Introduction to Cloud Computing in Industry 4.0

As I mentioned in the original Industry 4.0 blog, there are nine key enablers that support Industry 4.0 or Smart Manufacturing.  As a reminder, the nine key enablers are listed below.  While 5G networks will allow you to collect data at an alarming rate, how do you store and manage that information?  Cloud computing and Edge computing will be the key.


So what is cloud computing?  It’s easier to understand what cloud computing is not.  That is, storing information on your hard drive.  Cloud computing involves accessing programs and information via the internet.

Some examples that you might be familiar with are Microsoft Onedrive that supports Microsoft 365.  Google Drive, Apple iCloud, and to some extent DropBox are all examples of cloud computing services that you might be familiar with.

If you have seen those commercials during NFL games that show Tom Brady throwing a pass into the corner of the endzone, with something like .0002% probability of completion.

Those are brought to you by AWS or Amazon’s cloud computing service.  Microsoft has one called Azure.  Google, IBM, and Oracle all have cloud computing solutions.


Now that Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) devices, connected machines, sensors, and cameras will all be generating data, it might be too much to be directly connected to the cloud.  For most applications Edge computing- think an intermediary- will be used before sending final data to the cloud.

What is Edge computing?

It brings computing closer to the source of the data.  This will reduce the communication with faraway data centers, increase security and reduce latency.

Still not sure what Edge computing is?  Think of the item permanently attached to most people’s hands.  Not your thumb, but your phone.  Your cell phone is a $1000 edge computing device.

It captures information and uploads it to the cloud.  Imagine if you had to wait for facial recognition to recognize your face, send that information to a cloud server, wait for it to process the information and then send it back to the phone.

I’m sure we can imagine the bandwidth required if sensors on all of your pieces of equipment were sending data directly to the cloud.  Your bill would be larger than Netflix’s.  Using computers on the Edge to do analysis and remove some of the noise from the data will be key to keeping your cost of data down.

Another benefit of Edge computing will be reduced latency.  In case you missed the 5G blog where I talked about latency, latency is information lag time.  Using 5G internet speeds, latency should be in the 1-millisecond range.  Sending that information directly to the cloud will not support that type of speed.  Edge computing can provide that speed.  It can support critical operations such as moving vehicles, parts, managing robots, etc.

Finally, Edge computing will help you resist cyberattacks.  Imagine trying to keep constant communication with cloud servers secure from outside interference.  Not an easy task.

Here are five benefits of deploying Cloud and Edge Computing within your organization.


As always, it is an honor to serve you and I hope that you and your company are getting better every day!

Follow me on Twitter

Join me on LinkedIn

Listen to the podcast here

Scroll to Top