Nov 10, 2020 Networking

Living in the 4th Industrial Revolution — aka Industry 4.0

By Nermin Mohamed, Head of Telecommunications Solutions at Wind River


Since the 1800s, we have experienced three industrial revolutions that have transformed our modern society. Each was initiated by a new and disruptive technology: the mechanics of the steam engine, the innovation of the assembly line, and the speed of the computer. They’re deemed “revolutions” because the innovations of each era didn’t just improve productivity and efficiency a little bit, they completely revolutionized how goods were produced and how work was done.

Right now, we are going through the Fourth Industrial Revolution, aka Industry 4.0. We are experiencing it every day, and its full magnitude is yet unknown.

Industry 4.0 takes the emphasis on digital technology from recent decades to a whole new level with the growing combination of manufacturing and industrial platforms and practices with the latest machine-to-machine (M2M) and Internet of Things (IoT) smart technologies. This revolution will bring far more intelligent ways of doing business, especially in manufacturing and production. The idea is to mass produce quality products, reliably, and with high levels of flexibility and customization.

Achieving these goals requires equipment that is interconnected and able to assist other equipment and people. The vision is to have increased automation, improved communication, and monitoring, as well as smart machines that can autonomously analyze and diagnose issues, without the need for human intervention.

With all of its opportunity for global economic advances, the Industry 4.0 market is large and growing quickly. According to Fortune Business Insights, the global Industry 4.0 market is projected to reach USD 260.71 billion by 2026, a 16.3% CAGR during the forecast period of 2019 to 2026.

5G is at the heart of Industry 4.0

As a trend itself, 5G will play a significant role in the future of Industry 4.0 to enable new operating models. With network attributes that are essential for manufacturing, 5G provides high-efficiency processing that introduces the opportunity to build smart factories that can take advantage of these technology innovations that are changing the industry.

5G is shifting us to a society where every person, thing, and use case is empowered by seamless connectivity and massive computing capabilities. Providing ability to connect devices and intelligently analyze data, these 5G technologies are key to Industry 4.0:

Distributed cloud

A distributed cloud is a type of cloud that has geographically dispersed infrastructure that primarily runs services at the network edge. A distributed cloud environment is strategically placed where application components are at appropriate geographic locations to best meet the demands placed on the application.


Successfully taking advantage of edge data processing requires powerful AI-based analytics that can readily handle the data volume and processing requirements. With AI and machine learning (ML) innovations, advanced analytics systems at the edge can compute application data and reveal, in milliseconds, insights about the connected things, devices, the surrounding environment, and more.

Private 5G to address latency, data privacy, and reliability requirements

Private 5G delivers standalone and integrated private networks, which provides highly reliable, ultra-fast, and secure communications that fulfill business- and mission-critical needs. Private 5G solutions provide the flexibility for customization to meet a range of scenarios, including indoor and outdoor, data and voice, standalone or integrated with public networks.

Private 5G solutions are enhanced with edge computing and network slicing, and they are adapted according to specific needs. How industrial manufacturing will select their desired commercial models is largely based on the balance they want to achieve between network costs, control, and complexity of deployment.

Open sourcing the way to 5G

Wind River is helping to make 5G a reality. Our software has been trusted for decades by the leading telecom equipment manufacturers and, subsequently, Wind River powers the majority of 4G and 5G RAN deployments today.

This innovation and investment in 5G can also be found in our open source contributions to the StarlingX project. Why open source? Open source is a team effort where the best and brightest minds in the world can contribute via open source activities and everyone can benefit from community innovation.

For service providers to be successful with 5G, they must work with an ecosystem of providers and partners, which is services provides are investing in open source projects and participating in consortium groups.

StarlingX is an open source project that is rapidly gaining momentum at the edge. It provides a complete cloud infrastructure software stack for the edge—a deployment-ready, scalable, and highly reliable edge infrastructure software platform to build mission critical edge clouds. StarlingX brings ultra-low latency and control to the edge for use by the most demanding applications like those in industrial IoT, manufacturing, and other low-latency use cases.

Getting involved in open source projects that benefit you in the short run and grow with you over the long haul will ensure the greatest likelihood of success. If you’re interested in learning more about StarlingX, you can get information about joining the community here.

Wind River offering based on StarlingX open source

Wind River's operator technology is based on the StarlingX project and represents a compilation of best-in-class open source technologies that deliver the features needed to effectively deploy and manage distributed networks. This provides a production-grade, distributed Kubernetes platform for managing edge cloud infrastructure.

Our cloud-based, 6 9s capability, along with analytics to better optimize the network to global carriers like Verizon, delivers the future today. Wind River can help carriers looking to thrive with their networks in this new Intelligent Edge. Knowing what data and insights have value for operational efficiencies in the intelligent edge, as well as being able to do this at a 6 9s level, is part of the new norm for telecommunications leaders looking to deliver 5G at a level that drives new value models and acts as the right backbone for a 5G, intelligent edge future.

Wind River makes 5G possible and is helping to welcome in the advances of the Industry 4.0 revolution.

What positive impacts are you seeing from our current industrial revolution? If you’re interested in learning more about 5G and Industry 4.0 watch the webcast.

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