Industry 4.0 will bring together physical and digital economies: Nokia

Digitalization, and Industry 4.0, is now a topline strategy. Virtual and real production are increasingly merging. On a ‘digital enterprise platform’, product development, and production, are integrated step-by-step through industrial IT and industry software. Industry 4.0 is a change that is constant for the future.

Here, Sandeep Sehgal, Head of TEPS, Nokia India, takes us through an Industry 4.0 journey. Excerpts:

DQ: How can Industry 4.0 transform the industry, and help rediscover growth?

Sandeep Sehgal: The first and second industrial revolutions were driven by the need to increase the productivity of physical goods using physical machines (engines and mechanical systems) and physical networks (road, rail, etc.).

The third industrial revolution – the information age – was driven by the movement of digital goods (‘data’) over the internet and mobile networks. To date, the digitalization and automation of enterprises have yielded productivity benefits, predominantly by shifting business support functions from physical to digital operations.

The emerging fourth industrial revolution will be driven by the movement of intelligence over high-performance digital networks. The Industry 4.0 technologies — Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), edge computing, deep analytics based on artificial intelligence and machine learning, ubiquitous networking, augmented and virtual reality, remote control, and digital twinning — are maturing and promise to bring together the physical and digital economies.

Physical industries depend on a variety of emerging business and mission-critical applications that, when digitized and automated, offer the potential to make power grids smarter, factories more productive, the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) responsive and reliable, cities safer and more livable and much more. No matter the industry, embedding data and analytics will ensure they become more efficient, productive and secure.

DQ: What are the challenges that companies face in the implementation of these technologies?

Sandeep Sehgal: With the emerging trends in the field of technology comes challenges, the implementation of technology requires an enormous amount of investment. The companies operating in operational technology (OT) focused sectors such as manufacturing, transportation, energy, and mining are hit with more obstacles during digital transformation compared to others.

The retail and finance field typically rely on their digital systems, whereas physical assets are still critical to OT-focused industries. Consequently, digitizing operations in these sectors is often a slow and complicated process.

OT-focused organizations have to manage a wide range of physical operational technologies – ranging from manufacturing equipment to tractor-trailer trucks — that may be older, difficult to integrate, and siloed from traditional IT systems.

Physical industries are vital contributors to national economies, accounting for around 70% of total GDP in leading economies. The primary issue is these industries lack the following four elements required to become fully optimized digital organizations:

* Massive instrumentation with sensors
* Intelligent systems that can analyze and interpret the massive amount of data coming from these sensors
* Advanced robotic systems to optimize actions
* High-performance, business and mission-critical networks that support the dynamic, secure, highly reliable interconnection of these systems.

Although, we are prepared to reach a critical mass of adoption, the opportunity for realizing significant productivity growth is enormous.

DQ: How will integrations occur in Industry 4.0? How will vertical and horizontal integration happen across systems?

Sandeep Sehgal: Today, companies are evolving from Wi-Fi and wired Ethernet-based networks to utilize private or dedicated 4G LTE connectivity to untether systems, so they can be dynamically reconfigured, and deployed in a new configuration required for a new process, or optimize the operation of an existing process, or to adapt to an impairment.

With the arrival of 5G, the transformation will be even more extensive, with the lowest latency, highest bandwidth, exceptional reliability and security, and the capacity to scale and adapt at pace with the proliferation of all connected things, systems, and processes.

The 5G network platform includes everything needed to power this revolution: cloud technologies, multi-edge processing, analytics, machine learning, and AI. By leveraging end-to-end 5G networks, operational technologies(OT), and information and communications technologies (ICT) will come together symbiotically to redefine how we meet our social and economic needs.

Emerging Industry 4.0 applications will require seamlessly interconnected systems that can sense, analyze, optimize, and control key attributes and actions across a broad range of assets, including machinery, tools, and devices. To accomplish this, networks must be able to connect everything simultaneously, with guaranteed quality of service, even as the number, diversity, and distribution of assets grow.

For companies to analyze information about the state of those assets and optimize their operations, networks must have the flexibility to connect industry applications to compute resources in a way that meets stringent latency, capacity, reliability and security requirements.

They must be able to dynamically adapt to transport massively varying amounts of data between a multitude of devices, sensors, machines, and platforms to apply deeper insights that ultimately support precise execution, maximize productivity and improve safety.

DQ: What is the current status of Ind 4.0 in your organization?

Sandeep Sehgal: Nokia has a strong track record of helping enterprises to modernize and addressing the business and mission-critical networking requirements of physical industries such as transportation, energy, manufacturing, and logistics – as well as governments and smart cities. Nokia also supports hyper-scale networking for health care, finance, and retail enterprises and webscale players worldwide.

In 2018, Nokia Bell Labs introduced and integrates ‘Future X for industries’ strategy and architecture into its end-to-end portfolio for enterprises to catalyze productivity and economic growth in the Industry 4.0 era.

A prominent trial is currently being run by the Hamburg Port Authority, Deutsche Telekom and Nokia to test key aspects of 5G across an industrial area of 8,000 hectares in the Port of Hamburg. 5G network slicing will be tested with the use cases like traffic lights management, data processing from mobile sensors and virtual reality.

Nokia has been proactively transforming our own factories into “The Conscious Factory” – an agile and intelligent manufacturing service, fully automated and green that is self-learning and able to predict demand flexibly. We currently use private LTE and Wi-Fi networks to provide connectivity at our Chennai, India, and Oulu, Finland factories.

Nokia’s state-of-the-art manufacturing unit in Chennai is the first factory in India to deploy ‘real-world’ Smart Manufacturing application of Industry 4.0 leveraging solutions such as augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR), connected robotics, artificial intelligence, Big Data analytics, and the Internet of Things to enhance operations and increase productivity. It sets precedent in preparing India for the 5G era with smart manufacturing.

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