The private 5G network will enable new technologies including drones, autonomous vehicles, and push-to-talk mobile capabilities

In the summer of last year, Verizon Business stuck up a deal with the Port of Virginia, pledging to deploy a private 5G network at the Virginia International Terminal (VIT), one of the port’s main container terminals.

The partners said the deal would allow the port operator to explore the use of cutting-edge technologies throughout the location, most notably autonomous over-the-road trucks to drop-off and pick-up shipping containers.

Now, roughly 18 months later, it seems that the deployment has been a major success, with Verizon announcing its intention to repeat the deployment at another of the port’s neighbouring locations, the Norfolk International Terminal (NIT).

The new deployment will cover 270 acres of the NIT, replacing the existing Wi-Fi solution. The network’s hardware will be provided by Ericsson.

As before, Verizon says the private 5G network will facilitate the use of a wide range of modern industrial solutions, including safety and surveillance drones, autonomous trucks, and remotely controlled cranes. Combined, these new technologies should greatly improve the port’s operational efficiency and reduce downtime, as well as increasing worker safety.

It will also incorporate Verizon’s Push-to-Talk (PTT) solution – an app-based solution that essentially turns the user’s smartphone into a walkie-talkie. PTT can reportedly allow up to 250 people to communicate via the push of a button, not only transmitting voice data but also files, photographs, and video.

“The expansion of Verizon’s private 5G presence at the Port of Virginia shows that companies can modernize and improve their operations by starting small with new technology, proving out the use cases and applications that are right for their business, and then scaling up to do even more,” said Kyle Malady, CEO of Verizon Business. “The Port of Virginia, through the private 5G journeys at VIT and NIT, epitomize how to adopt cutting edge technology to transform a business efficiently and productively.”

Verizon has been deploying private 5G networks in ports for almost two years now, the first of which having taken place in the UK at the Port of Southampton.

The fact that the Port of Virginia is seemingly satisfied enough with Verizon’s private 5G solution to essentially buy it twice is surely a major feather in Verizon Business’s cap. It also vouches for the solution’s scalability – a factor which is often bragged about in company press releases but rarely demonstrated when it comes to private networks.

Are private networks delivering on the industrial promise of 5G? Join the operators in discussion at this year’s Connected America conference live in Dallas

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