Huawei sets up Connected Factory group to push 5G in manufacturing

Huawei sets up Connected Factory group to push 5G in manufacturing

Huawei special interest group will research potential for next-generation connectivity applications on the factory floor. 

Telecoms equipment giant Huawei, alongside several industry partners, has set up a Wireless Connected Factory Special Interest Group (SIG) to conduct research and promote applications of 5G communication technologies in industrial IoT (IIoT).

The members of the group include ABB, Efort, Bosch, Beckhoff, Hikrobot, Geely, KUKA, and Shenyang Institute of Automation Chinese Academy of Sciences. The first SIG group meeting has been held, with guidance provided by the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT).

According to Huawei, flexible manufacturing based on smart machines will help redefine future production lines, with next-generation machines featuring plug-and-play technology. These are growing increasingly flexible in terms of their range of functions and can be adjusted to suit different types of production.

Such machines need dynamic, high-performance communications networks, the company says, and wireless technologies can help to reduce network construction and maintenance costs, while also boosting the productivity and safety of workers.

Read more: IIoT adoption increases, but projects still early-stage, says Bsquare

5G’s potential in manufacturing

The manufacturing industry holds significant potential for IoT applications. According to analysis conducted by Huawei Wireless X Labs, connections in this sector worldwide will reach 12.5 billion by 2020, with factory networks accounting for $ 50 billion of the potential market.

At the start of 2017, X Labs targeted wireless robotics as one of its main focuses in its research into wireless use cases. Since then, X Labs and its partners have decided upon the Wireless Connected Factory SIG’s four research priorities: cloud-based programmable logic controllers (PLC); wireless industrial cameras; wireless controlled automated guided vehicles (AGV); and industrial wearables.

“Huawei hopes that SIGs such as those set up by X Labs can discover and inspire many more 5G use cases and promote 5G technologies’ application in future smart manufacturing,” said Ying Weimin, president of Huawei Wireless R&D. “Such efforts will contribute to the rise of connected factories. Huawei will work diligently alongside its partners to stimulate further growth and innovation.”

Read more: Huawei IoT strategy fuses platform, connections, ecosystem

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Upstream Security secures $9 million to advance cloud-based connected car security

Upstream Security has secured $ 9 million in series A funding to advance its cloud-based cybersecurity platform for connected cars and self-driving vehicles, after securing $ 2 million in a seed funding round in June.

According to the company, the fresh amount will be utilised for expanding its R&D programme, strengthening research teams in the engineering and security divisions and opening marketing and sales offices in the US and Europe.

The funding was led by CRV (Charles River Ventures) and included expanded investments from Glilot Capital Partners and Maniv Mobility.

Izhar Armony, general partner at CRV, said: “Connected and semi-autonomous cars are already a reality, so it’s a matter of ‘when’ not ‘if’ these self-driving technologies will be deployed at scale. Upstream’s engineers were the first to solve how to protect connected cars and autonomous vehicles using the cloud, crucial for near-term and future deployment of automotive cybersecurity at the fleet level.

"We believe in Upstream’s groundbreaking approach to secure connected and autonomous vehicles and in the abilities of cybersecurity veterans, Yoav Levy and Yonatan Appel, to build a rapidly growing business in this hot, emerging space.”

Talking about the increasing security threats in the connected car industry, Upstream CEO and cofounder Levy commented: “Security solutions for the car are undergoing rapid advances at an unprecedented rate. We’re using emerging technologies like AI and machine learning to carry out an evolutionary leap in cybersecurity for passenger and commercial vehicles.”

It’s not the only money going into this space of late. Earlier this month, Canada-based connected vehicle startup Mojio secured $ 30 million in Series B funding, which will be utilised by the company to expedite its connected-vehicle solution and for global expansion. Latest from the homepage

Ericsson forecasts 20 billion connected IoT devices by 2023

Ericsson forecasts 20 billion connected IoT devices by 2023

Ericsson forecasts 20 billion connected IoT devices by 2023

The latest edition of the Ericsson Mobility Report suggests that the number of connected IoT devices should increase at a CAGR of 19 percent up to 2023. More than 20 massive IoT cellular networks have been commercially deployed across several regions.

20 billion connected IoT devices by 2023

By 2023, over 30 billion connected devices1 are forecast, of which around 20 billion will be related to the IoT. Connected IoT devices include connected cars, machines, meters, sensors, point-of-sale terminals, consumer electronics2 and wearables. Between 2017 and 2023, connected IoT devices are expected to increase at a CAGR of 19 percent, driven by new use cases and affordability.

Short-range and wide-area segments

In the figure below, IoT is divided into short-range and wide-area segments. The short-range segment largely consists of devices connected by unlicensed radio technologies, with a typical range of up to 100 meters, such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Zigbee. This category also includes devices connected over fixed-line local area networks and powerline technologies.

Ericsson Mobility Report chart: connected devices 2015-2023

The wide-area segment consists of devices using cellular connections, as well as unlicensed low-power technologies, such as Sigfox and LoRa.

1.8 billion IoT devices with cellular connections by 2023

At the end of 2017, there will be around 0.5 billion IoT devices with cellular connections. This number is projected to reach 1.8 billion in 2023, or around 75 percent of the wide-area category.

Presently, the dominant technology in the wide-area segment is GSM/GPRS. However, by 2023, IoT cellular connectivity will mainly be provided by LTE and 5G. The majority of these connections will be over LTE networks, while 5G technology will continue to support an increase in IoT applications, especially those requiring critical communications. 5G will also provide mechanisms for rapid and cost-effective introduction and provisioning of new IoT services.

Based on technologies like Cat-M1 and NB-IoT3, a growing number of cellular IoT networks are being deployed, with more than 20 networks now commercially launched across several regions.4

1 In our forecast, a connected device is a physical object that has a processor, enabling communication over a network interface
Note: Traditional landline phones are included for legacy reasons
2 Including: Smart TVs, digital media boxes, Blu-Ray players, gaming consoles, audio/video (AV) receivers, etc.
3 Cat-M1 supports a wide range of IoT applications, including content-rich ones, and NB-IoT is streamlined for ultra-low throughput applications. Both of these technologies are deployed on LTE networks
4 GSA (October 2017)

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Qualcomm and BlackBerry extend connected car partnership

BlackBerry has announced the extension of its strategic partnership with Qualcomm to deliver ‘cutting-edge’ platforms for connected cars.

Patrick Little, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Automotive at Qualcomm, comments: "As innovation in the automotive industry accelerates it becomes necessary for industry leaders to work together to deliver leading-edge technology platforms that help to make vehicles safer, more connected, and increasingly autonomous,"

"Today we're building on our longstanding relationship with BlackBerry to develop automotive platforms that will accelerate the industry toward a more connected future."

Select hardware platforms from Qualcomm will be optimised for BlackBerry’s QNX software used for virtual cockpit controllers (VCC), telematics — including eCall and Cellular Vehicle-to-Everything (C-V2X) technology — electronic control gateways, digital instrument clusters and infotainment systems.

We aim to accelerate the delivery of the next generation platforms

The partners will also work together on ensuring BlackBerry over-the-air (OTA) software and BlackBerry Secure Credential Management (SCM) services are optimised for select Qualcomm Snapdragon modems.

"BlackBerry and Qualcomm Technologies have had a long-standing relationship for over a decade, collaborating on technologies that have revolutionized the way people live and work," said Sandeep Chennakeshu, President of BlackBerry Technology Solutions. "Today's announcement elevates our relationship as we aim to accelerate the delivery of the next generation platforms that connected vehicles will rely upon."

BlackBerry debuted its QNX Hypervisor 2.0 in June and Qualcomm was signed up to use it for digital cockpit applications in addition to its Snapdragon 820A automotive platform.

With the warnings of connected cars being targeted by hackers, BlackBerry could be well positioned to take advantage of concerns with its reputation for security. Partnering with Qualcomm, whose chips are expected to play a pivotal role in connected cars, should further help to ensure BlackBerry’s success in a market set for huge growth.

Today's partnership extension was made just a day after BlackBerry published security guidelines for connected cars.

What are your thoughts on Qualcomm and BlackBerry’s connected car partnership? Let us know in the comments. Latest from the homepage

Alibaba and Ford team up on connected car experiences

Alibaba and Ford team up on connected car experiences

Alibaba and Ford have teamed up to explore ways that connected tech can be used to transform customer experiences in the automotive industry.

With the aim of catapulting its automotive sales in the Chinese market, automotive giant Ford will work with four of ecommerce giant Alibaba’s business units. 

These include the divisions that run its operating system AliOS, its cloud-computing platform Alibaba Cloud, its digital marketing arm Alimama and B2C shopping site Tmall.

Read more: Ecommerce giant Alibaba opens ‘China’s smartest warehouse’

New opportunities

Ford and Alibaba want to identify and develop opportunities in a range of areas, including artificial intelligence, infotainment and the IoT

Although this partnership is only in the initial stages, both firms are already looking to conduct a pilot study that will help them develop retail opportunities in the automotive industry.

It’ll cover various stages of the automotive ownership cycle, including pre-sales, test drives and financial leasing options, according to Alibaba.

Read more: Alibaba showcases vision of ‘retail store of the future’

Leading the sector

The Chinese firm has already made an attempt to lead the industry in China, where more than 400,000 connected cars are already using AliOS. It also launched an internet car with China-based automaker SAIC Motor in 2016. 

Daniel Zhang, chief executive officer of Alibaba, explained that the firm is investing significant resources into the automotive sector and said it was “excited to redefine the consumer journey and user experience for automobiles” in its partnership with Ford. 

“Our data-driven technology and platform will expand the definition of car ownership beyond just having a mode of transportation and into a new medium for a smart lifestyle,” he added. 

Read more: Ford Robutt ensures car seats are built to last

Looking to the future

Jim Hackett, president and CEO of Ford, said that China is “one of the world’s largest and most dynamic digital markets, thriving on innovation, with customers’ online and offline experiences converging rapidly.”

In a statement, he said the companies share a vision “for smart vehicles in a smart world to reimagine and revolutionize consumers’ mobility experiences.”

China is not only the largest car market in the world, executive chairman Bill Ford pointed out, but is also “at the heart of electric-vehicle and SUV growth and the mobility movement.” The company now hopes to expand its presence in the world’s most populace country. 

Read more: Ford, Domino’s Pizza to trial self-driving delivery service in US


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