5G IoT for Smart Manufacturing – FAQs

5G opens a new range of new possibilities for manufacturing companies. To answer some common questions about 5G IoT for Manufacturing, we have interviewed experts from ABB Motion, Telefonica, and Verizon. In this Q&A, industry experts discuss the 5G IoT Manufacturing ecosystem, success factors for 5G implementation in smart manufacturing, use cases of 5G IoT for Manufacturing, security, and dedicated 5G networks (also known as Private Networks, Private Wireless, or Non Public Networks).


Juha Mirsch

Global Cellular Connectivity Lead, ABB Motion Business

Juha Mirsch is Global Cellular Connectivity Lead in ABB Motion Business. He has over 15 years’ experience in telecommunications in diverse roles as well technical as commercial and drives today the industrial IoT enablement for ABB Motion AC Motors and Variable Speed Drives.
Juha has strong cellular technical background working as senior solution architect for Evolved Packet Core (EPC) solutions and driving diverse commercial LTE projects globally for telco operators and vertical industry businesses. Before joining ABB he held position as commercial manager for MNO account on vendor side, which makes him as true techno-commercial leader to understand also the commercial aspect in the new technology adoption during the fourth Industrial revolution and 5G enablement.

Andres Escribano

New Business & Industry 4.0 Director & Joint Chair of GSMA 5G IoT Manufacturing Forum, Telefónica

Responsible for developing new business opportunities at global level in IoT, 5G & new connectivity, AI & Blockchain. During the last 2 years responsible for the Industry 4.0 Business area.

Responsible for connectivity business in Telefónica during the last 4 years (18 Mll IoT lines around the world), including the Telefónica IoT Platform Global Product Area (KITE), IoT Partners Program & Business Technology Area) and part of the IoT World Alliance Executive Board, GSMA Connecting Living Group.

For 8 years he implemented and managed the ERP/PDM information systems in EADS (Airbus), later he joined Telefónica in 1999 where he was responsible for IT and Security in Quam Switzerland (TEF Mobile Operations). For 8 years in different organizations in Telefónica (Spain and Latam Corporation & MNCs), managed the Presales Area in the Corporate/Multinationals segment, focus in the B2B business.

Shamik Basu

Head of IoT Platforms, Verizon

Shamik Basu is Head of IoT platforms at Verizon. In his current role, he leads the portfolio growth strategy for global IoT connectivity and the ThingSpace platform, and is responsible for creating and commercializing new data-enabled IoT offerings across industries. Shamik and his team work with cloud hyperscalers, incubators and the developer community on pioneering the next round in IoT devices & apps. Verizon’s platforms connect millions of IoT end points today and are being evolved to connect the next wave of smart objects with 5G.

Before his current role, Shamik was Director of Cloud and Location Products at Verizon Wireless and managed the launch and roadmaps for a multi-million-dollar portfolio of consumer apps.

Shamik holds Bachelors and Masters degrees in Computer Science and Finance and graduated from Southern Methodist University’s Cox School of Business. He holds multiple patents in the areas of wireless wan activation, contact synchronization, media management and is part of CTA’s Wearable technologies and IoT Working groups.

Neill Young

IoT Verticals Lead, GSMA

Neill is IoT Verticals Lead at the GSMA, with a focus on the manufacturing market. He has over 15 years’ experience of building M2M and IoT services, solutions and ecosystems within both mobile network operators and vertical service providers. Neill has been involved with programmes such as the rollout of smart meters and smart grid, introduction of connectivity for the first connected cars and development of several IoT strategies and standards for the smart home and smart city. He has most recently worked with mobile operators on building their IoT Edge computing strategies. As IoT Verticals Lead, Neill is currently working on building new opportunities for IoT in the manufacturing market, focussing particularly on new enablers such as 5G and private networks as well as defining new ecosystems to serve Industry 4.0.

Who are the key players in the 5G IoT Manufacturing ecosystem, and what are their roles?

Juha Mirsch, ABB Motion: To enable 5G in manufacturing we need early adopters, drivers of ecosystems, and enablers. Private cellular networks do not justify the investment with only a few use cases and one radio frequency band, therefore the ecosystem of use cases is key, as well as the interoperability between different networks (local/private), support in all standards of NB-IoT/4G/5G and the range of radio frequency bands (low/medium/high). Here I would like to highlight the importance of GSMA and 3GPP/5G-ACIA as essential drivers.

Strong partnerships between communication service providers (CSPs), Integrators and Radio/Platform Vendors is key. Manufacturers do not have the capabilities, nor it is their core business to host local radio frequency spectrums and operate the networks, as well as integrate between Operation Technology (OT), Telecommunications companies (Telco) and Information Technology (IT) to ensure interoperability on platforms.

Early adopters and enablers are key. Manufacturers that are already investing and adopting today in, for example, on-premise LTE infrastructure only to collect shop-floor data will generate an advantage when advanced Ultra Reliable Low Latency Communications (URLLC) use cases are enabled.

Neill Young, GSMA: The GSMA agrees with ABB that success will require a strong ecosystem approach. No single organization is able to deliver a full end-to-end industrialized solution. Although there is much interest in the availability of dedicated networks, the range of solutions and ecosystems possible using public network approaches should not be overlooked. Solutions including mobile edge computing, network slicing, dedicated and shared infrastructure in partnership with mobile operators are all possible using their licensed frequency bands. We encourage manufacturers to engage with mobile operators to discuss use cases, trials and tactical solutions that will make financial and operational sense for many manufacturing companies and the related supply chain.

Can you share with us how mobile network operators build an ecosystem to support manufacturing projects, the important resources and skills required, the support to specialist developers, and the programs’ for identifying relevant manufacturing applications?

Andres Escribano, Telefonica: Building a strong ecosystem around Industrial IoT is critical for the success of 5G and the digital transformation for the sector. As one of the main actors in this transformation we have several resources and capabilities at a technical level. However, even with our experience in other sectors it’s is not enough – we need to jointly understand, with our customers, partners & start-ups, the business needs and how they are solved.

In order to do that we have built an Open Lab – The Thinx – that includes several capabilities: Technology, Certification and Testing, and Knowledge and Support.

Players have access to 5G networks in a “lab” environment, the ability to use new modules and chipsets before they are made commercial, and availability of technologies integrated with 5G in this workspace such as Blockchain, Machine Learning/AI Platforms, IoT platforms. Support for these technologies is also provided.

The Open Lab also provides the ability to test the different solutions in “real conditions”: environmental chambers, attenuators to simulate different levels of coverage, Faraday chambers, battery testers, etc.; each of these allow  a reduction in delivery time of real projects.

Our most valuable assets are our technicians. We support start-ups to focus on their use cases, partners to understand how to implement 5G in an efficient way, and customers to reduce the time to adopt a new use case.

Shamik Basu, Verizon: Verizon has had a strong focus on building a partner ecosystem to achieve success in 5G & IoT across verticals. We believe in 3 steps to success and we’ve implemented these via our ThingSpace platform:

  1. Seed the ecosystem: We have established relationships through an incentive program called ThingSpace Ready. It is a group of chipset, module, sensor and other hardware partners that help us create the correct reference implementations, devkits and early state activity with developers & incubators. We also added certification benefits for any hardware maker that comes through the ThingSpace Ready program
  2. Activate digitally: We have moved to digital onboarding for early state accounts & developers. This is how the ecosystem can self-discover us and activate devices in a frictionless way. This type of activation helps start the manufacturing incubation process with cellular without the incumbency of long-term contracts and custom plans.
  3. Hyperscalers: We have established strategic alliances with cloud partners such as Amazon Web Services (AWS). This is where the verticals have moved their applications to and developers like to reside. They also provide all the cloud tools to develop applications quickly.

Which use cases can 5G support in the manufacturing environment? Will 5G support these use cases evolving over time?

Andres Escribano, Telefonica: We can split the answer into multiple approaches:

For the architecture, by looking at how Industrial Edge Computing is integrated with other capabilities and the 5G communication infrastructure, deployed in the field to reduce latency, avoid data transfer outside of the factory, and integrated with apps & solutions like AR/VR, Digital Twin, etc. efficiently.

Business processes around the specific use cases in a “wireless factory” concept.

  • Positioning (indoor) is key to simplify the process to integrate many mobile elements in the factory. Telefonica’s targeted reach is to a precision of less than a meter. Only one technology will be allowed to transfer data and locate the device.
  • Automation (AGV’s – Drones – Cobots). In general, the reduction of latency and increase of throughput allows the introduction of more elements that minimize the human interaction in low value operations.
  • Predictive maintenance & remote operations (AR/VR). Offering the capability to reduce the downtime periods in the factory, avoiding impacts of technicians on field operations (i.e. Covid-19) are accelerating the adoption.
  • Connected Workers. Ensuring employees within this smart factory concept are efficient and safe.

In the medium term, to implement Digital Twin concepts allowing decisions to be delegated to an AI/Machine learning system over the whole factory level.

Juha Mirsch, ABB Motion: In our changing world, ABB wants to address the way how we produce (Industry 4.0), and how we power and consume energy. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), today around 30% of the total global electrical energy is consumed (transformed) by electric motors for conversion to mechanical work. ABB Motion, as the leading manufacturer of electric motors, targets IoT and 5G enablement to make workplaces safer by remote device communication, enhanced reliability by condition monitoring, and increased energy efficiency by optimizing the electricity consumption of the motors.

Security is a key element in every IoT initiative and manufacturing implementations are no exception. Many manufacturers see private wireless networks with full, dedicated control as the answer. What are the competitive advantages of 5G and how should manufacturers choose between public and private networks?

Andres Escribano, Telefonica: Under the Wireless Factory concept, we need to ensure the use of the most highly secure wireless technology. We believe that the experience acquired during decades of using both SIMs and GSM networks demonstrate that the communications based on these technologies reach the highest security level and 5G storage.

But security is a 360-degree approach, therefore, we need to integrate other components within that equation.

Devices are one of the most common security entrances for hackers by how it is sends the information and is designed, the Cloud and OT Apps Security Environment and policies. We need to think about cybersecurity design for new OT solutions where 5G is used.

Our recommendation is adjusting the topology and architecture cost and features to the industries’ real needs. There are several approaches needed until we reach the mission critical solutions.

The use of public or private networks is an option that depends of several factors: SLAs, costs, security, criticality, etc. In general, the private networks today need to be flexible to reach many different verticals.

Shamik Basu, Verizon: 5G private networks bring with them the benefits of reliability due to licensed operation and availability. It helps manufacturing with a contained, dedicated and predictable network compared to certain unlicensed technologies. Use of private networks can also address regulatory restrictions with getting access to markets that aren’t serviced by a single operator.

The catch is that factories need to think about a protect, detect and respond paradigm. Securing the end point so it eliminates the likelihood of side channel and intrusions. Have the correct threat detection platforms implemented to detect anomalies in sensor behavior and have the right patching and remediation mechanisms. This is a holistic approach that works whether it is private or public and secures from end point to platforms.

Neill Young, GSMA: It is worth stressing that 5G provides additional security features to manufacturers. Unlike 4G networks where data is routed to ‘gateways’ hosted by the MNO, in 5G there is native support for localization of data and control at the manufacturer’s data center using mobile edge computing approaches. Network slicing can allow further partitioning and access control on the radio interface to ensure only devices belonging to the manufacturer have access to the manufacturing connectivity solution, whether this is provided by private infrastructure or network infrastructure owned by the MNO.

From the manufacturing point of view is security the main driver between choosing a public or a private network?

Juha Mirsch, ABB Motion: We often see security as data-privacy, which of course also plays a key role in manufacturing in relation to processes and Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs). But Industries do not build fences around harbors, mines or factories just to protect intellectual assets – they are mainly for safety and human protection. Avoiding interference with processes is a must as it might cause irreparable damages, and therefore on premises network solutions with distributed core will be required. However, as many manufacturers today use suppliers and Electronics Manufacturing Services (EMS) – there will also be a need to communicate and share between these private networks, therefore building the ecosystem is key.

Neill Young, GSMA: Security is only one consideration. Designing, building, maintaining and updating a private mobile network is an intensive, highly skilled task. Get it wrong and its only then that security and operational risks may present themselves. Mobile operators have the skills, tools and experience in deploying, optimizing, monitoring and maintaining connectivity solutions and we believe that by working in partnership with them, most manufacturing and supply chain enterprises can set aside these worries and concentrate on their own core capabilities.

It should also be noted that the world does not stop at the factory gates. If manufacturers have use cases that involve wide area access e.g. between sites, or for nationwide or international inbound or outbound logistics there are benefits to hybrid approaches involving the public network.

The benefits of using a single network for creating valuable services and insights and avoiding fragmentation throughout the entire manufacturing value chain, from supply chain to customer service, are obvious. How important is end-to-end value chain in network deployment with integrating public and private networks in mind?

Andres Escribano, Telefonica: We believe that the factory is not a silo, it is necessary to guarantee data transfer across any part of the supply chain and factory floor value chain.

The Inbound Supply Chain can deliver real time forecasting, adaptation of production lines, etc.

Outbound Supply Chain can provide delivery times, customer feedback, and detect behaviors or quality deviations.

To do that the transfer between the public-private worlds need to ensure:

  1. Both networks are secure
  2. Simple and cost-effective, not using complex devices
  3. Automatic and Robust, allowing many devices and moving assets.

Juha Mirsch, ABB Motion: ABB, as manufacturer of robots, motors and variable frequency drives (VFDs), view this from a product life-cycle point and look at how 5G can add value in different stages of the product lifecycle; such as how to connect devices already during manufacturing, during logistics, when taking in use (to be compliant in different private networks) and when retiring the device.

Therefore, we believe it is key that customer service providers and vendors provide enablement of how to bootstrap, remote provision and localize industrial assets across different networks as part of a heterogeneous ecosystem. Single network thinking will not apply for the manufacturing industry in the same way as, for example, the car industry, where the car is the single connected object throughout the whole lifecycle.

Neill Young, GSMA: In addition, an important capability within 5G is network slicing since it allows a virtualized network to be provided to manufacturers and supply chain partners based off the public network. Network slicing can also be used in a private network environment too for different use cases.

The inherent flexibility of hybrid networks is also a consideration. In the future, there maybe needs for temporary networks to cover certain activities at customer sites or integration with other systems in the value chain such as automated storage and retrieval systems.  Having this flexibility available as the foundation of the network means that future growth can be supported.

What are the key factors for making 5G a success in the factory?

Juha Mirsch, ABB Motion: My advice would be to start adopting 5G today and not wait for the new high-band radio frequencies or Ultra Reliable Low Latency Communications (URLLC) enabled use cases. Avoid short term total cost of ownership (TCO) on private LTE/5G investments for the initial use case as the commercial pay back is not visible before the 6th or 10th enabled use case and before the allocation of multiple standards (NB-IoT/LTE-M/4G/5G) in both low and mid spectrums.

Partnership is the real key and to identify the vendor, the CSP, and the integrator who share common values to make 5G happen is fundamental for success.

Let me motivate by providing the concrete example of this approach in one of ABB’s factories in Sweden – Ludvika. Here ABB realized early adoption in a great collaboration with Ericsson, Telia and AFRY as integrator.


Andres Escribano, Telefonica: We believe that 5G is key for the “wireless factory”.

Usually, in these digital transformations, customers choose several non-core processes to be automated and learn how it will affect the whole process. It is a business evolution, and not a revolution.

The main challenge is not around the technology capabilities, today the technology is available. The employees and current management mindset are the main limitation.

Shamik Basu, Verizon: Verizon believe it is critical to focus on the currencies:

  • Massive IoT to instrument the factory and gain data insights and signals and drive decisions. This is available today for condition maintenance, people & materials movement and asset management
  • High throughput for new use cases on Computer Vision, perimeter security and anomaly detection during manufacturing
  • Low latency & edge to enable rapid detection, remediation, and quarantining

Neill Young, GSMA: The GSMA encourages manufacturers and supply chain companies to enter a dialogue with mobile network operators about their use cases and thoughts regarding 5G. Even where ultimately a standalone 5G private network is the right solution we expect mobile operators to help shape thinking and provide assistance to manufacturing and supply chain companies over the different pros and cons of alternative deployment options. This is perhaps even more important as early stage trials are being made across use cases before the business case is established.

Watch the On-Demand IoT WebTalk and understand the values of 5G IoT for Manufacturing from ABB Motion, Airbus, GSMA, KPN, Telefonica and Verizon.

IoT WebTalk: 5G IoT for Manufacturing – Transforming Industry with Mobile


Monday 18 May 2020 | 5G | Manufacturing | Manufacturing Technology | Resources |

In this IoT WebTalk, industry experts from ABB, Airbus, KPN, Telefónica, Verizon and the GSMA discuss benefits, recent developments and real-life use cases of 5G IoT for manufacturing.

For any enquiries, please email [email protected].