We had the pleasure of catching up with Eman Martin-Vignerte ahead of our upcoming Connected Britain event which is being held in London this September
Can you introduce yourself and your current role?
I was born in Qatar and studied Electrical Engineering at Paderborn University followed by Medical Equipment Engineering at the University of Ulm. I joined Bosch as a Software/Hardware Engineer to work for R&D automotive. Later, I took on responsibility for business development for Healthcare Telemedicine in the UK. In 2013, I became responsible for Political Affairs and Government Relations.
How is 5G and wireless networks revolutionising UK manufacturing?
5G stands for the development of a mobile communications standard that focuses not only on the digital connectivity of people, but also on communications between sensors, devices, and machines in the Internet of Things. With peak data transfer rates of 20 Gbps, 5G is up to 20 times faster than 4G, can transmit data with an extremely low latency of one millisecond (basically without delay), and is nearly as reliable as wired data transfers with a high reliability of up to 99.9999 percent.
For the first time ever, it is possible to have “critical communications” over 5G networks in real time. This means that applications that need to operate absolutely reliably and securely can be implemented wirelessly with 5G. This applies equally to a remote-controlled crane or a manufacturing plant. 5G opens up new fields of application in industry where the performance of other wireless technologies such as Wi-Fi fell short in the past.
Worcester Bosch has become the first-ever factory in Britain to have 5G wireless access, making them leaders in 5G technology. We will use the improved network technology of 5G to run sensors in the Worcester Bosch factory. It will be the first factory to use 5G to boost factory output – a big advancement in the future of Industry 4.0. The trial is being carried out by the Worcestershire 5G Consortium and is led by the county council and the Local Enterprise Partnership. However, this will not only affect the local area but industries across the country.
The test utilises the Internet of Things: or example the factory has sensors for preventative maintenance and real-time feedback whilst also using data analytics to predict any potential failures.
What advancements do you expect to see for industrial connectivity over the next 12-18 months?
If we focus on manufacturing and production, 5G connectivity will improve, secure, and allow flexible production. In our vision of the factory of the future only the floor, ceiling, and walls cannot be moved. All other components are flexible, portable, and can be easily reconfigured. An essential requirement for this is a high-performance, wireless infrastructure that enables efficient communications between people, machinery, and facilities. 5G will enable completely new manufacturing concepts to be implemented. The fifth generation of mobile communications has the potential to streamline and improve the work of associates in production and logistics.
One example of 5G for production is the use of mobile operating panels allowing associates to connect flexibly to various systems and facilities. They support even safety-critical applications such as kill switches. As of today, these devices are usually attached to every machine in a stationary manner. With 5G, the number of these devices can be reduced, which would in turn cut costs. At the same time, the working conditions for associates would be improved by enabling them to quickly and conveniently access the machines. Augmented reality also brings enormous advantages with the new mobile communications standard: For example, associates can use data glasses connected via 5G to display real-time status information, enabling them to monitor and service machinery in an optimal manner. In addition, driverless transport systems can be easily connected and integrated into production using 5G.
What steps should be taken to ensure the UK remains an international leader in industrial connectivity?
The UK has a proud history of digital innovation from the earliest days of computing to the development of the World Wide Web. And from Ada Lovelace – widely recognised as the first computer programmer – to the pioneers of today’s revolution in artificial intelligence, the UK has always been at the forefront of invention. But to remain leading the way and for businesses to thrive and grow, government needs to create the conditions and set the framework for investment in widespread and up-to-date infrastructure. Digital infrastructure is a critical component of this: digital connectivity is now a utility, and modern life is increasingly impossible without it. Connectivity drives productivity and innovation, and is the physical underpinning of a digital nation.
What are you most looking forward to about Connected Britain?
I am looking forward to learn and explore how next generation broadband technologies are enabling an economic revolution in the UK.
Where next for industrial 5G in the UK? Join Eman and our other experts at Connected Britain this September – you can also read the thoughts of Ste Ashton, who is speaking on the same panel, here.