5G Will Bring Enterprises Closer to Industry 4.0

Today’s business leaders continually look for ways to stay competitive and resilient despite the ever-changing corporate landscape. Many believe the 5G network could help them move closer to their Industry 4.0 goals. Here are some specific ways it could do so.

Also see: 7 Enterprise Networking Challenges 

The 5G Network Optimizes Existing Processes

Today’s business leaders frequently prioritize productivity. They know that helping employees optimize their time on the clock typically causes noticeable gains for the company. The 5G network alone is not necessarily enough to achieve the desired productivity results, but it can help.

Consider the case of an industry partnership that relies on 5G to send just-manufactured vehicles to a factory parking area after they leave the assembly line. This approach lets manufacturing managers see the precise locations of individual vehicles, saving them time and money when searching for them. Factory leaders also reported a 20% improvement in the optimization of parking spaces, letting them make the most of their available real estate.

Other benefits of the switch to 5G include on-site safety improvements and fewer vehicle-parking incidents. People involved with the project envision other potential use cases, too. The 5G network could make it easier to streamline traffic flow as people leave or enter crowded events, such as concerts or university graduations.

A 2022 poll found that 49% of companies use 5G to optimize processes. On the other hand, a much smaller percentage (28%) use the network for virtual reality (VR) or augmented reality (AR). People who are thinking about doing the same should spend time thinking about the most problematic or error-prone processes at their companies and how 5G could help.

Also see: 9 Ways AI Can Help Improve Cloud Management

5G Enables Better Visibility and Proactiveness

Not so long ago, most business leaders dealt with equipment outages reactively. Once a machine stopped working or a technician identified an issue, company leaders dealt with the problem at that time. However, advancements such as Internet of Things (IoT) sensors and data analytics platforms have dramatically changed how people can handle industrial maintenance needs. The 5G network opens even more possibilities.

A recent initiative combines 5G, artificial intelligence, and IoT to help manufacturers utilize predictive maintenance and spot issues before they cause disruptions. Besides assisting clients to prevent downtime and save money associated with equipment outages, it can help them operate more sustainably and make smarter decisions about when they buy spare parts.

But, the visibility potential extends to more than a facility’s equipment. The 5G network allows sub-meter accuracy when tracking a company’s assets. It’s easy to imagine how handy that could be for keeping tabs on high-value and frequently used items that change hands often during a workday. The benefits of such solutions are even greater in environments such as healthcare facilities or construction sites, where tool losses could have especially far-reaching consequences.

Knowing where products are at any time helps business leaders create Industry 4.0-enabled supply chains, too. As goods travel between countries and facilities, there is an elevated chance of them becoming lost, damaged, or handled in ways that make them unsellable after arriving at a destination.

However, modern technologies, including the 5G network, make it easier to see where products are at any time. Then, if anything’s amiss, decision-makers can react sooner and prevent unwanted consequences.

Also see: Top Enterprise Networking Companies

The 5G Network Positions Locations as Ideal for Business

Decision-makers weigh many factors before choosing to operate in certain places. They might look at how close a destination is to major airports, the current state of the labor force there, the likely effects of future climate change, and more.

However, a more recent trend has national leaders investing in certain countries to make them well-known for 5G connectivity. Succeeding increases the chances that people will want to come there to live and work.

Thailand was one of the first ASEAN nations to start using 5G. It then used the technology to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, reducing the negative impact of the global health crisis. Leaders there have bigger plans for Thailand’s 5G usage, too.

Officials recently approved plans for a $37 billion smart city that will include five business centers. One of those will focus on 5G technology. People familiar with the matter say the city could add the equivalent of $55 billion to the country’s gross domestic product within five years.

Telecommunications company Vodafone began specifically targeting business customers when it rolled out its 5G network in 2019. One of the main selling points then was that people could take advantage of 5G and unlimited data for the same prices they paid to use 4G. Many business owners may understandably want to experiment with 5G and Industry 4.0. They’ll be more open to it when they know switching to 5G won’t be a major undertaking involving lots of extra costs.

Also see: Trends Shaping the Future of IoT

5G Could Make Commutes More Convenient

There’s no one way to plan and implement a 5G project that could promote the competitiveness of countries and cities as well as all the businesses operating in such places.

In Guangzhou, China, authorities are working on a massive project that uses 5G to orchestrate several types of transportation scenarios. The plans include implementing the improved network for the subway system, a high-speed railway, and a bus-dispatch system.

Some of the benefits have already become apparent. For example, there has been a 20% reduction in processing times for transit passengers and their luggage at peak times. Also, the time required to schedule a new bus route was typically a week. Now it can happen in just a day. Such benefits would make commuting to work more attractive, potentially making it easier for employers to broaden their workforces by mentioning the ease of transport.

Also see: Best IoT Platforms for Device Management

The 5G Network Lets Business Leaders Focus on the Future

Many business leaders have long-term perspectives when they think about how they’ll use the 5G network. They understand that having the technology in place is the first step in getting ready for whatever the future holds.

Leaders at dairy manufacturer Glanbia recognized this when they had the first 5G network of its kind installed in an Irish factory. Business decision-makers expected numerous advantages stemming from the decision, ranging from reduced latency to easier installation compared to Wi-Fi.

People working on the project are also excited that the technology will accelerate problem-solving and reduce the need for manual tasks. The available data streams will help plant managers to pinpoint trouble spots and develop practical solutions to address them.

Porsche executives believe 5G will support future growth. In late 2021, decision-makers moved ahead with a pilot project that uses the network for automobile assembly. One of the company’s early priorities centers on using wireless signals for robots in a body shop. Eliminating the need for wires will help Porsche executives solidify their plans for future automation test cases.

A test case happening elsewhere involved creating the first 5G-connected microbrewery. Factory representatives get production data from every step of the process, and that information gets sent to the cloud, where people can use it to optimize certain aspects. These are just some of the ways in which 5G can help businesses reach their future goals while maintaining better resilience in the present.

Also see: Trends Shaping the Future of IoT

Are You Ready to Use 5G?

The examples here and elsewhere illustrate numerous strong business cases for transitioning to the 5G network. If you’re thinking about seeing how it could help your company, take the time to think of specific applications that would provide the biggest payoffs.

It’s also helpful to discuss your hopes with service-provider representatives who have already assisted other clients with similar needs. They’ll be able to set accurate expectations and let you know what needs to happen to bring your vision to life.

Devin Partida
Devin Partidahttps://rehack.com/
Devin Partida writes about business technology and innovation. Her work has been featured on Yahoo! Finance, Entrepreneur, Startups Magazine, and other industry publications. She is also the Editor-in-Chief of ReHack.

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