Cambridge Consultants harnesses unlicensed 4G technology for Ocado warehouse

Thousands of fast-moving machines in Ocado’s distribution warehouse co-ordinated to within a fraction of a second using 4G technology in 5GHz Wi-Fi band

Cambridge Consultants harnesses unlicensed 4G technology for Ocado warehouse

Cambridge Consultants has developed a technology breakthrough with Ocado, the world’s largest online-only grocery retailer, using 4G technology in unlicensed spectrum in its distribution warehouse.

Existing mobile communications technologies did not offer the real-time control or scalability that Ocado needed. The Cambridge Consultants team identified that a system based on 4G telecoms technology deployed in the unlicensed 5GHz Wi-Fi band gave the best chance of achieving Ocado’s goal of co-ordinating thousands of fast-moving machines to within a fraction of a second.

The new wireless communication system is transforming warehouse automation solutions by enabling Ocado to control 1,000 machines, communicating with them 10 times a second, all within an area the size of an Olympic swimming pool – maximising warehouse efficiency. The wireless solution is also scalable, so it could potentially handle 20 times the number of movements.

The idea is for this unique system to play a fundamental role in Ocado’s business model, selling the system to international retailers. This is part of Ocado’s shift from an online grocer to becoming a technology leader.

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