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IWD 2024: How Industrial IoT Can Enable Industry 5.0
Thu, 7th Mar 2024

Industry 5.0 represents the next evolutionary phase of the industry, focusing on the integration of advanced technologies with human abilities to enhance both productivity and worker well-being. It builds on the efficiency and productivity targets of Industry 4.0 with responsible business practices to enhance sustainability, profitability, and employee welfare. Industrial IoT (IIoT) is a critical enabling technology to achieve these goals; the ability to monitor and measure nearly anything will allow businesses to successfully pursue digital transformation to enable Industry 5.0.

Bringing digital transformation to industry to make Industry 5.0 a reality comes with tremendous benefits. These examples illustrate the impact that IIoT can have:

  • IoT-equipped factories can integrate monitoring and local intelligence with robotics and manufacturing automation to perform operations that would otherwise require human interaction, which allows factories to reallocate labour resources to focus on higher-value, more meaningful tasks. Improving worker satisfaction and safety also contributes to sustainability initiatives and responsible business practices. 
  • Reducing an organization’s manufacturing footprint drives sustainability; for example, enhanced preventive maintenance extends the life of manufacturing equipment, thereby increasing equipment uptime, reducing material waste, and lowering overall costs.

When looking at manufacturing and industry, enterprises are seeking insights into the people, devices, supplies, and equipment in their factories, as well as facility conditions, and applying adaptive intelligence to drive benefits like efficiency, better safety, increased productivity, and enhanced worker utilization. IIoT involves deploying the ability to monitor, measure, obtain, and analyze data and ultimately use that data to continuously optimize processes, equipment, and the work environment itself. Networking is needed to transmit data and instructions to and from devices, but industrial environments have unique characteristics that may not be optimal for all networking technologies. Frequently, industrial sites are located on large campuses, so the range is important, and they often are built with steel and concrete, which can hamper transmissions. These factors impact technology selection. Another aspect to consider is what you want to measure. From a cost perspective, it makes sense to look for solutions that are right-sized; if you are transmitting small bits of data (which represent the bulk of IIoT applications), low-power wide-area networking (LPWAN) will be considerably more cost-effective than other approaches.

At the same time, the variety of use cases in IIoT is huge, which means no single technology can meet all the requirements. This means using complementary open standards is critical to achieving Industry 5.0. Enterprises and factories need to consider their objectives to determine the right approach, but they will almost certainly need to integrate multiple connectivity approaches, be it LoRaWAN®, 5G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, industrial control and SCADA systems, MQTT, BACnet, MODBUS, or others. The benefits of working with open standards are well established: no vendor lock-in, which frequently drives lower costs; more solution flexibility and device interoperability; and the backing of official certification programs so end users can have confidence that their solutions will work as intended.

Ultimately, if supported by the right networking technologies, IIoT will have a tremendous role in enabling enterprises to cut costs, streamline operations, and achieve scalability through flexible business models while also anticipating the continuous innovation needed for Industry 5.0 in the future. The choice of connectivity is crucial, and LoRaWAN® has a proven track record of optimizing industrial operations, integrating with existing infrastructure, and creating synergies with complementary technologies. This allows the technology to support people, the planet, and profit, making it foundational to the new industrial evolution.