My name is Sebastian Elmgren. I am located in Stockholm, Sweden. I am working at Ericsson as a portfolio manager for smart manufacturing focusing on partnership and business development. I have a background from the Ericsson Supply organization and worked with strategic initiatives in our production for 10 years before moving over to the product side.
Our main focus for the manufacturing industry is dedicated 5G networks optimized for industrial use. These private networks provide a stable, secure and flexible infrastructure for a factory’s communication needs. Around these networks, we are building a broad ecosystem of partners for an end to end use cases.
The connected factory of the future is driven by data. Data is collected, data is analyzed and then actions are taken based on the data. 5G is the connections between these steps. It makes it possible to collect a huge amount of data from the production floor, move it to wherever it should be analyzed and then send commands back to production all with very little delay.
5G also connects the local factory with the existing global infrastructure as the same technology are used both for local connectivity as well as global. This makes it possible to go beyond connecting only a single factory. We can start connecting the whole supply chain and the whole life cycle of a product. Unlocking all the promises of Industry 4.0.
Yes, I believe 5G could be the missing link. 5G is the only technology that can address all the use cases of industry 4.0 both locally and globally.
One area that is easy to start with and often have a short payback time and is applicable for most companies is predictive maintenance. It also creates a good foundation to start building other use cases.
I think the best strategy is to go step by step and not try to do a big bang implementation. It is also important to have a purpose with everything you are doing. Do not start collecting all data that can possibly be collected only because it might be good to have. Collect only the data that you know what to do with and then build from that.
I would say that the biggest advancements have been in the build-up of the ecosystem around 5G. We see more and more companies adopting the technology both from the supplier and user side. This ecosystem is what will unlock the full potential of 5G in the end.
We are starting to see all kinds of 5G applications being implemented. Everything from Drones, AR, machine vision and AGVs to works safety, energy management and connected screwdrivers.
One of the challenges that we often see is that companies do not have an IT infrastructure that supports the massive amount of IoT use cases that are being implemented in factories. Most IT environments are built for handling laptops in an office environment. Not robots, AR headsets and drones in a factory environment. This is creating completely new requirements that need to be fulfilled.
I think we will see an even more flexible production in the future. Where everything is made to order and customized to reduce waste without adding extra cost or lead time. That would be a super exciting future that would have a great impact on every part of our society.
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