Digitalization enables manufacturing to make, move and run more leanly and agilely than ever before. Boundless wireless connectivity and the rich intelligence from the unrestricted flow of data has led to a new "consciousness" within factories, supply chains and logistics. This improved awareness has created greater control and oversight of the goods enterprises produce. And that's ultimately great news for us - the consumer.
Industrial automation is a good example
Factory assets are increasingly communicating through wireless connectivity and IoT sensors to intelligently and instantly relay instructions and other data. No longer restricted by wired connections, robots can quickly move about and self-configure themselves to build an assembly line in minutes to produce products. Fitted with force and tactile sensors, the robots work safely alongside people - and even collaborate with them.
A real-life example of this is Nokia's Oulu factory, which employs a contingent of wireless robots to assemble and package its AirScale broadband base stations. The factory runs on a 4G/Private LTE network, which delivers the wireless connectivity and ultra-low latency needed to dramatically scale industrial automation.
Digital manufacturing makes the economics of customization work
By cutting development cycles by as much as 50 percent, factories can go from product concept to a market-ready solution in half the time they could before to provide us with a greater variety of goods at lower cost. In addition, production mistakes are more easily prevented to deliver better quality products in less time.
The benefits extend beyond the factory. The enhanced visibility and oversight afforded by digitization also makes it easier to more accurately and securely manage supply chains and logistics worldwide. The IoT and cloud has eliminated constraints in tracking transported materials, parts, assembly and finished products across geographic borders.
For example, tracking freight in transit over land, sea and air… in trucks, trains, boats and airplanes. Nokia's Worldwide IoT Network Grid (WING) seamlessly stitches cellular, satellite and other wireless technologies together with the IoT to provide one global, in-transit view of goods 24/7/365 days.
Thanks to embedded sensors, meters and cameras, a wireless connected port can track the real-time movements of millions of containers and the wellbeing of cargo inside them. Temperature, humidity and vibration is monitored to let enterprises know when spoilage, breakage or theft has occurred... and to respond in real time by redirecting goods to avoid delivery delays.
Similarly, retailers need to know what goods are at warehouses and distribution centers, as well as their precise location, to provide consumers with an excellent experience - whether they are buying in-store, online or via catalog. Private LTE, edge cloud and the IoT combine to provide real-time visibility of inventory so retailers can more efficiently and rapidly fill consumer orders shipped by mail, picked up in-person or scheduled for home delivery.
By providing extraordinary levels of agility, automation and visibility, digital manufacturing can delight us with customized, high quality products delivered on time. And that builds both customer loyalty and profitability.
Smart factories, supply chains and logistics are reshaping the way things are made and moved globally. Advanced connectivity and billions of things connected in the cloud today provide a new level of consciousness within the value chain to bring increased goods, variety and customization to consumers. Nokia makes this tighter interaction between industrial manufacturing and customers possible.