In the past, mobile communications and factory automation had little in common. In order to ensure that 5G becomes a success in the industrial domain, close collaboration is required between the ICT (information and communication technology) industry and OT (operational technology) industry.
The 5G Alliance for Connected Industries and Automation (5G-ACIA) has been established as the central and global forum for bringing all these different stakeholders together with one paramount objective: ensuring that 5G meets the needs of the manufacturing and process industries. This is done by addressing, discussing and evaluating relevant technical, regulatory and business-related aspects.
For Bosch, industrial 5G and therefore also 5G-ACIA, are important from two different perspectives: On the one hand, we're big end-users ourselves, with more than 280 plants and factories worldwide, so 5G will help us to be more competitive and support Industry 4.0 developments. On the other hand, we're also a major provider of components and solutions for industrial automation, especially through Bosch Rexroth.
These developments help us in our aim to become the leader in offering innovative and exciting new products and solutions based on 5G, which in turn helps our customers to gain a competitive edge. For all these reasons, we were one of the early initiators and drivers of 5G-ACIA.
The 5G-CCIA was initiated in Germany in April 2018, but it also had members from other countries, including China, Japan and the United States, from the very beginning. Today, there are additional members from other important regions, such as Taiwan, France, Italy and Korea, and the alliance is constantly growing.
In 2019, we had meetings in Korea, the US, Germany, China and France. Everybody with an interest in the topic is very welcome and is encouraged to join the 5G-ACIA. In these meetings, we're currently considering use cases and requirements in preparation for the next version of the 5G standard (also known as Release-17). We've also worked on various other topics, such as security, testing and certification, and how best to integrate 5G into existing industrial connectivity infrastructures. This includes both established Industrial Ethernet systems, as well as time-sensitive networking (TSN).
We've just started a new work item for preparing a test bed framework for 5G-ACIA, which will form the basis for future joint test bed activities.