It’s hard to believe it’s been a year since I first blogged about Nokia’s Go Allwhere vision and the incredible possibilities of industrial digital transformation. Yet here we are, 12 months later, and everywhere you turn companies have begun converting those possibilities into smarter, leaner, greener, safer and more productive operations.
The rollout of Industry 4.0 technologies in 2019 was driven by two interrelated capabilities: pervasive connectivity on the one hand and analytics and automation on the other.
Pervasive connectivity or “connectivity everywhere” is enabled by a high performance combination of wired and wireless technologies — and in 2019 included a growing number of ultra high bandwidth and ultra low latency mission and business critical private wireless deployments that will serve as a highly effective onramp to 5G in the very-near future.
Pervasive connectivity gives organizations unprecedented situational awareness: anything from understanding how customers move through a retail space to tracking assets anywhere in the universe, in real time. This situational awareness coupled with sophisticated and powerful analytics opens the door for the intelligent automation of an enormous variety of systems — and even entire city infrastructures, fully autonomous 300-ton mining trucks and mission-critical services.
What do these capabilities look like in real life? Where are we in the transformation? The following are just a handful of examples of Industry 4.0 work with our customers in 2019 - as together, we realize this tremendous vision.
Safety first, saving more lives
Public authorities around the world are taking advantage of Industry 4.0 capabilities to enhance public safety and improve situational awareness to tackle both human and environmental threats. The California Office of Emergency Services is upgrading its statewide microwave network so first responders can react faster to urgent situations all across the state. In Belgium, Room40 is using machine learning to monitor highway service stations and identify anomalous behaviour that could indicate vandalism, theft, drug or human trafficking, or other crimes. And in Japan, we are working with authorities at Sendai City on a private LTE network with test drones to provide early warning for tsunamis and other disaster situations – a world first. This enables faster communication of critical information like evacuation alerts to ensure better response outcomes and save hundreds of lives.
Helping cities run better
I had the pleasure of visiting the city of Wrocław, in Poland last month, and saw first hand how they are planning to use Nokia solutions to bring deeper levels of innovation to their smart city platform. In the process they will be able to achieve significant operational enhancements to deliver far better citizen services — especially for older adults and people with mobility challenges. In Denmark, the world was introduced by our partner Hitachi Rail to Copenhagen’s new, fully connected and automated urban railway which will help that city pursue its goal of becoming the world’s first carbon-neutral capital. And in Hamburg, Germany just this month, the world’s biggest railway operator by revenue, Deutsche Bahn announced the world’s first 5G automated railway, part of their Digitale S-Bahn Hamburg project.
The future of industr(ies) has arrived
On the industrial front, Nokia and Hitachi Kokusai Electric are working to realize Industry 4.0 in Japan, bringing local 5G and private LTE to Japanese enterprises. With our Nokia Digital Automation Cloud solution, we can offer a myriad of AI and IoT use cases that can benefit Japan’s factories, airports and seaports.
Mining solution companies Komatsu and Sandvik are moving beyond Wi-Fi, developing innovations to enable more automation over more reliable private wireless – both LTE and 5G. Mining operations are becoming safer, smarter and more productive than ever before- as seen recently with Mineras Las Bambas and Telecom Peru who are working to enable automated, digital mining for one of the world’s largest copper mines.
Here at Nokia we are also “flying our own jets” by deploying a private wireless network in our own 4G/5G basestation manufacturing facilities to improve our processes and efficiency. It’s been recognized by the World Economic Forum as an Advanced 4th Industrial Revolution Lighthouse, and we have already seen a 30% improvement in productivity and a 50% reduction in time-to-market as a result.
In automotive manufacturing, we announced an agreement with FAW, China’s oldest and largest automotive manufacturer, to outfit their campus with 5G to digitally transform their manufacturing operations and support the future development of connected car applications.
On this same topic, in Canada we joined Ottawa L5 to build a fully connected network to (literally) “drive” innovation by supporting the testing of autonomous vehicles in the Canadian capital city.
As we look toward the future of power distribution, one of the top 10 global power utilities, Iberdrola and its Brazilian subsidiary Elektro is improving their service reliability, safety and grid management with a private wireless network that connects hard-to-reach areas and provides complete visibility into the entire power network.
At Nokia, we’ve long said the use cases for Industry 4.0 are virtually endless. The past year has shown that to be true. Today, we now run more than 120 private wireless networks for customers around the world in transportation, energy, governments and cities, manufacturing, and logistics.
So are we there yet? Every day we are seeing Industry 4.0 come to life. With the leaps forward of 2019 — and the momentum established because of them — it seems like a safe bet that 2020 is going to be a big year for the future of industry on planet Earth.
Wishing you a very happy New Year.
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