Vodafone to build 5G mobile private network for Centrica
The partnership announced by Vodafone will see the company collaborate with Centrica Storage Limited (CSL) to build the gas plant of the future at its Easington plant facility.
As part of the partnership, Vodafone will launch the first 5G ready mobile private network (MPN) for the oil and gas industry, which will help digitalise a large proportion of its critical maintenance and engineering operations. As a result the company will benefit from the ability to assess the risk and urgency of repairs in real time, streamline activities, reduce costs and increase environmental and worker safety, due to creating a fully connected digital ecosystem.
“Improved worker and environmental safety and increased efficiency are key goals in CSL’s business roadmap. The advancements in network performance, availability, reliability and latency offered by an MPN mean that new overlay services can be implemented to address all of these priorities,” commented in a company statement.
The mobile private network built by Vodafone, harnesses Ericsson equipment to support a digital maintenance ecosystem for CSL, connecting employees to digital applications across the entire site to increase productivity and reduce cost.
Additionally, the mobile private network will provide CSL with real time visibility of work conducted at the plant, in addition to improved clarity when it comes to the condition and status of the multiple elements of the facility. Not only will this ensure productivity but also safety.
“The mobile private network we are building at our Easington terminal will help us address 1970s problems with a 21st Century solution, taking our business to the future from the moment it’s live. Safety is a critical measure of success at Centrica Storage and the solution we are putting in place in Easington will reduce risk for everyone on our site. By using this technology ahead of our peers, we will establish ourselves as leaders in the future of oil and gas processing,” commented Paul Stevens, Information System and Technology Director at Centrica Storage.
“The mobile private network will provide Centrica with a conduit through which we can connect a myriad of internet-enabled devices which now range from handheld personal devices to augmented reality headsets. This will improve safety, verification, asset performance and remote monitoring which ultimately leads to a safer, more reliable and cost efficient plant,” added Greg McKenna, CEO of Centrica Storage Limited.;
“Mobile private networks will revolutionise the way oil and gas plants are managed by increasing efficiency while also improving workers’ safety. Thanks to this powerful technology Centrica Storage can now start building the gas plant of the future and we are really excited to be with them on this journey,” concluded Vinod Kumar, CEO of Vodafone Business.
GfK and VMware: Innovating together on hybrid cloud
GfK has been the global leader in data and analytics for more than 85 years, supplying its clients with optimised decision inputs.
In its capacity as a strategic and technical partner, VMware has been walking GfK along its digital transformation path for over a decade.
“We are a demanding and singularly dynamic customer, which is why a close partnership with VMware is integral to the success of everyone involved,” said Joerg Hesselink, Global Head of Infrastructure, GfK IT Services.
Four years ago, the Nuremberg-based researcher expanded its on-premises infrastructure by introducing VMware vRealize Automation. In doing so, it laid a solid foundation, resulting in a self-service hybrid-cloud environment.
By expanding on the basis of VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management, GfK has given itself a secure infrastructure and reliable operations by efficiently operating processes, policies, people and tools in both private and public cloud environments.
One important step for GfK involved migrating from multiple cloud providers to just a single one. The team chose VMware.
“VMware is the market leader for on-premises virtualisation and hybrid-cloud solutions, so it was only logical to tackle the next project for the future together,” says Hesselink.
Migration to the VMware-based environment was integrated into existing hardware simply and smoothly in April 2020. Going forward, GfK’s new hybrid cloud model will establish a harmonised core system complete with VMware Cloud on AWS, VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management and a volume rising from an initial 500 VMs to a total of 4,000 VMs.
“We are modernising, protecting and scaling our applications with the world’s leading hybrid cloud solution: VMware Cloud on AWS, following VMware on Google Cloud Platform,” adds Hesselink.
The hybrid cloud-based infrastructure also empowers GfK to respond to new and future projects with astonishing agility: Resources can now be shifted quickly and easily from the private to the public cloud – without modifying the nature of interaction with the environment.
The gfknewron project is a good example – the company’s latest AI-powered product is based exclusively on public cloud technology. The consistency guaranteed by VMware Cloud on AWS eases the burden on both regular staff and the IT team. Better still, since the teams are already familiar with the VMware environment, the learning curve for upskilling is short.
One very important factor for the GfK was that VMware Cloud on AWS constituted an investment in future-proof technology that will stay relevant.
“The new cloud-based infrastructure comprising VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation forges a successful link between on-premises and cloud-based solutions,” says Hesselink. “That in turn enables GfK to efficiently develop its own modern applications and solutions.
“In market research, everything is data-driven. So, we need the best technological basis to efficiently process large volumes of data and consistently distill them into logical insights that genuinely benefit the client.
“We transform data and information into actionable knowledge that serves as a sustainable driver of business growth. VMware Cloud on AWS is an investment in a platform that helps us be well prepared for whatever the future may hold.”