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How 5G Will Unlock Unseen Opportunities in Industrial IoT

April 27, 2020 / AJINKYA BAGADE

Manufacturing industry or the Industrial Internet of Things has been one of the driving verticals for development of 5G technologies. Wide 5G deployement for Industrial IoT has long been in the pipeline but we might expect it to be a reality very soon.

The true success of 5G depends on the verticals as trends suggest that that Industrial IoT alone will triple the number of needed base stations globally. And many verticals will need efficient wireless connectivity to become successful. 5G has features that are specifically designed to address the needs of vertical sectors, such as network slicing and URLLC. The ultra-reliable low latency communications and massive machine type communications required by the IIoT will soon be realized.

Table of Contents:

How Will 5G Impact Industrial IoT?
5G Accelerations for IIoT
Industrial 5G

How Will 5G Benefit Industrial IoT?

IoT is a B2B application and users just want to get actionable data from their sensors and not worry about whether it’s old data or unreliable data. I think 5G changes this dynamic significantly over the long term by standardizing and simplifying the experience and interactions, and possibly engaging more of the industry to help solve IoT’s problems but also improve the total experience.

- Anshel Sag, analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy

• Data-Transfer Speeds

Any IoT is said to be commercially successful depending on how fast it can set up communications with other IoT devices, software based websites or applications, phones, and tablets. 5G promises exactly all of this with significant increase in transfer speeds.

5G is 10x faster than its LTE counterparts and allows IoT devices to communicate and share data faster than ever. All IoT devices will benefit from the faster speed of 5G with reduced lag and improved sending and receiving of data and notifications between connected devices.

• Greater Network Reliability

5G networks also offer more reliable and stable connection which is extremely important for any IoT including devices like locks, security cameras and monitoring systems that depend on real-time updates.

With reliable connectivity consumers will be the greater beneficiary.

It is however, imperative for manufactures to trust and invest in 5G compatible devices to reap the benefits of high-speed connectivity, very low latency, and a greater coverage that will arrive with the next generation network.

READ MORE: How Will the Emergence of 5G Affect Federated Learning?

5G Accelerations for IIoT

• Diversity in Industrial IoT

The opportunities that industrial IoT bring with is varied and its used cases span the spectrum from indoor to outdoor, less demanding to mission-critical, data rate from dozens of bps to gbps, device motion from fixed to mobility, and power source from button battery to high voltage.

Predictive maintenance, smart metering, asset tracking, and fleet management are some of the commonly known opportunities for IIoT, which be extended further by 5G through continued diversity and expansion.

• 5G Inspires Untapped Frontiers

Industrial IoT application areas such as mobile robot control in production automation and autonomous vehicles in open pit mining require wide mobility, low latency and mission-critical reliability. They rely on wireless access at 50ms to 1ms latency and service reliability from 5 nines to 6 nines.

Though 4G/LTE has attempted to address these areas of IIoT application it has failed due to unsatisfactory performance. With ultra-reliable and low latency connection, 5G will take industrial IoT to unconquered spaces.

• Managing the Enterprise 5G Network

Typically, enterprise IT is responding to the business demand from Operational Technology (OT) and mandates security, integration, visibility, control, and compatibility. In this scenario, 5G is not about “what,” but about “how”. IT needs to consider the right approach to bring 5G to the enterprise and decide whether to co-manage with the service provider (SP) or self-manage. The experience of IT in managing Industrial Ethernet and Wi-Fi may not hold when it comes to 5G. IT will likely require OT’s partnership to address complexity, security, integration, and other new challenges that 5G presents.

Industrial 5G

The potential for industrial 5G huge as it enables whole new business models.

Industrial IoT has a core requirement of the ability to connect sensors, devices, software applications, production process, workers and consumers. The connectivity requires to be seamless vertical and horizontal integrations of all layers of automation pyramids that increases operational efficiency of the plant floor and the supply chain by optimal use of data, information and analytics. This can be improved by five key elements:

• Improved Connectivity
• Availability
• Low Latency
• Flexibility
• Speed

Industrial 5G will impact these areas of the manufacturing industry to guide the success of Industrial IoT.

Industrial 5G will play a key role in helping industrial users achieve the goals of Industrial IoT. 5G offers wireless communications services with reduced latency, increased connection density, and improved flexibility compared to the current 4G generation.  5G technology has a theoretical downlink peak speed of 20 Gbps (gigabits per second), which is about 20 times faster than the current generation.

The key is to start building IoT devices with broadly adopted operating systems, built-in security all the way down to the silicon, verifiable and updatable firmware, and mainstream application development tooling.

- Anshel Sag, analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy

The push and pull in achieving 5G success in IoT will be there until technology providers and end users work together to set up a consensus on standardization. The success will also depend on best-of-breed approach allowing the introduction of new technology over the lifecycle. Software and system integration will also be important attributes to a successful 5G deployment.

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