Standards-based XR Architectures for Industrial Use Cases

With the advent of Industry 4.0, it became clear that the design of architectures achieving digitalization to all major parts of the industrial process had to move beyond standard enterprise design approaches, which focused solely on IT components or treated them as standalone solutions to be embedded into an industrial setting. Architecture paradigms, such as RAMI (Figure 1), define a three-dimensional structure in which the first axis defines the hierarchy, the second is the product life cycle, and the third is the architecture layer. This organization achieves two main goals: a) the solution involves all aspects of the production cycle, from machine to digital components, and b) it can be understood by all involved stakeholders as it can break down complex concepts.


As we are moving towards the 5.0 era, it is evident that new architecture paradigms and standards need to be leveraged to achieve the goal of putting worker well-being at the center, promoting sustainability, and reinforcing the contribution of the industry to society. The socio-economic component needs to be emphasized via appropriate extensions, such as the redefinition of layers, modifications of the product life cycle aspects to specifically target sustainability, etc. Even more drastically, new viewpoints may be added to the traditional architectural design paradigms that are specific to social and worker well-being aspects.


While a full Industry 5.0 reference architecture may be a huge endeavour that requires the collaboration of many standardization bodies, in XR5.0, we make an effort to contribute towards this direction by focusing on a subset of Industry 5.0 enablers, having to do with extended and augmented reality, as well as with AI. XR5.0 focuses on providing the means that enable workers to assess the situation remotely using minimal effort and commuting, receive help via digital helpers and real-time consultation, reproduce scenarios, train via digital twins, etc.

As such, the architecture that will support these aspects will be a flexible schema for incorporating existing and future extended reality solutions while also preserving the main characteristics that materialize a successful Industry 4.0 or Industry 5.0 solution.

As the field of reference architectures for Industry 5.0 is relatively new, there exist few propositions. One of the most prominent ones is the STAR Architecture (Figure 2), which was designed with a focus on AI-based Industry 5.0 systems. STAR defines three vertical domains, namely Cyber Security, Human-Robot Collaboration, and Safety. These are all served by the Explainable AI and Open Analytics functionalities. All these are very relevant to XR5.0; however, a new horizontal functionality, that of “Extended and Augmented Reality,” is added. This functionality is used to account for all the technological enablers that are going to be implemented in XR5.0 having to do with XR and AR. The functionality will be implemented by components using the ever-developing OpenXR standard that allows the integration of XR hardware with a multitude of devices, browsers, and engines. This flexibility can allow for easy integration of new XR solutions, which, in turn, can allow for easy addition of new domains, should the need arise.

For the design process itself and to ensure that the complex use cases that XR5.0 aspires to fulfill are materialized, standard practices of iterative architecture design will be used, namely the TOGAF ADM cycle. Each cycle will aim to cover a greater percentage of the evolving user requirements. The Archimate modelling language will be used to code the architecture and to present the necessary viewpoints. Specifically, designated viewpoints will highlight the alignment of the architecture with RAMI and STAR as well as the new extensions our methodology proposes for incorporating extended reality into existing standards and reference architectures.


Last but not least, our architecture will present all the necessary business and application interfaces for connecting to third-party solutions. These interfaces will also serve as a staging point to integrate XR5.0 into the EU XR Platform, which is one of the main goals of our project.



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