On Wednesday, U.S. listed telecom Verizon and innovation incubator Newlab announced the results of their first cohort of handpicked companies testing new 5G technology applications through their joint 5G Studio. Verizon and Newlab launched the 5G Studio earlier this year to support the development of next-generation industry applications built on Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband network.
Based out of Newlab’s headquarters at New York’s Brooklyn Navy Yard, Verizon combined 5G Ultra Wideband and mobile edge computing (MEC) capabilities with Newlab’s advanced prototyping resources and product realization support to help these startups develop industry-specific 5G applications.
Their transformative applications have been designed for multiple fields, notably energy, defense, industrial automation, mobility and healthcare.
“We are proud to collaborate with Newlab through the 5G Studio to enable leaders at the frontier of the fourth industrial revolution to leverage the extraordinary capabilities of 5G and edge computing to help create the products and ecosystems of the future,” said Elise Neal, VP of New Business Incubation at Verizon.
“5G technology and edge computing are ushering in an unprecedented era of innovation, with profound implications for how we will live and work,” said Shaun Stewart, CEO of Newlab. “The results produced by this year’s incredible cohort of 5G Studio companies is a testament to the enormous breadth of these solutions, to the cohort companies’ visions, and to the efficacy of Newlab’s Innovation Studio model in empowering entrepreneurial innovation.”
Six companies were included in the inaugural cohort. These included Exyn Technologies, whose ExynAI for robotic systems is billed as the first industrial drone that flies itself, anywhere, with no pilot or GPS . First commercialized on unmanned aerial vehicles, the platform-agnostic, self-contained technology enables safe data acquisition in digitally starved industries and “traditionally communications’-challenged environments.” Use cases include data mapping in underground mines, generating precise 3D maps to quickly assess dangerous environments, and capture reliable data on construction projects throughout the building life cycle.
The company has been funded by seven investors to date through four funding rounds, with early lead investors including the U.K.’s IP Group and Centricus; Arlington, Virginia strategic investor In-Q-Tel; and Corecam Family Office of Switzerland.
Ghost Robotics (robot dogs, believe it)
Fellow 5G Studio fellow Ghost Robotics produces ultra-fast, quadrupedal “legged robotics” (including military robotic dogs) in the emerging market for highly-agile teleoperated and autonomous unmanned ground vehicles (UGV™). Headquartered in Philadelphia, its clients include U.S. and allied military, homeland, intelligence and public safety agencies, defense and industrial companies, systems integrators, universities and research entities. Ghost Robotics is using 5G technology to establish robot-to-robot communication without external intervention.
Vecna Robotics produces Autonomous Mobile Robots for industrial warehouse service. Vecna’s platform, Pivotal™, integrates with warehouse management systems to maximize throughput, efficiency, and human-robot collaboration. 5G applications enable Vecna to develop virtual reality (VR), cloud-based solutions for rapid, reliable, continuous “tele-operations” at scale in the warehouse environment. According to data from Crunchbase, the company has raised $63.5 million following a Series B funding round in the first quarter of 2020, led by Blackhorn Ventures, an early-stage venture firm that backs companies using engineering solutions to improve resource productivity.
Phantom Auto is a developer of safety technology that can remotely control and easily navigate autonomous vehicles through a long-range teleoperation platform. These include applications for unmanned, precision driving of yard trucks, forklifts, commercial vehicles, and delivery robots navigating the last 50 feet of delivery. The company was seeded with a lead investment from Israel’s Maniv Mobility, with Bessemer Venture Partners leading its Series A funding round.
Ponto Care is a Medical Exam Delivery Service that enables exams and medical consultations anywhere by bringing the exam kit to the patient and broadcasting live to a doctor via AR. Ponto Care has leveraged 5G to enable doctors to remotely supervise and guide complex exams in near-real-time and high definition, allowing them to deliver comprehensive and safe care to patients that don’t have easy access to well-equipped exam rooms.
Finally, FOAM is a blockchain-based, geospatial network that develops “proof of location” solutions based on Ethereum protocol. Seeded by KR1, Europe’s leading crypto token and decentralized finance (DeFi) investment company, FOAM’s innovations include the FOAM Map, a “community-verified registry of crowdsourced places,” and FOAM Location, a permission less, autonomous network of radios offering secure location services through time synchronization, without relying on centralized sources like GPS.
Using 5G, FOAM has authenticated locations of various objects on blockchain in near-real-time without sensors while addressing privacy concerns by utilizing 5G mobile edge compute to run an Ethereum client that connects to the blockchain.