Industry 4.0 is generating significant changes across the Manufacturing industry through uptake of digital advanced technologies such as Internet of Things (IoT), edge computing, cloud, artificial intelligence (AI) and big data to help manufacturers advance towards a higher degree of automation and apply digital functions to physical processes. Such a shift towards digital manufacturing and Industry 4.0 could significantly impact the efficiency and productivity of manufacturers and make them more resilient for a digital future. To make this shift happen, a reliable connectivity technology is a must have. Accordingly, 5G plays a key role to accelerate the digital journey in the Manufacturing industry, since its technical features are also born based on the direct requirements of this business. Indeed, industrial companies identify 5G as one of the biggest enablers for the digital transformation of their industry.
Part of this attraction can be explained by 5G’s ability to solve some of the latest organizations’ challenges. Industrial companies are willing to implement 5G primarily in order to achieve more secured operations and to obtain higher efficiency and cost savings. During a serious economic downturn these aspects become even more significant and this speed up the need to strengthen them. Results of a recent study show that Manufacturing will be one of the industries most affected by the 5G revolution, with $605 billion of estimated revenue unlocked in a time horizon between 6 and 18 months.
In the near future, we will witness several other changes that will take place within the industry. Enhanced Internet of Things accelerates the communication between all the connected devices in all the areas of a factory, from the shop floor to the warehouse and assembly line, enabling real time control to adjust the process in motion. While Massive IoT and Broadband IoT are already supported by 4G networks, 5G can enable even Critical IoT which is intended for real-time applications, allowing manufacturers to obtain maximum data rate with extremely low latency. Thus, 5G can support all types of IoT devices on the same network whilst respecting the different peculiarities of each type.
Artificial Intelligence will allow to exploit the massive amount of data collected from operations and use it for predictive maintenance and monitoring and augmented reality will provide key insights and visual training tools to technicians. Along with other 5G-enabled applications such as Robotization and AR/VR, these applications will unlock a huge amount of value and opportunity for the Manufacturing sector.
In order to go on with these digital technologies, the necessity to manage and sustain the enormous data volume will arise. 5G is a game changer for industrial companies not only to facilitate the effective connection thanks to its higher capacity but also to manage the enormous volume of data, accelerate the data analytics and obtain a significant industrial management simplification.