Wednesday, 13 October 2021 10:54

Nokia launches first off-the-shelf, mission-critical Industrial Edge to accelerate the enterprise journey to Industry 4.0

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Nokia announced it has launched what it calls the industry’s first cloud-native, mission-critical industrial edge solution to allow enterprises to accelerate their operational technology (OT) digitalisation initiatives and advance their journey to Industry 4.0.

The new  Nokia  MX Industrial Edge is a scalable application and compute solution designed to meet the mission-critical digital transformation needs of asset-intensive industries such as manufacturing, energy, and transportation, Nokia said. It combines compute, storage, wired/wireless networking, one-click industrial applications and automated management onto a unified, on-premise OT digital transformation platform.

Industry 4.0 requires widespread digitalisation and connectivity of equipment, machines and other assets in industrial environments. Due to the volume and velocity of data generated, and the need for real-time automation, increasingly data needs to be processed at the edge – close to where it is generated. By 2025, Gartner predicts that 75% of industrial data will be processed at the edge, the company stated.  

Nokia says that by adopting its MX Industrial Edge, enterprises will benefit from an on-premise cloud architecture that unifies edge requirements in an easy-to-use, deploy everywhere, as-a-service package. The company states that it removes the complexity, knowledge, and economic hurdles typically associated with deployment, integration and life cycle management of high-performance compute applications and mission-critical networking. 

The platform’s extreme scalability enables multi-facility enterprises, such as logistics companies, to deploy the same technology in all their locations, whether large or small, making the benefits of ‘develop-once, deploy-everywhere’ a reality. The Nokia MX Industrial Edge is powered by the Nokia Digital Automation Cloud (Nokia DAC), providing the enterprise a single pane of glass user experience to manage everything from applications to private wireless networking, Nokia continued. 

Nokia head of enterprise solutions Stephan Litjens said,  "Industry 4.0 is transforming asset-intensive industries by integrating and digitalising all processes and systems across the industrial value chain. This will result in an explosion of data – and taking the right actions based on that data in near real-time will be critical to the success of digital transformation initiatives. 

"Ensuring performance, along with aspects like keeping data local and secure while being resilient against internet connectivity failures, are not possible with a centralised cloud, making the on-prem edge the architecture of choice for this new breed of OT applications. 

"The Nokia MX Industrial Edge is built from the ground up to deliver the guaranteed performance, security and reliability that OT digitalisation use cases require," Litjens said. 

Analysys Mason research director Caroline Chappell https://www.linkedin.com/in/caroline-chappell-89898a11/ said: “Enterprises are increasingly focusing their digital transformation efforts on the application of software and cloud capabilities to operational technologies (OT) to reap the benefits of agility and cost-efficiency in asset-intensive industrial environments.

"Enterprises need on-premise edge clouds, like the Nokia MX Industrial Edge, to provide secure, resilient, and high-performance execution environments for mission-critical OT applications.

"Enterprises will be looking for an edge cloud solution partner that can tap into a broad ecosystem of cloud stack and industrial application vendors, understand their stringent operational needs, data sovereignty requirements, and which can bring a deep knowledge of the network to an increasingly complex, connected industrial landscape," Chappell concluded.  

Nokia said its edge solution is also available for enterprises in combination with Nokia Digital Automation Cloud applications, such as High Accuracy Indoor Positioning, Plug and Play private wireless, or with Nokia's alternative private wireless solution, Nokia Modular Private Wireless (MPW). Flexible consumption-based pricing models provide 'pay as you grow' subscription flexibility while minimising upfront investments.  

Nokia MX Industrial Edge comes in a variety of configurations to support small, medium, and large-scale industrial deployments. Based on the Nokia AirFrame Open Edge server, leveraging Intel’s latest innovations and CPU for high-capacity processing, the Nokia edge solution is designed for compute-intensive tasks and advanced AI/Machine Learning (ML) workloads optionally supported through graphic processing unit (GPU) support. In addition, high-performance network interface cards (NICs) and packet processing systems scale to support very large 5G standalone (SA) private wireless traffic flows. It offers extreme resilience and reliability through an end-to-end, high availability (HA) architecture, supports geographical redundancy (GR) for business continuity, and the guaranteed performance is assured via integrated orchestration features for service performance management. 

Intel vice president network platforms group and GM network business incubation division Caroline Chan said, “Nokia and Intel have a long-standing partnership to provide innovative solutions from the core to the edge of the intelligent network, which Nokia is expanding to accelerate Industry 4.0 adoption.

The combination of Intel’s innovations and CPUs alongside Nokia’s MX Industrial Edge Platform and 5G technology will offer enterprise customers the ability to connect, deploy and manage their environments. Across different verticals, enterprises will benefit from the scalable performance and high-speed, low-latency reliable communications,” Chan concluded. 

Nokia says enterprise customers can accelerate their OT digitalisation initiatives with the one-click deployment of industrial applications on the MX Industrial Edge. The catalog contains Nokia applications for a variety of common digitalisation use cases and is complemented by applications from independent software vendors (ISV) which undergo an onboarding process testing reliability, performance, and security.

In addition, Nokia's ecosystem-neutral approach also enables industrial customers to take advantage of edge cloud compatible applications present in hyper-scale clouds, as well as industrial partner clouds, the company stated. 

The MX Industrial Edge also simplifies southbound IIoT system integration complexity with its Industrial connectors providing industrial data protocols translation, and with the Nokia Integrated Operations Center that provides a single pane of glass view from all systems as well as helping create industrial automation workflows, the company concluded.

Litjens added: “All industrial and enterprise campuses, such as factories, logistics hubs, ports, etc. are multi-solution and multi-partner environments. By adopting an ecosystem-neutral approach and integration plug-ins, our customers get unparalleled flexibility and benefit from the widest array of applications and use cases to adopt innovations to advance their digital transformation.”  

This first appeared in the subscription newsletter CommsWire on 7 October 2021.


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Chris Coughlan

A versatile technology executive with extensive experience in most disciplines and technologies in the Information and Communications Technologies sector. Roles have encompassed general management, product management, business development, sales management, industry marketing, operations management, research and development, business case development, market research and forecasting, regulatory, strategy management, solution development, major project construction, process design and management, technology and management consulting, and engineering.

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