INTUG Speaks About “Industry 4.0” at ECTA 2015

What are the main business user priorities for “Industry 4.0” - the Digital Industrial Revolution? Nick White, INTUG’s Executive Vice President, spoke on the topic at this year’s ECTA Regulatory Conference in Brussels.

Nick explained that the competitiveness of the EU’s economy depends on creating and sustaining an open and competitive environment that supports innovative, online, international business processes.  There are opportunities for dramatic efficiency improvement in the public and private sectors across all industries; but the EU must regulate in order to optimize the whole economy, not just the ICT sector itself.

End-to-end business processes involve multiple players and multiple sequences in a heterogeneous environment of B2B and B2C connections; at each point, the players make their own choices about service provider, information source, network operator and device.  Increasingly, the underlying technology should become less relevant and seamless, end-to-end service should become the target.

The six design principles for Industry 4.0 each draw attention to important business issues.

  • Interoperability reflects the need to connect systems, humans and things
  • Virtualization transforms network functionality and mirrors physical processes in a location agnostic manner
  • Decentralization devolves decision making to inanimate objects unaware of national borders
  • Real-time function demands low latency, transitory data and the need for resilience
  • Service orientation emphasizes a technology neutral philosophy
  • Modularity highlights the need for each participant to retain flexibility to switch technologies and supplier choices

“All of these principles must be applied in the advancing context of the Internet of Things (IoT) and Machine to Machine (M2M) applications,” said Nick.  For business users, there is still a need for the general principles of the Regulatory Framework with ex-ante sector regulation; we need protection for competition in wholesale and retail components, and greater sharing of networks by mobile operators for new generation services.

Nick concluded by welcoming the new Relevant Market for special services for businesses, noting the need to make it possible to guarantee service quality for business-critical applications, in the context of new network neutrality regulations.  He added that, disappointingly, there is still no market definition for international services. Such international services are still lacking in the EU, as mobile services continue to be provided on a fragmented national basis.  Greater spectrum harmonization and more consistent license allocation economics are also needed.  #Netcompetition was launched at the ECTA conference, with INTUG as a founding member.

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