There was a panel discussion at the ongoing India Mobile Congress 2021 around Industry 4.0.
The participants were Anku Jain, MD, MediaTek, Arnab Das, VP, Advanced Connectivity (5G, EDGE Compute, O-RAN, IoT, Telco Engineering R&D), Capgemini, Amit Satpathy, EVP, Head IoT Business, Vodafone idea Ltd, and Xavier Kuriyan, Director, Solutions and Alliances, Global Compute and Network, India, Dell Technologies. Sunil David, Regional Director (IoT), India ASEAN Region, AT&T, was the moderator.
Enough drivers available
Sunil David, AT&T, said that during the pandemic, supply chain digitization started. In manufacturing sector, there was lot of traction. Some projects are at early stages and lot more needs to be done. The Indian manufacturing industry is still apprehensive about the digital journey. There is enough drivers for Industry 4.0 growth in India, and elsewhere. We should see 5G adoption sometime next year.
Anku Jain, MD, MediaTek, talked about their AI hardware. Industry 4.0 is very necessary these days. Sensors and AI are the essential building blocks. They can communicate with the cloud. Edge AI is thriving today. Mediatek has several sectors, such as chips for smartphones, smart devices, etc. IIoT plays a key part. Companies not able to adopt Industry 4.0 will either do, or die. They have no other option.
AI has picked up speed. Things like preventive maintenance, communications on the edge, are already happening. In India, the PLI scheme has gone really well. It is looking to boost local manufacturing. Cost will come down with scale.
Focus on intelligence
Arnab Das, VP, Advanced Connectivity (5G, EDGE Compute, O-RAN, IoT, Telco Engineering R&D), Capgemini, said edge computing allows you to process data and take actions on the go. That’s where intelligence comes in. There can be some interesting apps such as pedestrian detection, retail, etc. You can combine historical data with live data to provide better customer experience. Being able to deliver all of this is what the intelligent industry is all about.
Today, some PoCs are not scaling into mainstream business uses. We can help in this area. There are also cost of devices. We have to address business issues faster.
Amit Satpathy, EVP, Head IoT Business, Vodafone idea Ltd, said the onus lies on leading IoT provider for driving leadership. We need traction with industry bodies. We will need to get compliance with the bodies. We also need to have ecosystem orchestration. We are now giving end-to-end solution for IoT. Integrating the ecosystem allows solutions to be designed faster. Cost of hardware is high, especially the module cost. We also have an advanced IoT lab, which can be used by partners and customers to test any solution. Industry 4.0 comes under the smart infrastructure.
The Government has now extended the trial period of 5G. There has been varying degree of success. We are also having an operational and equipment efficiency adoption. There are also warehouse management solutions. Scaling and hardware cost come up. About orchestrating with the ecosystem, the module design house is a startup. AI/ML provider is also a startup. Almost 25 are small companies with 3-4-year presence. For the EV ecosystem, we have a startup ecosystem.
Industry 4.0 journey
Xavier Kuriyan, Director, Solutions and Alliances, Global Compute and Network, India, Dell Technologies, noted that Industry 4.0 in India has been quite a journey. Eg., automated welding machines and screwdrivers. What’s changing is the ability to use data now. We can validate quality control using data.
India has unique challenges. Shop floor environments can be hot and humid. Once an app is developed, there is a challenge to deploy them. Temperatures in Rajasthan can move above 50 degrees. We have put the collection nodes in place. We have reference architectures to collect data and analyze that. We have brought global standardization into security. We have the ability to encrypt and secure the device. We have global standardization for machines.
Need for skills
Anku Jain, Mediatek, noted technology should be built for people. Skills will play an important role. We need to make user-friendly devices that can be easily operated. We can have vernacular voice interfaces with devices. We have to ensure people are skilled. Change management is not that easy to happen and manage. Skills would be required at different levels. Larger companies are more open to change. Smaller companies may not survive if they don’t change. A lot more awareness needs to be done for the smaller companies, with new use cases, such as adoption of AI and IoT.
Arnab Das, Capgemini said the real ARPU generating use cases are B2B adoption of 5G. We are working in Italy for creating smart store experience. In other countries, we are looking at warehouses, and operational research (OR) efficiency use case. Here, 5G can come in. SLAs can be given to enterprises by telcos. 5G provides an interesting opportunity. There will be more flexibility and new design of the network. OpenRAN for indoors has a new design.
Capgemini has started 5G (standalone) Industry Connect solution from Ericsson at its 5G Lab in Mumbai to enable industry innovation, experimentation and deployment of 5G and edge technologies for clients across industries. Other labs are in Paris and Portugal.
Amit Satpathy, Vi, said there are dynamic and static requirements for IoT. NB-IoT worked outside India, especially China. We have a large deployment of AMR in India. We did the V2X trial in India. For Industry 4.0, we need low latency, robotics, etc. We have done two deployments — at Hindalco and another factory. We also need to look at interoperability.
Xavier Kurian, Dell, added there are so many protocols and formats of data being generated. To put the systems together is to standardize that. We need to ensure what needs to be taken to larger analytics. There is also conversation around distributed cloud. This will make things much easy for distributed apps. We need to standardize data and distributed apps.