Sep 24, 2020

What is IoT?

Smart Manufacturing
Matilda Pilkington
3 min
Manufacturing Global takes a detailed look at what IoT is, and what it means for the Manufacturing world...

The IoT or Internet of Things is a term used to describe the network of physical objects, embedded with sensors and other technologies, which are connected via the internet with the intention of sharing real-time data and information. 

What is an Internet of Things device?

Almost any object can be turned into an IoT device, as long as it has the capability of being connected to the internet to either communicate data or be controlled. 

An example of this can be as simple as a lightbulb, such as the smart-lighting options available from Philips Hue. These lightbulbs are able to be connected to a home’s wifi using a bridge device, which then allows for customers to change their light settings via their phone. 

Other examples of smart objects that are part of the IoT include thermostats, motion sensors, driverless vehicles or even children’s toys. On a larger scale, there could be small IoT components within a larger engine which is how the data is transmitted to a central hub, informing the controllers that it is operating correctly. One step above is the inclusion of various sensors and components that are building “smart cities”. 

The history of IoT

Sensors and intelligence within objects were first introduced in the 1980s and can be seen in the example of the internet-connected Coke vending machine. The simple display was used to tell members of the Carnegie Mellon University whether the machine contained any bottles, and what temperature they were, to prevent unfruitful trips to the machine. 

This early example was not sustainable on a mass scale until RFID tags were widely used. RFID, or radio-frequency identification, is a small tag which includes a radio receiver and transmitter. When triggered by a reader, the tag will emit digital data, which is usually a tracking number. 

By combining these tags and their connected devices with automated systems, it is possible to gather information to help someone with a particular task or learn from a process.

What is the Industrial Internet of Things?

The Industrial Internet of Things or IIoT is sometimes referred to as Industry 4.0 is the use of IoT technology in a business setting. The marriage of new tech with business processes. It works in a similar way to a consumer IoT setting, but rather than being used in the home, IoT devices are used alongside AI and machine learning to measure and optimise processes.

What does this mean for Manufacturing? 

With the use of IoT, manufacturers can gain valuable insights from the live production line that will allow for proactive measures to be taken rather than retrospective maintenance. IoT can also be used to ensure increased accuracy and efficiency during output which would have the potential to reduce costs and improve performance over time. 8.

With a bigger perspective, over an entire supply chain, the implementation of IoT would be more accurate readings on material levels, higher control on the management of production and even the opportunity for new revenue for businesses, with additional sales from predictive maintenance further down the line. 

Common uses for IIoT in manufacturing: 

  • Smart manufacturing
  • Preventive and predictive maintenance
  • Smart power grids
  • Connected and smart logistics
  • Smart digital supply chains

IoT ties into Industry 4.0 and means that manufacturers are able to get real-time data about their products and production line. With a network of billions of devices, it is only a short while before IoT is commonplace in all commercialised manufacturing

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Jun 17, 2021

Siemens: Providing the First Industrial 5G Router

3 min
Siemens’ first industrial 5G router, the Scalancer MUM856-1, is now available and will revolutionise the concept of remote control in industry

Across a number of industry sectors, there’s a growing need for both local wireless connectivity and remote access to machines and plants. In both of these cases, communication is, more often than not, over a long distance. Public wireless data networks can be used to enable this connectivity, both nationally and internationally, which makes the new 5G network mainframe an absolutely vital element of remote access and remote servicing solutions as we move into the interconnected age. 


Siemens Enables 5G IIoT

The eagerly awaited Scalance MUM856-1, Siemens’ very first industrial 5G router, is officially available to organisations. The device has the ability to connect all local industrial applications to the public 5G, 4G (LTE), and 3G (UMTS) mobile wireless networks ─ allowing companies to embrace the long-awaited Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). 

Siemens presents its first industrial 5G router.
Siemens presents the Scalance MUM856-1.

The router can be used to remotely monitor and service plants, machines, as well as control elements and other industrial devices via a public 5G network ─ flexibly and with high data rates. Something that has been in incredibly high demand after being teased by the leading network providers for years.


Scalance MUM856-1 at a Glance


  • Scalance MUM856-1 connects local industrial applications to public 5G, 4G, and 3G mobile wireless networks
  • The router supports future-oriented applications such as remote access via public 5G networks or the connection of mobile devices such as automated guided vehicles in industry
  • A robust version in IP65 housing for use outside the control cabinet
  • Prototypes of Siemens 5G infrastructure for private networks already in use at several sites


5G Now

“To ensure the powerful connection of Ethernet-based subnetworks and automation devices, the Scalance MUM856-1 supports Release 15 of the 5G standard. The device offers high bandwidths of up to 1000 Mbps for the downlink and up to 500 Mbps for the uplink – providing high data rates for data-intensive applications such as the remote implementation of firmware updates. Thanks to IPv6 support, the devices can also be implemented in modern communication networks.


Various security functions are included to monitor data traffic and protect against unauthorised access: for example, an integrated firewall and authentication of communication devices and encryption of data transmission via VPN. If there is no available 5G network, the device switches automatically to 4G or 3G networks. The first release version of the router has an EU radio license; other versions with different licenses are in preparation. With the Sinema Remote Connect management platform for VPN connections, users can access remote plants or machines easily and securely – even if they are integrated in other networks. The software also offers easy management and autoconfiguration of the devices,” Siemens said. 


Preparing for a 5G-oriented Future

Siemens has announced that the new router can also be integrated into private 5G networks. This means that the Scalance MUM856-1 is, essentially, future-proofed when it comes to 5G adaptability; it supports future-oriented applications, including ‘mobile robots in manufacturing, autonomous vehicles in logistics or augmented reality applications for service technicians.’ 


And, for use on sites where conditions are a little harsher, Siemens has given the router robust IP65 housing ─ it’s “dust tight”, waterproof, and immersion-proofed.


The first release version of the router has an EU radio license; other versions with different licenses are in preparation. “With the Sinema Remote Connect management platform for VPN connections, users can access remote plants or machines easily and securely – even if they are integrated in other networks. The software also offers easy management and auto-configuration of the devices,” Siemens added.


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