IoT WebTalk: Enabling 5G Autonomous Robots in the Factory

Monday 27 Sep 2021 | 5G | Artificial Intelligence | Manufacturing | North America | Resources |

Digital transformation is enabling the fourth industrial revolution; where interconnectivity and interoperability can deliver large scale automation and process orchestration for manufacturing and the wider industrial sectors.

Connected, smarter robots are considered crucial to delivering efficiencies through automation and remote monitoring, in areas such as factory floors. 5G IoT will make it possible for robots to connect with other robots, devices and systems in a way that wasn’t possible before.

This webinar took a deep dive into 5G Autonomous Mobile Robots, the functionality and solutions they could bring to an industrial setting, and the role of 5G IoT technologies in enabling them. Verizon is driving Industry 4.0 for manufacturers through the orchestration of robotics over Verizon’s 5G network. Understand how Verizon is delivering interconnectivity and interoperability to shape the 5G ecosystem in conjunction with customers and partners.

Topic Speaker
Introduction Jo Gilbert, Technical Director & Manufacturing Lead, GSMA
Enabling Scaled Autonomous Robots in the Factory Elise Neel, VP, Verizon New Business Incubation &
Joel Yaffe, Head of AMR Strategy , Verizon Robotics Business Group (RBG), Verizon
Panel Discussion & Industry Showcase Moderator: Jo Gilbert, Technical Director & Manufacturing Lead, GSMA

  • Avik De, Chief Technology Officer, Ghost Robotics
  • Elise Neel, VP New Business Incubation, Verizon
  • Joel Yaffe, Head of AMR Strategy , Robotics Business Technology, Verizon
  • Matthew Cherewka, Director of Strategy, Vecna Robotics
  • Robert Toppel, President, e1ectr0n Inc.
Audience Q&A Moderator: Jo Gilbert, Technical Director & Manufacturing Lead, GSMA


Avik De

Chief Technology Officer, Ghost Robotics

Avik is co-founder and CTO of Ghost Robotics, a startup company commercializing legged robotics in Philadelphia. The company currently has two products, a 45kg quadruped aimed at industrial applications, and a 12kg quadruped aimed at research applications.

Previously, Avik completed a postdoc at Harvard SEAS and a PhD at the GRASP laboratory in the University of Pennsylvania studying methods for the design and control of bio-inspired robot locomotion. At Ghost Robotics, he is responsible for the overall hardware and software architecture of the robots and the algorithms used for their mobility.

Elise Neel

Senior Vice President, New Business Incubation, Verizon

Elise Neel, Senior Vice President, Verizon New Business Incubation, is harnessing her fiercely curious builder mindset to scale new software automation businesses fueled by the orchestration power of the 5G future.

Elise’s team houses industry experts across strategy, product, technology, sales, marketing and R&D in the areas of location technology, aerial and terrestrial robotics, industrial IoT, and other emergent technologies. Bringing to bear her experience in new business development, big data platforms, geospatial intelligence, analytics, and IoT, the transformative work she’s leading is directly fueling Industry 4.0.

In addition to leading New Business Incubation, Elise recently led the Global Lead of the Women’s Association of Verizon Employees (WAVE) employee resource group. With more than 13,000 members in 32 countries, WAVE is a pivotal advocate for women at Verizon, arming members with real-life skills, training, and leadership development opportunities.

Joel Yaffe

Head of AMR Strategy , Robotics Business Technology, Verizon

Joel is the Head of AMR Strategy for Verizon’s Robotics Business Group (RBG), a recently-formed unit designed to power the future of robotic automation for enterprise. In this role he is responsible for market prioritization, partnerships, and ecosystem development for Verizon’s mobile robot software solutions.

He joined Verizon’s New Business Incubation organization in 2019 as a Business Development Partner, responsible for identifying and developing new and innovative businesses and use cases leveraging the power of 5G. He developed the strategy that led to the acquisition of incubedIT, and also launched the highly-successful 5G Studio partnership with NewLab.

Joel’s career spans two decades, and, prior to Verizon, included global executive roles across strategy, business development, and transformation with IBM, Concentrix, and Forrester Research.

Matthew Cherewka

Director of Strategy, Vecna Robotics

Matthew Cherewka serves as the Director of Business Development and Strategy at Vecna Robotics. In his role, Matt collaborates closely with customers and partners, helping them understand, develop, integrate and implement intelligent automation into their operations and business strategies to prepare them for success in the next industrial revolution.

Matt has deep experience advising a range of global clients on robotic integration strategies, business cases, and startup launches. Before Vecna Robotics, Matt worked with a wide range of startups, investors, consulting firms, and even Sci-Fi filmmakers to commercialize new robotic technologies and grow the market, including developing biomimetic robots for Disney. Matt has also worked closely with Six Sigma black belts to implement automation solutions in struggling manufacturing companies.

Matt is an alumnus of Bucknell University with dual degrees in mechanical engineering and business management. In his spare time, Matt plays the electric fiddle in several bands around New England.

Robert Toppel

President, e1ectr0n, inc.

• Robert Toppel founded e1ectr0n, Inc. in 2018. Prior to that he led a management buyout of Axiom Electronics in 2006. He served as President at Axiom until June 2021 where he guided the development and introduction of several successful new products.
• Mr. Toppel was a principal in Breeze Test Instruments, a manufacturer of logic analyzers in Colorado that he co-founded in 1983 and later sold to Tektronix. As an entrepreneur, Mr. Toppel is experienced in managed capital acquisition, engineering, administration, sales and marketing. He holds a B.A. in Physics from the University of Colorado in Denver.

Jo Gilbert

Technical Director & Digital Industries Lead, GSMA

Jo Gilbert is a Technical Director at the GSMA. She leads the GSMA Digital Industries activities which brings together mobile network operators, enterprises, and the wider ecosystem to connect the benefits of 5G in the industrial sector.  With a career spanning 20 years in the telecom sector, Jo has supported organisations to harness new and emerging technologies such as identity, IoT, big data, artificial intelligence and 5G.