Industry 4.0, 5G and WiFi6 Add Up to Enormous Value


Unlike previous generations of network technology that paved the way for innovations like smartphones and wireless broadband, 5G offers tremendous improvements in terms of lower latency, faster transmission speeds, and vastly increased network capacity. 5G is capturing the attention of consumer cellular service customers, but enterprise adoption of emerging use cases is widely expected to be 5G's killer application. Enterprises looking to act of the plethora of benefits provided by 5G are quickly adopting their own spectrums, leading to a rise in private 5G networks

A private 5G network allows enterprises to bring a custom-tailored 5G experience to indoor and outdoor facilities, offering a combination of essential security, reliability and performance enhancements over other wireless technologies, and replacing restrictive wired local area networks.

The global private 5G network market size is estimated to reach $14.28 billion by 2028, registering a CAGR of 39.7 percent between now and then. On top of this, Deloitte predicts that over the next decade hundreds of thousands of companies will deploy private 5G networks.

Many organizations turn towards private 5G mainly because a private 5G network does not need to share traffic with other cellular networks in the vicinity, giving enterprises more control. But, the rapid growth can actually be attributed to the technology that enterprises have access to when leveraging a private 5G network.

“5G capabilities allow businesses to implement the digital transformative applications that drive the smart industry, and the Internet of Things, which can be a crucial turning point for enterprises, especially in manufacturing,” said Roy Timor-Rousso, Chief Marketing Officer at Pente Networks, a private 5G platform which enables IT teams and service providers to design, provision, spin up and manage private wireless networks.

“Private, high-speed and super secure wireless networks are especially game-changing for manufacturing enterprises, enabling Industry 4.0 innovations that fuel smart factories,” Timor-Rousso explained. “Industry 4.0 continues to grow at a record pace, with so many new technologies, including IoT, cloud computing and analytics, and AI and machine learning into their production facilities and throughout their operations. This helps to optimize the productivity of their expensive equipment, reduce waste, maximize yields, and reduce cycle times. Imagine the cost savings when you cut the wires – and improve the speed and resiliency so that real time, autonomous systems really work.”

Historically, manufacturing has always been on the slower side when it came to adopting innovative technology, but the potential of industrial 4.0 has changed that notion as of late. Just a couple years ago in 2019, the industry 4.0 market was at $70 billion, but thanks to the recent availability of private 5G, the market is now expected to grow at a CAGR of 17 percent, putting the industry 4.0 market at $210 billion by 2026.

However, to efficiently have all these devices working together in harmony, as well as being able to easily add new devices into the mix, manufacturers need to achieve a high level of connectivity. Keeping tabs on an entire assortment of devices is no easy task, but luckily for manufacturers, 5G solves the issue of connectivity, allowing enterprises to benefit from the various use cases that 5G enabled smart factories must hold.

There’s a vast array of technologies that not only become available to use after leveraging private 5G networks, but also offer numerous benefits to enterprises within the manufacturing sector, Timor-Rousso said, then shared some notable use cases:

IoT Technology

The Internet of Things (IoT), has already transformed industries in the way that they operate, communicate, and utilize data, and the same goes for the manufacturing industry. With 5G enabled connectivity to keep all the IoT devices linked adequately, manufacturers can add a variety of applications to their repertoire.

For example, IoT data helps manufacturers with predictive maintenance. When maintenance in the manufacturing world is reactive rather than proactive, manufacturers are stuck trying to identify what the issue is, how it can be repaired, and what it will cost. With predictive maintenance powered by industrial IoT solutions, all those issues are alleviated.

On top of this, IoT technology and the data gained gives manufactures more knowledge, and knowledge is power. The knowledge provided to manufacturers via IoT solutions is giving them the tools they need to reduce costs and generate more revenue. Data-driven insights into operations, production, marketing, sales, and more can steer businesses in a profitable direction.

Augmented Reality (AR)

AR technology allows manufacturers to access virtual engineering models and overlay these models over the physical equipment on which they are performing maintenance using specialized AR goggles or glasses. This enables them to use the most accurate and up-to-date engineering, helping ensure that the correct maintenance and performance specifications are performed efficiently.

AR also enables manufacturers to create a digital twin, which is a virtual representation of the as-designed, as-built, and as-maintained physical product; augmented by real-time process data and analytics based on accurate configurations of the physical product, production systems, or equipment.  Using digital twins that represent the product and production systems, manufacturers can reduce the time and cost associated with assembling, installing, and validating factory production systems. Additionally, implementing digital twins for asset management typically provides quantifiable benefits for maintaining equipment in the field.

Enhanced Communications

As said before, 5G has strong indoor and outdoor capabilities, with a wide range that allows manufacturers to boost communication and management in facilities, and every other part of the supply chain. 5g enables large-scale automated tracking and monitoring facilities for smart factories. Furthermore, real-time response to security incidents, mobile and fixed Inspection and supervision using drones and video analytics help increase worker safety of factory floors.

“We are now fully entrenched in the fourth industrial revolution, as innovative devices and applications continue to seep into factory floors,” Timor-Rousso said. “Flexibility has improved thanks to technology, so that manufacturers can better meet customer demands using mass customization, further increasing competition. For manufacturing enterprises that wish to keep up with the competition in the digital, 5G itself is essential, but a 5G private network that can fully support smart factories is as critical as it gets. As WiFi6 and WiFi6E also take off, there is even more power at the edge for edge computing and more, and private 5G provides the WAN and backhaul in these kids of scenarios.”

Arti Loftus is an experienced Information Technology specialist with a demonstrated history of working in the research, writing, and editing industry with many published articles under her belt.

Edited by Greg Tavarez
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