The 5G industry edge cube Catalyst improves the use of industrial IoT infrastructure, making it easier for manufacturers of any size to adopt cost-effective, efficient solutions right for them
Key breakthrough in industrial IoT can accelerate industry 4.0
As demand for digital transformation of industrial enterprise increases, so does the need for a combination of advanced hardware, software and network solutions that can operate according to a variety of factory-specific applications. Capabilities such as motion control, human-machine collaboration and digital twinning are highly sought after – but place more demand on CSP networks and computing power infrastructure.
The 5G industry edge cube Catalyst aims to solve this issue by developing a solution which CSPs can use to simplify industrial deployments whilst ensuring they meet the exact needs of the customer. In so doing, the solution was designed to improve network capabilities, computing power and the ease with which applications could be implemented.
When considering how to create networks more fitting for the industrial IoT, the Catalyst team looked at how to enhance the use of 5G and MEC, both of which are in relatively early phases of implementation across industry. As such there is no defined formula for supporting various requirements on storing and isolating data, as well as security and network personalization. To resolve this, the Catalyst developed an enhanced level of compatibly between network interfaces and industrial protocols that make it far easier to establish a cloud-edge-device collaboration mechanism for industrial and software applications, in order to collect and use industrial data more efficiently.
The solution also caters for shortfalls in the current approach to deploying computing power in industrial IoT setups. Historically, these typically involve a large number of edge computing devices and intelligent terminals which are deployed to prevent any bandwidth issues, network congestion and high latency when massive data is uploaded to the cloud. To ensure network quality is maintained, the Catalyst solution features a more effective collaboration mechanism among computing nodes, so that idle computing resources can be fully utilized at all times. Through distributed computing perception, scheduling and computer resource syncing, there is far more efficient allocation - and management - of computing resources, making it significantly easier to meet the needs of the various industrial IoT applications.
As well as these infrastructural improvements, the Catalyst team sought to develop innovative industrial ‘plug-and-play’ applications suitable for large-scale deployment and more suited to small and medium-sized enterprises who, unlike a large enterprise, may not have the same need for a highly tailored solution.
The solution uses TM Forum’s ODA framework for establishing product requirements and product design. For example, the ‘TMF eTOM process framework’ has been used to understand the solution’s commercial viability, planning and designing the functional architecture, and to test and deploy applications. The ODA functional framework architecture has been crucial in mapping functions and business processes, and provides party management, core commerce management, production management and intelligence management for the entire project.
Application and wider value
The 5G industry edge cube Catalyst has brought a series of much-needed innovations to industrial IoT and transforms how CSPs are able to support the sector’s customers. Deployments have demonstrated that it’s far easier for customers to define their goals across their business and see them realized. For example, this new digital infrastructure has helped enterprise identify improvements in supply chains which have exacted greater efficiency – deployments so far have resulted in a 15% to 20% increase in productivity at factory level. Moreover, the efficient use of resources has also resulted in reduced carbon footprint, and so can support an organization’s green objectives too.
According to Pei Gao, China Unicom’s Senior Solution Manager, “we are delighted with the impact of our Catalyst’s solution on industrial processes and outputs where it has been deployed. As the industrial sector becomes more deeply engaged in intelligent manufacturing and green priorities, we can reliably support them with state-of-the-art 5G and MEC solutions, and ultimately intelligent production, large-scale customization, networked collaboration and digital management. All of this will be key in helping industry shift from conventional to intelligent manufacturing - and as the new era begins, we’re thrilled to have played a key role in creating it.”