In the ever-evolving landscape of technology, Industry 4.0 has emerged as the new era in industrial practices, or sometimes, the next industrial revolution. It’s therefore referred to as the fourth industrial revolution, reshaping how we operate within industries by infusing modern and intelligent technology. At the heart of this transformation lies the question: Is IoT (Internet of Things) an integral part of Industry 4.0? This blog post delves into the intricate relationship between these two technological giants and how they reshape the industrial landscape.
The Marriage of IoT and Industry 4.0
The fourth industrial revolution, Industry 4.0, combines emerging technologies, including machine learning and IoT-connected devices. Machine-to-machine communication (M2M) and the Internet of Things (IoT) work synergistically to increase automation, enhance communication, and enable self-monitoring systems. Industry 4.0 embraces smart manufacturing and machines capable of analyzing and solving problems without human intervention.
Big Data’s Crucial Role in Industry 4.0
One of the hallmarks of Industry 4.0 is the abundance of data collected by connected machines. This data serves as the lifeblood of the revolution, enabling real-time monitoring, intelligent decision-making, and predictive maintenance. This ability to harness data effectively transforms the manufacturing sector, optimizing operations and reshaping how businesses deliver services and produce goods.
The Pillars of Industry 4.0
Industry 4.0 can be characterized by four key aspects:
1. Uniform Connectivity of Systems: Seamless interconnection of systems and devices.
2. Information Transparency: Open access to relevant information.
3. Technical Assistance: Support from advanced technologies.
4. Decentralized Decision-Making: Empowering systems to make autonomous decisions.
IoT’s Impact on Manufacturing
Many manufacturers already leverage IoT solutions to track factory assets and identify patterns. Data consolidation enhances production yields, while predictive maintenance systems reduce downtime. When I researched this almost three years ago, I found that In the U.S., as many as 35% of manufacturers utilized data from smart sensors within their facilities. In Industry 4.0, IoT acts as a catalyst, providing significant value across the entire automation ecosystem.
5G Paves the Way for IoT and Industry 4.0
5G isn’t just about connecting people; it’s about connecting sensors, devices, and machines—commonly called the Internet of Things. The integration of 5G and IoT holds the potential to revolutionize various industries, with manufacturing poised to undergo a significant transformation. IoT can convert traditional linear systems into dynamic, interconnected systems, driving change within factories and facilities.
5G’s Massive Deployment
Predictions abound regarding the number of connected IoT devices. While we may have yet to reach the lofty goal of 50 billion connected devices by 2020, projections suggest that the future equals a steady growth in IoT-connected devices. Why is 5G pivotal in achieving this vision? Simply put, 5G can support up to 1 million devices per square kilometre, paving the way for a world of interconnectedness.
The Challenges and Solutions of the Industrial-IoT Ecosystem
The challenges of such connectivity are multifaceted. Bandwidth limitations and varying network requirements for IoT systems compared to traditional mobile users are among the hurdles. Some applications demand absolute reliability with critical low latency, while others require networks to handle a significantly higher density of connected devices than ever. For the first time, 5G makes it possible to have more critical communication networks than previous cellular network standards. With 5G, remote control of machines and processes in industry becomes a reality. It opens up new industrial applications where the performance of earlier wireless technologies like Wi-Fi fell short.
In other scenarios, IoT sensor data may need to be collected in real-time from sensors, tags, and tracking devices and transmitted directly via 5G without any intermediate gateway.
5G has the potential to offer wireless connectivity for a wide range of industrial use cases and applications. In the long run, it could lead to convergence among the communication technologies used today, significantly reducing the number of relevant industrial connectivity solutions.
5G’s Emphasis on IoT
One of the most defining differences between 5G and previous generations of cellular networks is 5G’s strong focus on the Internet of Things (IoT) and machine-to-machine optimized communication. 5G’s capabilities extend far beyond conventional mobile broadband, with unparalleled reliability, very low latency, and the capacity to simultaneously handle IoT’s massive demand for multiple connections. This sets the stage for the next era of industrial production, often referred to as Industry 4.0, with a spotlight on flexibility, versatility, and efficiency in future smart factories.
Without IoT and 5G, significant network gaps would hinder the realization of Industry 4.0. 5G provides connectivity for billions of IoT devices and facilitates the transfer and processing of the enormous data volumes generated.
5G’s Contribution to the Evolution
4G was the wake-up call for connected machines, M2M, and IoT. 5G, on the other hand, is the first network designed to enable connections for small, low-power, and cost-effective connected “things.” 5G enables this on a revolutionary and unprecedented scale.
5G networks can help enable IoT and IIoT, substantially benefiting the manufacturing industry. Much like the trend towards Time-Sensitive Networking (TSN) for industrial Ethernet solutions, 5G is likely to become a standard for wireless technology in the industry, as it enables seamless wireless communication from the sensor level to the cloud and everything in between.
Learn More about IoT
IoT encompasses a broad spectrum of disruptive technologies that enable digitization. Through IoT, companies can gain data-driven insights to make better decisions and accelerate progress toward climate and equality goals. I have repeatedly seen that knowledge is vital to success in an IoT initiative. We’ve compiled a 100-page publication on IoT, available for download by providing your email address and name below. You’ll receive an email with instructions on how to access the guide.
In conclusion, Industry 4.0 and IoT are undeniably intertwined, with IoT acting as a catalyst for the transformative changes ushered in by Industry 4.0. From harnessing big data to the symbiotic relationship with 5G, the convergence of these technologies is reshaping industries, driving efficiency, and revolutionizing how we produce and deliver goods and services.
Four Key Takeaways
1. IoT is the Enabler: IoT plays a pivotal role in realizing the vision of Industry 4.0, facilitating data-driven insights and automation.
2.5G’s Crucial Role: The deployment of 5G is pivotal in connecting billions of IoT devices and supporting real-time applications within Industry 4.0.
3. Challenges Addressed: 5G addresses challenges like bandwidth, low latency, and reliability, making it an ideal solution for critical industrial applications.
4. IoT Driving Transformation: As a digital transformation driver, IoT empowers businesses with data-driven insights for better decision-making and societal progress.