use the network to solve challenges and build the businesses of tomorrow.”

“It is exciting to see this type of innovation and new ideas being implemented in the Tideflats. Adoption of strategic innovations in technology can be a catalyst for business success and we look forward to hearing the outcomes from this group of Port tenants,” said Deanna Keller, Port of Tacoma Commissioner. “Congratulations to 5G Open Innovation Lab, Maritime Blue, the City of Tacoma, and all of the partners involved on the successful implementation of the 5G private network in the Tideflats.”

“It is amazing to see our vision for a connected port ecosystem at Tacoma Tideflats come to life. It is a tremendous real-world industry showcase of the true potential for 5G connectivity,” says Jim Brisimitzis.

About Washington Maritime Blue

Washington Maritime Blue is a non-profit, strategic alliance formed to accelerate innovation and sustainability in support of an inclusive blue economy. With a mission to implement Washington State’s Strategy for the Blue Economy delivered by Governor Jay Inslee’s Maritime Innovation Advisory Council, we are a partnership between industry, the public sector, research & training institutions and community organizations. Maritime Bluework works to create a world-class, thriving, equitable and sustainable maritime and ocean industry through knowledge sharing, joint innovation, entrepreneurship, commercialization, business and workforce development. Learn more at https://maritimeblue.org/

About 5G Open Innovation Lab

The 5G Open Innovation Lab is a global innovation ecosystem that brings together multi-stage startups, enterprise and global technology platforms and investors to connect and collaborate on developing disruptive new enterprise technologies and solutions that capitalize on the power of edge computing connected to public and private 5G networks.

In just 4 years, the Lab has attracted a roster of world-class corporate and industry partners as well as 118 multi-stage enterprise startups who have collectively raised $2.088B of venture capital. Through 5G OI Lab’s unique model of open collaborative innovation, corporate partners work directly with ecosystem startups to accelerate commercialization through proof of concept, go-to-market, and other engagements and opportunities.

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