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Industry 4.0 / M2M

Internet of things

"The first three industrial revolutions came about as a result of mechanisation, electricity and IT. Now, the introduction of the Internet of Things and Services into the manufacturing environment is ushering in a fourth industrial revolution. In the future, businesses will establish global networks that incorporate their machinery, warehousing systems and production facilities in the shape of Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS). In the manufacturing environment, these Cyber-Physical Systems comprise smart machines, storage systems and production facilities capable of autonomously exchanging information, triggering actions and controlling each other independently."
[Source: Final report AK Industry 4.0]

Enabler: Wireless connection

Naturally any connected device in the "Internet of Things" needs a connection. Many of them are wireless. Several are "mission criticle" devices with strong requirements on availability, latency, and reliability.

Today most of wireless M2M (machine-to-machine) connections are realized by using GSM. This offers several advantages, like a separate, company independent access infrastructure, cheap and proven technology, high compatibilty of clients and gateways.

However, for several applications GSM is not the best choice. It lacks on bandwidth, reliability, and redundancy. E.g. remote access for maintenance and local engineer's support need higher data rates. Machine control needs higher reliability and much lower latency, it requires almost realtime support.

Reliability & Redundancy

brown-iposs helps to ensure reliability and redundancy of wireless access for M2M by tailored solutions. A combination of GSM and WiFi may deliver high datarates and a redundant link in case of the non-availability of either technology. Batteryless transmitters may increase reliability and reduces maintenance effort. Using combined gateways with intelligent failover reduces maintenance effort again but may bring in a new "single-point-of-failure" into the infrastructure.

In any case a precise and careful audit, planning and design of the wireless access network is a mandatory step to avoid unpleasant surprises. Planning of a wireless infrastructure for Industry 4.0 might be standard WiFi-planning - typically it is not. Instead the deployed infrastructure has to adapt to the business requirements of the production plant.

Challenge: Security

Another thread for the "Internet of Things" - and particulary for a wireless access infrastructure - is security. Security has many aspects like providing access reliability but also ensuring data protection and link integrity. Therefore end-to-end encryption of wireless transmitted data is a must for all sensible data and is solved mainly on application layer. However link integrity needs a stable and low-interfered physical transmission but still has to be protected against burst errors. Mission critical links may have to be backed by redundant connections, too.

The experts of brown-iposs are aware of the many aspects wireless M2M solutions have to fulfill in production plants and critical monitoring areas. The many - partially contradicting - requirements of M2M can only be covered by a careful infrastructure planning. With the help of our experience and knowledge we can support our customers to realize the best solution, taking into account costs, economics and reliability.