For this edition of the Smart Buildings Technology Podcast, we repackage a far-reaching interview with Kam Patel, director of hyperscale and service provider data center solutions for global communications network infrastructure specialist CommScope. The interview was recently conducted by SBT's sibling publication in Endeavor Business Media, Cabling Installation & Maintenance, for an episode of its Cabling Podcast.
Patel has been with CommScope for more than 20 years in a variety of business development, engineering, marketing, operations, product management and strategy roles, and is the author of numerous articles, white papers, and presentations on the design of telecommunications and data networks. He holds more than 20 patents for network equipment.
The podcast begins by senior editor Matt Vincent referencing Patel and CommScope's technology-inclusive vision for Industry 4.0 as laid out in a recent industry blog, where Patel writes:
"Whereas the three preceding industry disruptions focused on making the production process faster and more efficient, the fourth Industrial Revolution is about connecting people, information and processes. As such, it has the potential to radically alter not just the business of manufacturing, but how enterprises of all kinds operate....
Whereas the third Industrial Revolution was defined by widespread digitalization (the rise of computers, process logic controllers, etc.), the fourth Industrial Revolution is all about fusing digital, physical and virtual resources to create intelligent processes that think, do and respond faster and more accurately than humans alone can.
The fourth Industrial Revolution is a way of describing the blurring of boundaries between the physical, digital, and biological worlds. It’s a fusion of advances in artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, IoT, 3D printing, genetic engineering, quantum computing, and other technologies."
In the course of the interview, Patel is asked to address how this thesis expands the outlook for ICT technicians on the ground integrating Industry 4.0 and A.I. systems technologies in plant manufacturing networks, and also within commercial enterprises and smart buildings.
In response, Patel emphasizes how, "With Industry 4.0, if we combine all the things that we're talking about such as artificial intelligence, the internet of things, quantum computing, etc. -- it allows machines to be able to talk to machines." He continued, "Machines talking and A.I., all such things are highly latency dependent. Communications between machines and robotics are highly latency driven."
Later, Patel discusses what cloud computing does to "enable industry 4.0 in a more meaningful way," and addresses the apportioning of wired technologies such as Single Pair Ethernet (SPE) vs. wireless technologies such as 5G in Industry 4.0 deployments.
"5G has come around, and that's certainly a low latency application," notes Patel, while adding, "One 5G application is for cell phones [and] it's not the best application. What 5G was really designed for was capacity and latency."