5G in IoT Starts to Crystallize in Industrial IoT Market
Much of the attention on 5G technology centers on a future of smarter phones, drones and self-driving cars. But 5G’s role in next-generation industrial IoT applications bears watching as well. While 5G may be one among many evolutionary steps, it is important in the development of new industrial IoT use cases.
5G connectivity, is the fifth generation of cellular technology. It is designed to increase network speed, reduce latency, and improve flexibility of wireless services. 5G technology has a theoretical peak speed of 20 Gbps, while the peak speed of 4G is only 1 Gbps. 5G improve the performance of business applications in various context, such as factories, self-driving cars and in handheld devices for field technicians.
5G has piqued interest in new IoT use cases. Viewers suggest that IoT sensors in the field have yet to be truly tapped, and that 5G communications speed will create new possibilities in industrial settings.
Capacity to handle additional network nodes is in store with 5G for industrial IoT too. This may pave the way for next-generation applications that achieve the following:
- Capitalize on video data processing to drive real-time quality testing of, for example, output from industrial lathes or mills;
- Create manufacturing that is more distributed, in turn permitting long-distance checking of machine work done by individuals far removed from central factories;
- Lay the foundation for more precise positioning for industrial robots, widely expanding their use cases; or
- Enable use of edge computing architecture for predictive maintenance of wind farms, gas and oil, process manufacturing and other equipment.
In recent years, advances in microprocessors, data storage and cell phone technology drove Industrial IoT updates, according to by Daniel Elizalde, vice president and head of IoT for information and communications technology provider Ericsson N.A. But as data proliferates, the missing link is the network.
The Need for IoT Speed
“The network part has been lagging,” Elizalde said. “Even 4G doesn’t have enough bandwidth for AI, cloud computing, or supporting a massive numbers of sensor devices.”
If a network can’t handle potential millions of devices, hopes for a new era of apps won’t come to fruition. With 5G, industrial IoT applications will be able to move a lot more data to and from IoT devices, for processing on the cloud or at the edge, Elizalde said.
In short, “5G is much bigger than just another ‘G’,” he argued.
5G technology enables massive IoT deployments because it reduces latency to near real time and network capacity can support more connections, he said.
In his view, improvements in manufacturing plants or wind farms are among key beneficiaries. These are examples, he continued, of areas where “wired approaches” such as fiber-optics have met roadblocks.
Can 5G Connectivity Change the Game?
Considerably faster data transfer (bandwidth) and quicker round trips for signals (latency) signify real change for industrial IoT, according to Jonathan Oakley, high-tech industry director for Dassault Systèmes’ SIMULIA, a simulation platform that enables developers to prototype networks and components.