Industrial Internet of Things: Technical Viewpoints

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Industrial Internet of Things: Technical Viewpoints

The 5G Alliance for Connected Industries and Automation (5G-ACIA) is a joint initiative between initiatives on Operational Technology and Information Technology. Covering the entire ecosystem for industrial internet of things, 5G-ACIA has a truly global focus based on openness and fairness, and complementary to standardisation bodies but with a clear focus on 5G in the industrial domain. 

5G-ACIA runs 5 working groups: use cases and requirements (WG1), spectrum and operating models (WG2), architecture and technology (WG3), liaison and dissemination (WG4), validation and tests (WG5). Cross-cutting topics, e.g. safety, security and pre-consensus for standardisation are covered by all WGs.

Technical viewpoints from Dr Andreas Mueller, Robert Bosch GmbH and Chair of 5G-ACIA: 5G for Industrial IoT (July 2019). 

The evolution of mobile communications and the industrial revolutions, with the focus now on Industry 4.0, will underpin the 5G Factory of the Future characterised by higher flexibility, higher efficiency, higher productivity and better usability with mobile robots; closed-loop control; Augmented Reality (AR)/Virtual Reality (VR) and (Intra-)logistics.

Combining Operational Technologies with Information and Communication Technologies:

  • OT industry: industrial automation industries; machine builders; end-users. 
  • ICT industry: chip manufacturers; network infrastructure providers; network operators.
  • The factory of the future is much more flexible and dynamic. However, the business benefits have to be very clear. 
  • Overcoming challenges in factory settings that are harsh environments, e.g. chemicals, is key for technology uptake. 

Exemplary Use Cases

  • Factory automation.

  • Process automation.

  • Human-machine interface (HMI).

  • Logistics and warehousing.

  • Monitoring and maintenance.

These are supported by 5G with a local edge cloud. 5G functionalities, as defined by ITU, come into play in various ways, e.g. eMBB for the operations centre; mMTC for sensors; URLLC, which is very important, e.g., for robot motion control. Positioning is needed for: inventory management and Automated Guided Vehicles (AGV).  

Important enablers for IIoT

  • Industrial grade QoS and time-sensitive networking. Integration is very important. 

  • Solid QoS differentiation.

  • Seamless integration.

  • Non-public networks.

  • Integrated positioning:accuracy, e.g. distance between assets is important for achieving efficiency. 

  • A suitable evaluation platform; certification processes; APIs; QoS monitoring mechanisms.
  • Future flexible modular assembly area 
  • Safety and real-time video surveillance; flexible production; fully automated logistics

Requirements and challenges

  • High flexibility and versatility.

  • Increasing number of mobile assets.

  • Service guarantees and 24/7 operation.

  • Ease of use.

  • Integration of installed network infrastructure.

Selected performance KPIs

  • High dependability.

  • High communication service availability (>99.9999%).

  • Cyclic traffic (cycle time 1..250 ms).

  • Ultra-low latency (<

  • Time synchronisation (±1 µs). 

Selected functional requirements

  • Non-public networks.

  • Simultaneous support of URLLC and eMBB.

  • Industry-compatible security, e.g. 3GPP security by getting the industry onboard. 

  • Support of time-sensitive networking + IEEE 802-based networks.

  • New communication service interface/API for operations and management.

  • QoS monitoring.

Contributions to standardisation 

5G-ACIA WG1 covers use cases and requirement analysis; streamlining terminology; consolidating inputs to 3GPP SA1; supporting other 3GPP and 5G-ACIA WGs; identifying other relevant standardisation bodies.

Current and past work items span: use case collection; discussion and consolidation of contributions to 3GPP SA1; explanation of on-going 5G requirement specifications and key terminology; gap analysis between requirements of industrial automation and agreed 3GPP 5G requirements. Review of other work, e.g. network slicing templates from a requirements’ point of view. Requirements on communication service interface/service API.

5G-ACIA WG1: consolidation of 3GPP SA1 input

  • TR 22.804 for Rel-16 (completed June 2018).

  • TR 22.104 for Rel-17.

  • TR 22.832 for Rel-17. 

Vertical 5G service requirements in 3GPP

  • TS 22.261 (SMARTER): service requirements for the 5G system.

  • TR 22.804 (FS_CAV): study on communications for automation in vertical domains.

  • TR 22.821 (FS_5G_LAN): feasibility study on business models for network slicing.

  • TR 22.832 (FS_eCAV): study on enhancements for cyber-physical control applications in vertical domains.

  • TS 22.104 (cyberCAV, eCAV): service requirements for cyber-physical control applications in vertical domains.

5G-ACIA white papers for further reading

November 2019: Integration of Industrial Ethernet Networks with 5G Networks

November 2019: A 5G Traffic Model for Industrial Use Cases 

November 2019: Selected Testing and Validation Considerations for Industrial Communication with 5G Technologies

July 2019: 5G Non-public Networks for industrial scenarios


5G Alliance for Connected Industries and Automation
Requirements Tracking
Industrial Internet of Things

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