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What’s 5G’s Role within Industry 4.0?

What is Industry 4.0?

Industry 4.0 refers to a new phase in the Industrial Revolution that leverages new digital communications technologies, AI, and the cloud which rely on interconnectivity, automation, machine learning, and real-time data to improve their production process and supply chain response times.

Industry 4.0: A Brief History

Industry 4.0 is the fourth stage of the industrial revolution that started just over 200 years ago. Much like the previous revolutions, industry 4.0 will transform how businesses manage, manufacture, and scale their products

First Industrial Revolution

Between 1760 and 1830 the industrial revolution was born in Britain as entrepreneurs leveraged steam engines and water turbines to power machines to produce goods such as fabric and metals. These advancements not only allowed for mass production but also enabled businesses to transport their products thousands of miles across freshly laid railways

Second Industrial Revolution

Roughly 100 years later the second industrial revolution was sparked through the mass production of electricity, oil, and gas. With these utilities widely available, businesses could power even larger plants and implement simple automation for the first time. 

Third Industrial Revolution

In 1969 DARPA would lay the groundwork for internet communications that would change the way companies do business forever. This digital revolution wouldn’t be realized until the early 80s as computers and the internet became more mainstream. By the late 90s and early 2000s eCommerce was booming and companies were just beginning to leverage cloud technology for computing and storage.

Fourth Industrial Revolution

The fourth industrial revolution started circa 2008 when more “things” became connected to the internet than people. This current era uses cloud computing, IoT sensors, artificial intelligence, and big data analytics to improve performance and drive innovation.

Why Industry 4.0 Matters

Industry 4.0 makes use of new technology to collect, process, and transform data into meaningful insights that drive business innovation. These advancements improve everything from supply chain technology to automated manufacturing by helping reduce costs, improving staff safety, and increasing the overall productivity of the business.

Technologies such as industrial IoT sensors provide a newfound look into the performance of smart factories. Task automation, autonomous robotics, asset management, inventory controls and real-time insights help businesses make better decisions faster.

Today the smart manufacturing market in the United States is valued at just over $55.4 billion, with experts estimating a global compound annual growth rate of 12.2% by 2030. But you don’t have to wait to implement industry 4.0 technology. 

Industry 4.0 Use Cases

Condition-based Monitoring

Condition-based monitoring allows companies to maximize productivity by transforming real-time data into actionable insights. IoT sensors can report environmental changes such as conductivity, temperature, and vibration in real-time to a server that records and interprets that data. 

For example, temperature sensors on an HVAC unit may report steadily rising temperatures outside of normal operating conditions. When this occurs, an automated response can turn on the backup unit to immediately correct the temperature and create a priority maintenance request with the job details.

Autonomous Robotics

Autonomous machines and guided vehicles are revolutionizing traditional manufacturing and warehousing operations in terms of productivity and accuracy. Many automated assembly lines benefit from high-accuracy robotics that can work 24/7 without breaks or risk of injury. Even where humans are needed, robotics can help make jobs safer and improve staff productivity and satisfaction when working together. Key to their reliable operations is consistent and reliable mobile network communications.

Asset Tracking

By pairing small affordable sensors with wireless technology, businesses can track almost any asset both inside and outside their company. For example, factories can quickly track and identify where a product or tool is within their property using a Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connection. This helps improve operational efficiency leading to significant cost savings over time.

Similar sensors can also help logistic and operational technology (OT) teams track their products in real-time across the country. Using public 5G services with smart factories can continuously track assets from the assembly line to delivery, allowing for better-estimated arrival times and deeper insights into delivery channels.

Augmented Reality

Augmented reality helps technicians find and solve problems faster while also training new staff on systems and processes in a virtual environment. 

For example, maintenance staff can use augmented reality to immediately find a leak in a complicated network of pipes and machinery. This works by overlaying the sensor’s location as a hologram on the user’s smart glasses, providing live data and even root cause analysis. Augmented reality can dramatically reduce downtime by aiding technicians in complicated repair jobs and eliminating the need to search for information on a separate computer.

Technology Powering Industry 4.0

With use cases covered, let's touch on the underlying technology that makes industry 4.0 possible.

Internet of Things

Industry 4.0 heavily relies on big data to support automated systems, asset tracking, and advanced analytics. At the most basic level, IoT sensors provide the physical medium to collect and transmit that data to edge devices for processing.

IoT sensors collect a range of data points which are then consumed and analyzed by machine learning and artificial intelligence platforms. Sensors can communicate across a variety of wireless mediums such as Wi-Fi, LTE/5G, Bluetooth, and LoRa.

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence transforms streams of volumes or raw network and applications data into systems designed to answer specific questions that either humans aren’t able to process or answer. These AI algorithms use data collected by IoT sensors to provider essential insights to processes and make intelligent decisions at scale with little to no human intervention.

For example, artificial intelligence can help companies identify more efficient means of transportation and alternative routes for autonomous vehicles and logistic operations.

Private 5G Networks

New private 4G and 5G CBRS-based wireless technology now offers new levels of deterministic connectivity, performance and coverage not previously seen with other conventional wireless alternatives. This makes private wireless using unlicensed cellular spectrum ideal for emerging applications such as autonomous vehicles, real-time video surveillance, augmented reality, and ubiquitous IoT systems.  Through the innovation and the use of 5G LANs, businesses can easily deploy and operate their own private mobile networks to supercharge their smart factories, decrease market time, reduce operational costs, and improve user productivity. 

Private 5G gives organizations complete control over their data, the security of network-based applications, the user experience, wireless coverage, and cellular device operation. This obviates the need for organizations to rely on large carrier commercial networks or slices of public carrier services. 5G LAN technology effectively eliminates the cost and complexity historically associated with enterprise cellular services by simplifying the deployment model to work with the existing IP domain structure, QoS framework and security posture enterprises already have in place. 

Simple Industry 4.0 Networks With Celona

Celona uniquely offers private 5G  as a seamless turnkey solution, designed specifically for IT staff to seamlessly integrate with enterprise IT infrastructure already in place.

Unlike any other solution on the market, Celona 5G LANs are fully integrated with all the requisite components, RAN, core software and cloud-based orchestration, that all work together as a cohesive system. As part of a Celona 5G LAN, indoor and outdoor cellular access points can be  easily deployed throughout an enterprise facility using the existing wired network infrastructure Edge software providing core control functions to automatically enforce  pre-defined quality of services (QoS) requirements, such as latency, packet loss, and throughput on a per application or user group basis. 

Designed from the ground up on cloud networking principles, a Celona 5G LAN makes implementing private cellular wireless an out-of-box deployment experience that can be achieved by IT staff in a matter of hours, not days or weeks. 5G LANs directly integrate with enterprise IT domain structure, QoS framework and network security policies, alongside existing wireless and IT infrastructure without interrupting business operations.

So if you’re building your IoT architecture and network for the future, Celona can help. Check out our private cellular wireless network planner to estimate the size of your Celona network indoors and outdoors, or test-drive a Celona 5G LAN solution.

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