6GSMART-ICC: The role of mobile operators in industry 4.0


The manufacturing sector is undergoing a fundamental transformation known as Industry 4.0. Industry 4.0 describes the “fourth industrial revolution,” which aims to transform today’s factories into intelligently connected production information systems that operate well beyond the physical boundaries of the factory premises. The main goals of Industry 4.0 are to enhance worker support, flexibility, adaptability, resource efficiency, cost efficiency, worker support, and the standard of industrial production and logistics.

One of the enablers that will allow this transformation is 5G/6G communication. 5G/6G technologies represent a set of capabilities that allow the provisioning of mobile network services for wireless connectivity. These capabilities include Network Slicing, 5G Local Area Networks, Positioning, Clock synchronization and services like Quality on Demand, Messaging, etc. Telecommunications operators can contribute to deploying 5G/6G in factories by integrating their public networks with the factory’s private networks, offering advanced services to end applications in NaaS (Network-as-a-Service). NaaS represents a paradigm shift whereby network operators can make telco capabilities from public networks available for external consumption, including monitoring and configuration-related capabilities, through Application Programming Interface (APIs). The development of NaaS requires a collaborative workspace that brings together incumbent telco standard bodies with IT/cloud communities, industry associations and open-source projects. To that end, GSMA launched Open Gateway, whose mission is i) to provide a governance framework for NaaS, covering technical and business aspects and ii) to get operator commitment to launch universal NaaS API services. GSMA Open Gateway uses the CAMARA project of the Linux Foundation to expose the capabilities to be consumed by third parties.

In the context of 6GSMART-ICC, public-private network integration relies on the GSMA Open Gateway initiative as follows:

  • MNOs represent the public network segment. They offer i) advanced 5G connectivity services, such as slicing, and ii) programmatic access to telco capabilities.
  • OT enterprises represent the private network segment. They assume the role of application developer and application service provider, owning the industrial application, to i) get it deployed when and where needed and ii) configure it to consume telco network capabilities.

In the 6GSMART-ICC project, a complete NaaS system has been developed following the Open Gateway model. For this purpose, an Exposure Gateway has been implemented, including the required modules: API Gateway, API Registry, API Catalog and OAuth 2.0 Authorization Server.


Deutsche Telekom’s Quality on Demand Transformation Function provided in the CAMARA project has been used to validate the Exposure Gateway. Open5gs has been used as the 5G Core. This core does not have a NEF/SCEF that implements the ASSessionWithQoS function, so like the Exposure Gateway, it has also been developed based on Spring Boot.

Finally, a small application has been developed to invoke the QoD API and thus measure the results obtained in the end user’s flows. The following figure shows the relationship between the different modules when serving an invocation.

Author: Jose Manuel Palacios – Telecommunications Senior Expert, Minsait, an Indra company