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Why 5G and Industry 4.0 are better together

Why 5G and Industry 4.0 are better together

The fourth industrial revolution (Industry 4.0), is a simple concept with extraordinary possibilities.

First introduced in 2011 as a German initiative to enhance the nation’s manufacturing industry through digitization, today, it’s a globally adopted means for manufacturers to unlock real-time operational insights, optimise processes and drive production quality.

The real driving force behind Industry 4.0 is the Internet of Things (IoT). IoT devices and platforms enable machines and processes to connect with one another, share data to improve operations, and uncover insights that were previously far out of an operator’s reach.

When the data gathered through IoT devices is coupled with AI-powered machine learning (ML), machines and processes can self-optimise, and better monitor, predict and respond to critical changes – like a sudden drop in performance. That’s the power of industry 4.0 in action.

But, like all forms of connected technology, none of that is possible without a strong connectivity foundation. IoT and Industry 4.0 demand robust, reliable connectivity everywhere – which is why we believe 5G is best suited to realise the Industry 4.0 opportunity.

 

Why 5G for Industry 4.0?

For manufacturers, time is money. An hour of factory downtime can cost millions, and in an age where manufacturers seek to differentiate through services as well as products, consistent product performance is just as critical.

While AI and IoT use cases – like predictive maintenance and factory floor automation – can mitigate these issues, they’re only as effective as the connection underpinning them.

While 4G and private LTE networks are good enough for general consumer applications, 5G delivers levels of speed, consistency, and bandwidth never before possible.

Let’s compare:

  • 1-20Gbit/s download speeds (versus 10-50 Mbps on 4G)
  • 1ms latency (versus 50ms on 4G)
  • 30-300GHz capacities (versus <6GHz on 4G)

And with a secure 5G private network, it’s easier than ever to meet the connectivity demands of your Industry 4.0 use cases while retaining absolute network control.

 

Did you know? KPMG expects that 5G use cases can help the UK unlock £3.5 trillion in revenue over the next six years.
KPMG 2019

What use cases can 5G deliver?

With 5G at their core, manufacturers and other industrial organisations are already using AI-assisted tools and IoT to realise transformative new use cases, including:

  • Predictive maintenance

In field service, first-time fix rate is a big differentiator. With 5G and AI, connected products can automatically identify issues that, if left unattended, could cause greater problems. With this data, your product can alert the closest technician with the right tools at hand to solve the issue on the first visit. In fact, Finnish engineers KONE Corporation are well-documented champions of this technology.

  • Powering smart wearables

Wearables such as Augmented Reality (AR) goggles, heatmap sensors, and even connected gloves are increasingly common in manufacturing and industrial settings. For example, service technicians can use AR googles to overlay product instructions in real-time to assist with job accuracy. 5G enables these technologies to be used and applied anywhere, improving field maintenance and enabling stronger service offerings.

  • Autonomous vehicles

Autonomous vehicles rely on high-speed and ultra-low latency connectivity to make instant decisions based on their immediate environment. With 5G, automotive firms can ensure vehicles can perform fast and consistent vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-everything (V2X) communication in real-time to inform these decisions. This also enables edge computing to help process the vehicle data as close to the source as possible.

  • Underpinning adaptive processes

Once you can gather data on a process or piece of machinery using IoT devices, you can start automating it. Then, once it’s automated, you can start using data to make it truly adaptive – enabling it to respond to anomalies or issues itself, without human intervention. 5G takes adaptive processes to the next level, enabling them to extend beyond the four falls of your factory. For example, real-time data can be gathered across your supply chain, improving the accuracy and efficiency of Just-In-Time manufacturing processes.

 

How can Vilicom help?

With years of experience helping organisations like yours modernise operations and drive innovation, you can rely on us to develop a bespoke 5G private mobile network best suited to your Industry 4.0 needs.

To learn more about how we use best-fit vendor equipment to meet your individual network needs, and the opportunities we can help you realise, please get in touch at here.