Siemens to explore 5G applications for industrial IoT

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Siemens is teaming up with an Austrian university to research how 5G can support industrial production lines.

Working with the AIT Austrian Institute of Technology, the UNWIRE project will see the manufacturer explore the replacement of cable connections with wireless connectivity in production systems.

The project will particularly focus on how 5G can meet the low latency requirements of manufacturing.

The Austrian government is funding the project through a programme called Production of the Future, which supports research into technology innovation for the manufacturing industry.

Martin Schiefer, Head of the Radio Frequency Research Group at Siemens Corporate Technology in Vienna, said: "The demands placed on the wireless links which replace cables in an industrial setting are particularly challenging.

“Safety requirements and production efficiency necessitate an extremely high level of availability, as well as minimal latencies for highly dynamic control operations.

The UNWIRE research project allows Siemens to develop an optimum wireless solution for future industrial use, based on 5G and beyond.”

Thomas Zemen, Project Manager at AIT, said: "We measure the properties of radio waves in complex and large-scale industrial settings. This data is used to assess the performance of future industrial wireless systems.

“This allows us to examine and validate the most effective signal processing algorithms and diversity mechanisms for the robust operation of a wireless communications system in real-world industrial scenarios. In doing so we can pave the way for flexible production processes, which allow for increased capacity utilisation and minimise conversion costs.”

The launch follows the announcement earlier this month from the iCIRRUS project in the UK that it had hit speeds of 5GBps in a 5G trial.

Funded by the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme, which supports innovation projects, the initiative is focused on the use of ethernet-based fibre fronthaul in 5G networks.

Operator partners include Orange, Telekom Slovenije, Cyprus-based operator Primetel alongside academic institutions such as the UK’s University of Kent and University of Essex as well as Heinrich Hertz Institute in Germany.

The number of industrial IoT connections will rise 25 percent or 13 million in 2017, according to figures from ABI Research.