In part three of our Digital Discovery series, we put the spotlight on the new 5G standard to see just how much it could revolutionise industries

In part two of our Digital Discovery series, we looked at how AI is transforming industries with machines that think and behave like us. As machines work smarter, faster and more intuitively, increasingly massive amounts of data is being generated, transferred and shared. A key concern is whether these machines will be able to communicate quicker and more efficiently to keep pace. The answer it seems lies in the dawn of ultrafast 5G. 

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A quantum leap

In many industries, the fourth generation (4G) of mobile telecommunications is still only in its infancy. Yet its successor is already promising performance levels that seem like a quantum leap forward from today. The new 5G standard’s energy consumption per transferred byte, for example, is only around one-thousandth of that of 4G and LTE, and is expected to achieve 100 times the data rates at 1,000 times the capacity.

With IoT-enabled smart factories being filled with sensors and devices to monitor every aspect of their environments, 5G’s high capacity, wireless flexibility and stable low-latency connections make it the ideal driver of digital transformation. Because in the factories of the future, where machines are constantly talking to each other and instantly adapting to demand, slow data connections could be disastrous.

Unifying supply chains

With radically higher data transfer rates and capacity, the new 5G standard has the potential to make applications more flexible and productive than ever. Imagine robots being controlled from another continent, video conferences in ultra-HD quality, and ultra-real VR solutions featuring highly intricate infrastructure. And it’s not just smart factories that are set to benefit – every aspect of the supply chain could reap rewards.

In the UK, for example, a government-backed initiative has been trialling 5G’s potential for farming. The 5G RuralFirst project enables farmers to track connected cows to receive daily updates on health and behaviour. Via 5G-connected collars, farmers gain data on every aspect of a cow’s life – from what they’re eating and how they’re sleeping to early signs of sickness. All of which will help optimise animal nutrition and increase food production.

A fully connected world

All signs are pointing to a huge market impact when 5G is rolled out in 2020. According to the GMSA Mobile Economy 2019 Report, 15% of total wireless communication will be transmitted via 5G as early as 2025. More than $160 billion is being invested in next year’s rollout. And it’s expected to contribute over $2.2 trillion to the global economy over the next 15 years – primarily within manufacturing, public utilities and financial services.

With the arrival of 5G, it’s arguable there will soon be no more obstacles to creating smart factories. And it’s only a question of time before every machine, application, factory and supply chain could be 5G enabled and fully connected.

Want to know more about the benefits of 5G for your business? Get in touch or learn more about our Smart Factory solutions.

And don’t miss part four of our Digital Discovery series when we’ll dive deeper into the new era of automation with digital logistics or so-called Logistics 4.0.

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