Intelligent Automation and 5G: An Essential Partnership

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The rollout of 5G networks is one of the most anticipated yet little understood technological developments in recent memory. Many lofty promises surround this technology, but it carries several unique concerns that could stop it from delivering on them. 5G can bring considerable benefits, but it needs intelligent automation to do so.

Some experts claim that 5G will add $1.5 trillion to the U.S. GDP by 2025. That figure may not be surprising, considering how reliant businesses are becoming on wireless technologies and the speeds that 5G can bring. However, it won’t come with new networks by themselves. Enterprises also need intelligent automation.

What is Intelligent Automation?

Intelligent automation combines several disciplines under the automation umbrella. Generally speaking, it involves three parts:

  • Artificial intelligence (AI)
  • Robotic process automation (RPA)
  • Business process management (BPM), also known as workflow automation

RPA and BPM focus on automating back-office tasks and workflow optimization, respectively. Intelligent automation introduces AI into the equation to take those benefits further, using more complex analytics to understand and respond to real-time context. It uses the insights that AI provides to fine-tune other automated processes and deliver the most value possible.

Traditional automation can eliminate the risk of human error and improve productivity by reducing repetitive manual workflows. These technologies are advantageous, but they’re often limited in scope. Intelligent automation adds deeper understanding and flexibility to bring those benefits to more complex tasks and make automation more resilient.

Also read: Data Center Automation Will Enable the Next Phase of Digital Transformation

Where Intelligent Automation and 5G Intersect

5G networks need this cognitive automation to work as intended. Despite their impressive speed, capacity, and latency benefits, these networks raise new concerns. Enterprises that use 5G to implement more connected devices will find their data management needs will become far more complex.

Already, as much as 73% of enterprise data goes unused, and much of that is because businesses have more information than they know how to manage. Bringing more devices online with 5G will create even more data that company networks must carry. 5G networks can transmit that data, but balancing every device’s and workflow’s unique needs requires complex calculations.

5G’s unique technical considerations pose another challenge. While these wavelengths can carry more data and do so faster, their range is less than 2% of 4G signals, requiring multiple small cells. That makes networks even more complex.

Intelligent automation provides the flexibility and insight these complicated networks require to operate efficiently. These algorithms can monitor different systems’ connectivity needs in real-time and adjust networks as necessary to accommodate them. They’ll allocate resources to support requirements and ensure constant connectivity.

How Enterprises Benefit From Automation-Driven 5G

Intelligent automation provides the dynamic network management necessary to capitalize on 5G connectivity. Here are a few specific ways enterprises can benefit from bringing these technologies together.

Enhanced cybersecurity

5G enables companies to gather and analyze more data, which makes cybersecurity a more prominent concern. Data breaches increased by 38% in the second quarter of 2021 alone, and more connectivity will mean additional endpoints and data for cybercriminals to target. Intelligent automation can help find and seal the gaps to sustain 5G’s benefits without increasing vulnerability.

Networks that become too complicated make it difficult to spot anomalies or determine where vulnerabilities lie. Intelligent automation reduces complexity by balancing system needs and usage more efficiently, providing more clarity. It can also constantly monitor to highlight any suspicious actions or potential weaknesses.

Intelligent automation coupled with 5G’s bandwidth reduces dropped or disrupted connections, which also eliminates opportunities for cybercriminals. More reliable connections mean network defenses will stay intact, preventing breaches.

Also read: 5G Cybersecurity Risks and How to Mitigate Them

Data regulation compliance

Intelligent automation and 5G will also make regulatory compliance easier. Just as convoluted networks make it challenging to discover vulnerabilities, they make it harder to ensure your data usage meets regulatory standards. Without intelligent automation, the increase in data under 5G could leave organizations in the dark about whether they’re compliant.

Intelligent automation offers more insight and control into complex networks, mitigating this concern. Enterprises can use smart algorithms to scan for potential instances of noncompliance. If they find any shortcomings, these models can automatically implement new network controls to align with regulatory requirements.

This automation can also make it easier to adjust networks with any new regulations that emerge. As 5G develops, the regulatory landscape will likely evolve with it, and enterprises can automatically apply updates across their systems through intelligent automation. 

Flexible connected systems

Another benefit of combining 5G and intelligent automation is making Internet of Things (IIoT) systems more flexible. 5G provides the bandwidth and latency to connect virtually every machine in a workplace. Intelligent automation could then balance each network needs to create a cohesive, flexible interconnected system.

Automated systems’ efficiency benefits stem from repetition, and they often fall short without standardization. Businesses are spending $5.4 billion on RPA, which could represent a substantial blow to return on investment. Turning individual automated machines into a broader, interconnected network would provide the flexibility needed to avoid that.

Interconnectivity through 5G and real-time reactions through intelligent automation would let machines communicate and work together to adapt to emerging situations. If an error arises early on in a manufacturing line, devices could slow down to anticipate the disruption. Automated systems would finally offer the flexibility enterprises need to react to changing circumstances.

Ongoing operational efficiency

Another risk enterprises can run into with connected technologies that 5G and intelligent automation can fix is reliability. Businesses rely more heavily on data and IoT systems, and any dropped or slowed connections can be destructive. 5G’s latency and intelligent automation’s real-time network management prevent these disruptions.

Enterprises can use intelligent automation to balance IoT workloads as dynamic routing balances cloud workloads. They can then ensure every connected workflow has the bandwidth and connections it needs at all times, adjusting for demand peaks and valleys. They can then prevent network downtime and disruption, remaining efficient throughout all operations.

Intelligent Automation Unlocks 5G’s Potential

5G and intelligent automation are inseparable. Companies that hope to capitalize on these networks’ speed, latency, and bandwidth benefits need the real-time management and visibility that intelligent automation provides.

Organizations that use these technologies together can experience the full benefits of 5G. They can then achieve the lofty promises that proponents of the technology cite so frequently.

Read next: Top Hyperautomation Software Tools

Devin Partida
Devin Partida
Devin Partida is a contributing writer for Enterprise Networking Planet who writes about business technology, cybersecurity, and innovation. Her work has been featured on Yahoo! Finance, Entrepreneur, Startups Magazine, and many other industry publications. She is also the Editor-in-Chief of ReHack.

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