Nokia aims for edge in journey to Industry 4.0

Comms tech provider Nokia aims to address new category of Industry 4.0 applications that require increased capabilities and performance at the network edge and tight integration with industrial systems and networking solutions

In a bid to accelerate enterprises’ journey to Industry 4.0, Nokia has launched a cloud-native, mission-critical industrial edge product to allow such businesses to advance operational technology (OT) digitisation initiatives.

Outlining the reasons for the product’s development, Nokia said Industry 4.0 required widespread digitisation and connectivity of equipment, machines and other assets in industrial environments. Due to the volume and velocity of data generated and the need for real-time automation, data increasingly needs to be processed at the edge – close to where it is generated. By 2025, market analysts predict that as much as three-quarters of industrial data will be processed at the edge.

“Enterprises are increasingly focusing their digital transformation efforts on the application of software and cloud capabilities to OT to reap the benefits of agility and cost efficiency in asset-intensive industrial environments,” noted Caroline Chappell, research director at research firm Analysys Mason.

“Enterprises need on-premise edge clouds, like the Nokia MX Industrial Edge, to provide secure, resilient, high-performance execution environments for mission-critical OT applications,” she added. “Enterprises will be looking for an edge cloud solution partner that can tap into a broad ecosystem of cloud stack and industrial application vendors, understand their stringent operational needs and data sovereignty requirements, and bring a deep knowledge of the network to an increasingly complex, connected industrial landscape.”

Nokia’s MX Industrial Edge is a scalable application and compute solution designed to meet the mission-critical digital transformation needs of asset-intensive industries such as manufacturing, energy and transportation. It combines compute, storage, wired and wireless networking, one-click industrial applications and automated management on a unified, on-premise OT digital transformation platform.

The product will be available in a variety of configurations to support small, medium and large-scale industrial deployments. Based on the Nokia AirFrame Open Edge server, using Intel CPUs for high-capacity processing, it is designed for compute-intensive tasks and advanced artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) workloads. In addition, network interface cards (NICs) and packet processing systems scale to support large-scale 5G standalone (SA) private wireless traffic flows. Guaranteed performance is said to be assured via integrated orchestration features for service performance management.

MX Industrial Edge is also attributed with being able to simplify industrial internet of things (IIoT) system integration, with its industrial connectors providing industrial data protocols translation and the Nokia Integrated Operations Centre providing a single pane of glass view from all systems, as well as helping create industrial automation workflows.

By adopting the MX Industrial Edge, Nokia believes enterprises will benefit from an on-premise cloud architecture that unifies edge requirements in an easy-to-use, deploy-everywhere, as-a-service package. It is designed to remove the complexity, knowledge and economic hurdles typically associated with deployment, integration and lifecycle management of high-performance compute applications and mission-critical networking.

The company added that the platform’s extreme scalability enabled multi-facility enterprises, such as logistics companies, to deploy the same technology at all locations, whether large or small, making the benefits of “develop once, deploy everywhere” a reality. MX Industrial Edge is powered by the Nokia Digital Automation Cloud, providing enterprises with a single pane of glass user experience to manage everything from applications to private wireless networking.

Industry 4.0 is transforming asset-intensive industries by integrating and digitising all processes and systems across the industrial value chain. This will result in an explosion of data – and taking the right actions based on that data in near real time will be critical to the success of digital transformation initiatives,” said Nokia head of enterprise solutions Stephan Litjens.

“Ensuring performance, along with aspects like keeping data local and secure while being resilient against internet connectivity failures, is not possible with a centralised cloud, making the on-prem edge the architecture of choice for this new breed of OT applications. All industrial and enterprise campuses, such as factories, logistics hubs and ports, are multi-solution and multi-partner environments. By adopting an ecosystem-neutral approach and integration plug-ins, our customers get unparalleled flexibility and benefit from the widest array of applications and use cases to adopt innovations to advance their digital transformation.”    

Read more about Industry 4.0

Read more on Internet of Things (IoT)

Data Center
Data Management