Industry 4.0: 5G Accelerates Smart Factory Innovation
Smart factories utilise new technologies in order to create a cohesive ecosystem, adopting automation to impact operations, process, enterprise and supply chain. Often referred to as Industry 4.0, these smart factories optimise data management and artificial intelligence and stay connected with 5G.
5G offers a much greater bandwidth and speed than any previous networks, and is therefore a catalyst to the new industrial revolution. Taking advantage of data, 5G has lower latency and allows for data to travel between 2 points at a much faster rate. 5G could potentially replace fixed, wired connections meaning that the manufacturing process can reach a higher level and speed of innovation.
5G is a highly reliable network, meaning shorter start-to-finish times for “factory floor production reconfiguration, layout changes, and alterations” says Ericsson. One of the leading providers in the Information and Communication Technology sector.
believes that manufacturing is one of the most important sectors for innovation and the industry digitization of 5G technology. In their recent study, The 5G Business Potential, the expected market in 2026 will be USD 113 billion, meaning a 7% growth from current service revenue forecasts.
The latest technology is very advanced and is an enormous breakthrough for the manufacturing industry, allowing them to lower manual labour, speed up automation and produce lower costs.
“Our fast and secure 5G connectivity enables the smart factory with agile operations and flexible production, utilizing industrial solutions such as automated warehouses, automated assembly, packing, product handling and autonomous carts,” says Erik Simonsson, head of the Ericsson USA 5G Smart Factory.
Ericsson has partnered with China Mobile to create what they’ve called the ‘’, enabling automation by applying IoT Technology. The world’s first IoT-based trial took place in Nanjing, at Ericsson’s radio product manufacturing site.
The introduction of the connected screwdriver has completely made the need for handwritten logs and manual procedures redundant. There are approximately 1000 high-precision screwdrivers in the factory, fitted with real-time motion sensors. The sensors collect data and send them over the company’s cloud and back-end systems which optimises automation to produce intelligent calculations. This system cuts back the need for manual work by 50% and replaces it with automated solutions using data and 5G
Fluent.ai x BSH: Voice Automating the Assembly Line
Fluent.ai has deployed its voice recognition solutions in one of BSH’s German factories. BSH leads the market in producing connected appliances—its brands include Bosch, Siemens, Gaggenau, NEFF, and Thermador, and with this new partnership, the company intends to cut transition time in its assembly lines.
According to BSH, voice automation will yield 75-100% efficiency gains—but it’s the collaboration between the two companies that stands out. ‘After considering 11 companies for this partnership, we chose Fluent.ai because of their key competitive differentiators’, explained Ion Hauer, Venture Partner at BSH Startup Kitchen.
What Sets Fluent.ai Apart?
After seven years of research, the company developed a wide range of artificial intelligence (AI) software products to help original equipment manufacturers (OEM) expand their services. Three key aspects stood out to BSH, which operates across the world and in unique factory environments.
- Robust noise controls. The system can operate even in loud conditions.
- Low latency. The AI understands commands quickly and accurately.
- Multilingual support. BSH can expand the automation to any of its 50+ country operations.
How Voice Automation Works
Instead of pressing buttons, BSH factory workers will now be able to speak into a headset fitted with Fluent.ai’s voice recognition technology. After uttering a WakeWord, workers can use a command to start assembly line movement. As the technology is hands-free, workers benefit from less physical strain, which will both reduce employee fatigue and boost line production.
‘Implementing Fluent’s technology has already improved efficiencies within our factory, with initial implementation of the solution cutting down the transition time from four seconds to one and a half”, said Markus Maier, Project Lead at the BSH factory. ‘In the long run, the production time savings will be invaluable’.
Future Global Adoption
In the coming years, BSH and Fluent.ai will continue to push for artificial intelligence on factory lines, pursuing efficiency, ergonomics, and a healthy work environment. ‘We started with Fluent.ai on one factory assembly line, moved to three, and [are now] considering rolling the technology out worldwide’, said Maier.
Said Probal Lala, Fluent.ai’s CEO: ‘We are thrilled to be working with BSH, a company at the forefront of innovation. Seeing your solution out in the real world is incredibly rewarding, and we look forward to continuing and growing our collaboration’.