By Yash Mehta, IoT, M2M and Big Data technology expert.
Putting machines to communicate with humans is a beauty called the internet-of-things. To put industrial machines to communicate is a breakthrough and perhaps the biggest of all we know. Since everyone is talking about 5G, it is equally important to discuss the optimal potential of the next-gen network bandwidth. In all honesty, industry 4.0 was an upcoming trend until the networking hassles were put to rest with the inception of private 5G networks.
They are pacing to touch USD 15.7 billion by 2026 at a CAGR of 79% and that’s huge. As a result, multiple IIoT applications that had waited for speedier networks are finally actualized to their optimal potential.
Why 5G is better for IIoT?
No matter 4G, networks have provided the needed start to the 4.0 revolution, it is time to upscale the strength and achieve bigger, better and speedier processes on the floor. For IIoT businesses, 5G is leaps & bounds ahead of 4G; the delay in sending/receiving data is 1 millisecond in 5G compared to 200 milliseconds in 4G. Now imagine the change for industries that work in highly agile environments such as FMCG, healthcare, etc. Moreover, 5G can connect up to a million devices per .38 square miles. This is 100 times more devices than 4G and a sure-shot boon for unifying private networks for cross-location units. Briefly, it can handle more volume of data at a greater speed yet lesser cost.
However, for industries, it means more than just fast internet.
The operational technology suite (OT) in an industrial setup uses a wide variety of networking technologies both fixed and mobile. To control and communicate with devices and floor processes, the software application has to stream data in real-time. For example, digital twins, automated production lines, remote monitoring through live videos, predictive maintenance etc. cannot perform in average networks. Their performance requirement is demanding and the usual Wi-Fi or LTE networks will not suffice.
5G bandwidths are strong enough to support automated guided vehicles (AGVs) at limited densities. To upscale the production, it can support a greater number of AGVs per service area. Others such as extended reality headsets are also making progress with the backing of faster streaming. Also known as data goggles, the emergency device helps maintenance engineers seek real-time insights into complicated industrial requirements. Not to miss, it ensures round-the-clock remote control of equipment and processes, no matter how complex the IIoT landscape is.
For any corporate setup, slicing is an integral strategy in the networking stack. Through virtualization, it is used to split the incoming network into multiple networks for distinctive customers. Moreover, no traffic from other networks would influence the quality of service on the particular slice. Just like a tenant on a cloud platform, slice obtains similar exclusivity. 5G network slicing makes it faster to enable or disable network fragments and create on-demand sub-networks for particular departments in an industrial setup.
5G is what big data has dreamt about. Over the years, organizations have built data management infrastructure to store, process and stream real-time analytics. Since IoT works closely with big data, 5G networking is a step ahead to implement edge computing. For industries, it is a trend in the making.
While we are at it, the omnipresence of the 5G private network should not be ignored.
Since most production units operate from different locations, it is essential that the network capacity in all the units is the same. floLIVE, for example, provides a private 5G networking solution to support a wide variety of use cases for small as well as global enterprises. So be it the network for a private campus, multiple campuses within a country or a cross-country service, their private network solution supports multiple RAN providers. The IoT solution is built over a Software-defined Connectivity (SDC) infrastructure to ensure flexibility and security.
Through pre-allocated IMSIs from an internal IMSI library, enterprises can avail multiple operators and yet create a unified private network for their enterprise. Working as a single private network, their platform simplifies cross-border regulatory compliance hassles. With an emphasis on performance, the cloud-native solution enables policies in line with enterprise verticals, staff safety, corporate security and confidentiality.
The solution resolves a key network infrastructure challenge for the industries – centralized management of the multisite & multi-facility with on-demand deployment options.
Industry 4.0 could never be a possibility without remote & predictive analysis of data. The ability to track using process and performance sensors and generate on-request insights in real-time is the very foundation of what we call smart industrialization today. Everything else that you know about IIoT is related in one way or the other. With the evolution of technology, remote monitoring in IIoT will become mainstream just like AI. The differentiator, however, will be the QoS in controlling the equipment anytime and from anywhere.
Author’s bio: Yash Mehta is an internationally recognized IoT, M2M and Big Data technology expert. He has written a number of widely acknowledged articles on Data Science, IoT, Business Innovation, Cognitive intelligence. His articles have been featured in the most authoritative publications and awarded as one of the most innovative and influential works in the connected technology industry by the IBM and Cisco IoT departments.