HomeInternet of Things (IoT)Is there anything else like this? “Not quite.” Nokia on its Future X framework

Is there anything else like this? “Not quite.” Nokia on its Future X framework

Nokia has unveiled a new architectural framework and enterprise IoT division under the ‘Future X for Industries’ banner to help accelerate the digital transformation of industrial sectors like manufacturing, logistics, transportation and energy, as well as for governments and cities.

The Finnish company is looking to step outside its traditional line of business, and sell and consult on digital transformation within the industrial space, bringing its old telecoms within the operator community with it.

Enterprise IoT Insights caught up with the company’s director of enterprise marketing, Houman Modarres, to discuss the significance of the move, and the contents of the proposition (see Q&A below).

How should the market consider the strategic importance of the industrial IoT (IIoT) sector to veteran telecoms form. “Over the past few years, Nokia has built a solid base for our enterprise business which now represents about five per cent of Nokia’s annual revenues,” he said.

There is nothing to share, he said, on the ratios of business going direct to telecoms providers and direct to new enterprise customers. But Nokia is showing up at the coalface with industrial outfits, often in tandem with operators, more often

It has just announced a deal with China Unicom and to deploy a private LTE network for smart manufacturing at a BMW plant in the city of Shenyang, in China. Last month, it confirmed a parallel agreement with Brazilian electricity distributor Elektro to deploy a private LTE network for grid, meters, and electric vehicles in the state of Sao Paulo.

With the internal reorganisation, the idea is to consolidate a range of growing efforts and activities into a single, “hyper-focused” organisation, said Modarres.

The new Future X for Industries architecture, developed by its Bell Labs business unit, incorporates four technology layers: applications, platforms, distributed cloud computing, and networking.

These layers variously cover technologies including edge computing, augmented intelligence, augmented and virtual reality, and advanced LTE and 5G, protected with advanced security solutions. Security analytics is also bundled into the design and offer.

We see IIoT as both an enabling element of this architecture and as part of the high-performance networking layer, but we also see IIoT strategies benefitting from the other layers of this architecture.

Is there anything else like this in the market?

“Not quite. There’s been a lot of conversation about IoT and automation and themes like Industry 4.0. Industry is facing significant change, across multiple dimensions. We believe industry leaders would benefit from a comprehensive framework that facilitates conversation about how they best optimise their operations using digital technology.

“We have introduced this strategy and architecture to guide next steps in the digital transformation journey of industries that want to drive extreme automation to deliver increased efficiency, richer customer experiences and boost business performance. Within the framework, we outline key roles of digital platforms, multi-cloud architectures, transversal security & high-performance networking – all in the spirit of driving productivity & better outcomes for enterprises.”

How important is the IIoT space to Nokia?

“The space is important to us because it is important to our customers. IIoT is fundamental to enabling asset-intensive industries, in segments such as transportation, energy, manufacturing and logistics, to bring the benefits of digital technology to their operations. High-performance networking is absolutely essential to providing the levels of connectivity needed for players in these industries to manage and control all of their devices, machines and processes in real-time.”

How will customers make use of this “framework”?

“‘Framework’ is a good way to describe this. It serves as an enabler of meaningful conversations, in the context of their respective industry segments and operating environments. The open framework highlights the key considerations from a business applications and outcomes perspective as well as from the technology enablement and operations perspective. The architecture provides a way for enterprises to think about and plan the next steps of digital transformation.”

How will industrial enterprises use it?

“The entire architecture is intended to address key elements of the digital transformation for a variety of industries. As well as the overarching approach, we have developed variants of the architecture for the key markets on which we are focused, such as transportation, energy, manufacturing and logistics.”

How will telcos use it?

“It is geared toward the business objectives and transformation goals of industry-leading companies and enterprises. It looks at the roles in a way that is consistent with the ways that they would find resonant with their priorities. For them, networks are not the end product, but rather a key requirement.

“For communications service providers, indeed we have previously shared a Future X architecture. That goes back a couple of years. For them, that framework remains resonant and compelling as well, focused on the realities and goals of the world’s leading service providers.”

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