LIVE FROM MWL UNWRAPPED: Jacob Groote, EVP innovation and partnerships at Dutch operator KPN (pictured), pointed to the need for specific conversations with enterprise players over their requirements to push smart manufacturing forward.

In his keynote, Groote cited one of the biggest barriers to smart manufacturing as internal, with different questions needing to be asked from those traditionally raised by operator sales staff around SIM card numbers and data requirements.

“We’re talking completely different language.”

“It’s about how reliable does the network have to be, what type of functionality do we have to really add? What applications are important? What’s the high-priority application traffic that has to go through?”

Groote added the conversation should be about the actual production process and how an operator, systems integrator and cloud service provider can “fill in the gaps”.

“Having that right conversation, I think, is one of the biggest hurdles,” the executive said.

As part of its push as an enabler in the smart manufacturing space, KPN has conducted various trials in field labs to engage with industry on their unique requirements.

Among the areas of feedback received from enterprises was a need for reliable connectivity, security and a “consistent latency in order to operate their machines”, Groote noted.

The use of 5G provides these qualities, but also flexibility for special requirements like very short production runs in specific locations, the executive added.

Alongside connecting machines themselves, Groote highlighted benefits KPN had found deploying Microsoft HoloLens mixed reality headsets on 5G in industrial settings.

These devices, he added, could be used to provide guidance on the factory floor from senior members of staff to more junior team members.

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