New connectivity standards such as 5G will shape the way in which smart factories work. As the manufacturing industry has specific 5G requirements that differ significantly from public mobile broadband services, smart factory applications must use different 5G application profiles. This article focuses on the most relevant 5G standards for these entities, although other highly patented standards such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, RFID, NFC, colour coding and QR codes are increasingly used in smart factory environments. The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) refers to a fully connected production environment that organises itself to facilitate product manufacturing. This involves communication between manufacturing facilities, logistics systems and networks of embedded production systems, whereby the product provides manufacturing information in a machine-readable form (eg, on an RFID chip). This is then used to control the path of the product along the production line.

5G standards play a central role in connectivity in smart factories, with three main application profiles:

  • ultra-reliable and low latency communications (uRLLC);
  • massive machine type communications (mMTC); and
  • enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB).

The 5G standard is subject to hundreds of thousands of potentially essential patents. The future of smart factory technologies will therefore rely on implementing patented connectivity standards. In this report the IPlytics’s global database of declared patents and standard contributions was used to search for all relevant patent declarations and monitor standards-developing companies. All 5G technical specifications relevant to the three smart factory standards protocols were identified by searching for relevant keywords in the standards’ title, abstract and specification description.

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