GSMA and 5G-ACIA team up on industrial 5G for Industry 4.0

The GSM Association (GSMA) and the 5G Alliance for Connected Industries and Automation (5G-ACIA) are to collaborate more deeply on industrial 5G for smart manufacturing. The pair have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to jointly “promote and advance a shared understanding” of industrial 5G deployment considerations, including networks, devices, applications, infrastructure options, and deployment models.

In effect, it means 5G-ACIA, whose whole mission is to represent and pursue industrial interests in development of 5G, will get involved with the GSMA’s 5G IoT for Manufacturing project, which proclaims the same ends – “to advance the global adoption of 5G IoT across the manufacturing industry and the wider industrial sector”. 5G-ACIA has, probably, the most high-profile industrial automation and manufacturing companies on its roster of members.

These include ABB, Beckhoff, Bosch, Dassault Systems, Siemens, and Volkswagen. It also counts key telecoms infrastructure vendors, including the likes of Athonet, Celona, Druid Software, Ericsson, Huawei, Mavenir, and Nokia, plus others, as well as a decent showing of tier-one mobile operators, notably China Mobile, Deutsche Telekom, NTT DoCoMO, Verizon, and Vodafone. There are plenty of others, in Industry 4.0 hardware and system design.

The GSMA’s Industry 4.0 initiative focuses on “enterprises, network operators, and ecosystem players”, but its heritage is in the telecoms space, and its purpose is, first and foremost, to drive mobile operator businesses. But in practical terms, their objectives are the same in the manufacturing space: to ensure 5G finds its mark, and drives the Industry 4.0 game as well as possible.

The GSMA said its 5G-manufacturing community and forum aim to “identify manufacturers’ challenges and opportunities, identify how 5G IoT can address these, and encourage the sharing of best practices in order to demonstrate how industrial 5G IoT can benefit the manufacturing industry”. It said the collaboration will drive closer ties between the mobile and manufacturing industries.

Andreas Mueller, general chair at the 5G-ACIA, said: “5G [is] a key technology for the further evolution of the manufacturing sector and it will take Industry 4.0 to the next level, facilitating unprecedented levels of flexibility, productivity, efficiency and ease-of-use. A prerequisite for [its] successful adoption in manufacturing is a very close collaboration between previously disjoint stakeholders and ecosystems, especially from the ICT and OT domains.

“5G-ACIA as the globally leading organization for driving and shaping Industrial 5G is therefore actively reaching out and liaising with other relevant organizations around the world and the Memorandum of Understanding that we have signed with GSMA represents another major milestone in this respect. We are very happy and excited about joining forces with GSMA and to jointly pave the way for the Factory of the Future.”

Alex Sinclair, chief technology officer at the GSMA, said: “This collaboration will help to advance 5G in manufacturing and industrial automation and redefine the benefits of partnering with mobile operators for 5G [based] IoT manufacturing applications. Our goal is to bring trusted, strategic partners for better production quality, flexibility, efficiency, and sustainability [and to enable] our members to work closely with the 5G-ACIA.”