Nokia helps Volkswagen embrace Industry 4.0 digital transformation

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Nokia is deploying a private 5G network for Volkswagen at the carmaker’s main plant in Wolfsburg, Germany to help the company embrace Industry 4.0 digital transformation.

Chris Johnson, Head of Global Enterprise Business at Nokia, said: “Nokia is a worldwide leader in private wireless technology for Industry 4.0 digital transformation proven by over 380 large enterprise customer deployments, of which more than 75 incorporate 5G.”

Compared to nimble startups, large enterprises can be slow to adopt new technologies and embrace change. Even the most established companies today can end up resigned to the history books with surprising pace.

Volkswagen, like all automotive firms, is currently in the process of adapting to significant industry change. The company’s traditional business of combustion engine vehicles will be replaced by electric cars by 2035, many of which could be fully autonomous.

Such large-scale industry change leaves an opening for innovative new companies to disrupt the status quo. Even established players that have traditionally operated in other industries could take advantage to muscle their way in, like we’re expecting from Apple into the car space.

Volkswagen and other automakers have the advantage of already operating a large network of manufacturing facilities. By harnessing a private 5G network and other Industry 4.0 technologies as part of its digital transformation, Volkswagen hopes to not only maintain its edge but increase it.

“By deploying private wireless to explore and develop its potential in manufacturing, Volkswagen underscores its leading position in leveraging digitalisation to enhance efficiency and productivity,” added Johnson.

“We are delighted to support this effort with the Nokia Digital Automation Cloud and our extensive experience in private wireless networks.”

The industrial-grade private 5G network covers the production development centre and pilot hall at the Wolfsburg plant. The network operates in the 3.7-3.8GHz band that Volkswagen was allocated by the Federal Network Agency.

Klaus-Dieter Tuchs, Network Planning at Volkswagen, commented: “Predictable wireless performance and the real-time capabilities of 5G have great potential for smart factories in the not-so-distant future.

“With this pilot deployment, we are exploring the possibilities 5G has to offer and are building our expertise in operating and using 5G technology in an industrial context.”

Initial use cases include wireless upload of data to manufactured vehicles and intelligent networking of robots and wireless assembly tools. All data is processed in real-time at the edge to give Volkswagen full control.

(Photo by Bruce Warrington on Unsplash)

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