Qualcomm Ventures announced an $8 million investment in Augury, a company that is helping manufacturers use sensors and machine learning to real-time, smart monitoring systems.

Saar Yoskovitz, co-founder and CEO of Augury, said 5G’s promise of lower power, increased bandwidth and low latency capabilities will speed up digital transformation in the industrial market.

SEE: 5G: What it means for IoT (ZDNet/TechRepublic special feature) | Download the free PDF version (TechRepublic)

“If a low-power sensor has a direct connection to the cellular network at a low-cost, the facility does not need to install a Wi-Fi or Bluetooth gateway – which can lead to a more robust, and overall cheaper solution,” he said. “Once customers get quicker time-to-value, it will create a positive feedback loop that will quickly engulf the whole industry.”

Yoskovitz said 5G has the potential to allow industrial companies to rethink their network architecture and increase the return in time-to-value of IoT investments.

Qualcomm network technology forms the foundational layer of 5G networks. In October, the company’s venture capital investment group launched a $200 million 5G fund. The fund will invest in startups developing new 5G use cases beyond the smartphone, driving 5G network transformation, and expanding 5G into enterprise markets.

Augury works with engineering, maintenance, and reliability professionals to move monitoring systems from time-based maintenance to condition-based maintenance.

“Augury is a full-stack solution provider that designs and manufactures its own sensors, develops the diagnostic algorithms and provides the additional support to improve a facility’s reliability and performance,” Yoskovitz said.

SEE: Special report: How 5G will transform business (free PDF)

Yoskovitz said 5G has the potential to replace Wi-Fi in industrial facilities because it can natively support private networks. This transformation would require network infrastructure providers, telecom network operators, and service providers to work in unison and provide a complete solution.

To monitor the health of industrial machines, Augury’s sensors track vibration, temperature, and magnetic data of assets such as cooling towers, air handling units, chilled and hot water pumps, refrigeration equipment, and fans. The sensors connect to the cloud and Augury’s machine learning algorithms that use a proprietary database based on data from 80,000 machines and 20 million machine hours of monitoring. The sensors track change in behavior – such as vibration – and provide actionable recommendations as needed.

One of Augury’s clients is a hospital in Baltimore. Within the first 12 months after deployment, Aubury’s sensor network spotted three pump malfunctions at the hospital’s on-site power plant.

This early warning allowed the maintenance team to fix the problems before the hospital’s chilled water and steam system shut down. The maintenance team also expanded the number of machines being monitored from 44 to 155.

At another hospital, Augury’s monitoring system prevented a failure of pumps that provide 90% of the facility’s hot water.