Australia’s Industry 4.0 future is being threatened by the performance of the national broadband network, according to Labor Senator Kim Carr.

In a regular column published by Industry Update, Carr said that Industry 4.0 - which encompassses technologies from automation to the internet of things - relied on good communications infrastructure.

However, he said that “unreliable” access to high speed infrastructure in Australia meant that the country’s “Industry 4.0 future is receding”.

“The internet of things – the connections between computers embedded in machines – is what makes smart factories possible, and the internet of things requires access to big data, the extremely large data sets that can be analysed by computers to reveal patterns and associations,” he said.

“That kind of analysis depends on fast internet speeds if the computers interacting with each other in the smart factory are to combine efficiently with humans to do all the things smart factories are set up to do.”

Carr said Labor is hoping to get Industry 4.0 back on track should it win the next federal election, by creating a service guarantee for the NBN.

This, Labor believes, would set minimum performance standards for the network, ensuring it can meet future internet-enabled ambitions in different industries.

NBN Co already offers a form of internet of things connectivity, offering its network to non-residential uses such as connecting traffic light infrastructure.