Wireless IoT is the Future of Industrial Automation
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Wireless IoT is the Future of Industrial Automation

By Manufacturing Technology Insights | Monday, February 25, 2019

Wireless IoT devices have erupted in the past few years. In the coming years, the base of wireless IoT devices is expected to reach $21.3 million.  The annual shipment of wireless devices for industrial automation applications reached 4.6 million units in 2018, according to a research report by analyst firm Berg Insight. The yearly shipments will reach 9.9 million units by 2023 as per compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 16.3 percent.

Few companies are still predominantly using wired networking solutions for industrial communications. However, there is a seismic shift in companies using wireless solutions in many applications. Wireless solutions are ideal for the parts that are hard to reach or are uneconomical to connect through wired installations.

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Wireless solutions are used in various industrial verticals like they are used to control cranes and automated guided vehicles (AGVs) in factory automation. In factory automation, they are prevalent in connecting instruments, allowing plant operators to monitor and maximize processes in dangerous areas while providing worker safety. As wireless technology is trending, leading system vendors of wired industrial network equipment are also offering wireless solutions.

Leading companies, as well as mid and small-sized companies, are getting into the wireless technology game as vendors. Experts believe robust connectivity is a must to support industrial IoT use cases based on predictive maintenance. The installation and maintenance of wireless solutions economically facilitates an organization and provides more flexibility compared to wired technologies, enabling reconfigurable manufacturing system design. 

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Wi-Fi has emerged as the most widely used wireless technology even though reliability and security remains a significant challenge because of the wide availability of compatible hardware. Deploying 4G LTE is also a growing trend among large industrial companies instead of using Wi-Fi and wired solutions. 5G will widen the market for wireless communications because it addresses the issues related to bandwidth, latency, and capacity which cannot be fulfilled by the technologies present in the market today.

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