Internet of Things (IoT) has revolutionized industrial workflows, processes and enabled newer streams of data analytics. With a galaxy of interconnected devices, there are endless possibilities now for the users and a trigger to innovation. We have already seen plethora of data-based start-ups emerging recently.  

It’s expected that by 2030 there would be billions of IoT devices generating a huge value. Industrial IoT (IIoT) applies the digital interconnectivity through smart sensors and advanced data analytics across verticals and sectors. The businesses in manufacturing and production segments are embracing IIoT at a swift pace to stay ahead in the race. There has been a push by the government towards boosting domestic manufacturing capabilities. This is another area where IoT would play a pivotal role in the near future.

UWB: Unveiling new wireless vistas

While there are multiple extant wireless technologies, Ultra-wide band (UWB) alone provides the required precision, security, and real-time localization. UWB has existed since several decades, however, its use was restricted to military applications till late 1990s. Now, UWB technology is taking the wave of transformation ahead in IIoT. The ultra-wideband market size is expected to hit USD 2.7 billion by 2025 from USD 1.1 billion in 2020, as per a research report from Markets & Markets.

Fourth industrial revolution would totally reinvent manufacturing and ecosystems. It harnesses the power of automation and convergence of information technology (IT) with operational technology (OT). It includes cyber-physical systems, IoT, advanced big data analytics and cloud computing. To support this transformation, there is an increased requirement of high-precision location services that can support smart autonomous industrial entities. UWB is the perfect candidate to propel Industry 4.0 forward with its significant benefits over other wireless technologies.

With the help of UWB, we can transmit enormous volumes of data over a wide spectrum of frequency bands. It enables high-bandwidth transmission with reduced power consumption, protection against interference and centimetre-level accuracy performance. UWB offers low end-to-end latency and low package loss rate to support emerging industrial applications. It also provides higher degree of autonomy to ambient environmental conditions unlike other technologies.

How industries are leveraging UWB

Industrial environments require high level operational complexity and the accuracy of UWB positioning proves to be beneficial for Industrial IoT. With the eventual mainstreaming of Manufacturing 2.0 that integrates web applications, mobile technology and software-as-a-service (SaaS), a trustworthy solution such as the UWB is crucial to take this transformation ahead.

UWB has its utility across diverse applications like inventory management, smart grids, fleet management, safety in human-robot operations and asset tracking. UWB-based positioning systems provides deployment flexibility and competitive performance-cost ratio. UWB also provides necessary flexibility with the ability to operate in mixed indoor-outdoor environments. This enables superior localization accuracy with either global or relative positioning.

Autonomous mobile robots have been implemented across multiple industries – warehouse transportation, delivery solutions and more. UWB can improve the efficiency of these systems through long-term autonomy and persistent localization. UWB can also enhance onboard odometry approaches such as LIDAR for simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM) while reducing both the possibility and margin of error.

Remote environments like mining, are exceedingly complex and have constrained localization options. UWB can be a big help in personnel tracking in such situations. In a construction environment, it can help in better safety monitoring and fleet management thereby contributing to increased productivity.

In agriculture, the technology has the potential to emerge as an affordable option, replacing GPS for sensor or precisely locating agricultural robots and environment monitoring.

UWB systems can be of immense help in the industrial environments such as warehouses, production facilities and manufacturing workshops. It can be applied to ensure positioning, data transmission and safety assurance of human-robot collaboration within a warehouse setup. Drone-based inventory management is also possible with the help of UWB localization.

About Author

Sanjay Gupta is the Vice President and India Country Manager at NXP Semiconductors and leads the organization’s business in India while ensuring local compliance with both, government and corporate programs & policies. He is also spearheading three diverse R&D locations (Noida, Bangalore and Hyderabad) comprising nearly 2,000 employees and representing all NXP product groups.

Additionally, Sanjay is the Automotive Business Unit lead for NXP India and Chairs the Innovation board across global organizational units. He is also a member of IESA Executive Council which is highest Apex body for Indian Electronics & Semiconductors Association.

Sanjay started his professional journey with Motorola in 1996 and has worked on several assignments in the Wireless business, Digital Networking, Industrial MCU and automotive organizations. He holds multiple U.S. patents and numerous technical publications in the areas of semiconductors and embedded product development.

Sanjay has earned an engineering degree in electronics and communication from Delhi College of Engineering, and his MBA from the Indian School of Business, Hyderabad.

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