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Connectivity for the Factory Floor: Opportunities and Challenges for Wireless Technologies

Wireless connectivity is a fundamental enabler of the Internet of Things (IoT) and is rapidly enabling new growth opportunities across the smart home, wearable, building automation, automotive, retail, asset tracking, and other emerging IoT markets. For industrial and manufacturing environments, while wireless technologies have made some inroads in recent years, the opportunity for wireless technologies has remained relatively small and continues to face several challenges. However, it is becoming increasingly clear that wireless connectivity solutions have a critical role to play in enabling the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) across a wide range of use cases ranging from Real-Time Location Systems (RTLS) and asset tracking to industrial wearables, condition-based monitoring, Augmented Reality (AR), and robotics applications.

This report seeks to understand the opportunity for wireless connectivity solutions on the factory floor, provide strategic recommendations on how best to approach and deploy industrial wireless, highlight the major use cases and applications for each wireless technology, and demonstrate how wireless technologies are an essential component that will ultimately allow the smart factory of the future to come to fruition. It will also highlight some of the major obstacles that wireless is facing in industrial environments and how these can be addressed.

 

Table of Contents

  • 1. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
  • 2. WIRELESS MARKET DRIVERS
  • 3. WIRELESS USE CASES
    • 3.1. Condition-Based Monitoring
    • 3.2. RTLS and Asset Tracking
    • 3.3. Inventory Management
    • 3.4. Augmented Reality and Smart Glasses
    • 3.5. Wearables
    • 3.6. Wireless Networking and Backbone Infrastructure
    • 3.7. HMI, Cable Replacement and Bridging
    • 3.8. Building Automation
    • 3.9. Robotics
  • 4. CHALLENGES AND RECOMMENDATIONS FOR INDUSTRIAL WIRELESS
  • 5. DIGITAL FACTORY MARKET FORECASTS
  • 6. KEY TAKEAWAYS AND RECOMMENDATIONS