How 5G Supports Smarter Factories
Did you know that the kitchen toaster was actually invented before sliced bread? In fact, the concept of buying a pre-sliced loaf of bread largely stems from the invention of the toaster and its widespread adoption in homes. It’s possible to make the same case for 5G and smart factory equipment. We’ve had network-enabled smart devices in factories for years, but the implementation of 5G stands to completely revolutionize the way we use these technologies.
We’re about a decade into the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the attendant increased usage of digital technologies in manufacturing. Now, with the completion of 5G infrastructure, there’s an opportunity to deploy the technologies we’ve been developing to a greater degree. In many ways, 5G is the best thing to happen to manufacturers since … sliced bread?
Next-gen technology requires next-level speed and capacity, and 5G is ready to deliver. 5G’s transformative technology sends signals round-trip in just milliseconds, with the capacity to capture data from hundreds of thousands of sensors in the factory. 5G networks are leading the digital-first revolution, especially in the manufacturing space, offering producers more speed, capacity, reliability, and connectivity.
Investing in Industry 4.0 now
5G is now available nationwide for industrial producers, but investment in this new infrastructure must accompany the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and Industry 4.0 investments. As producers optimize their operations with everything from factory floor production configuration to adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies, 5G ensures ubiquitous connectivity.
While investing in these optimizations is costly, thanks to 5G, early adopters will find that their spend is justified.
Maximizing the potential of the connected factory
5G and its affiliated technology enable new opportunities across the factory floor. Adoption isn’t just a technical upgrade for manufacturers — it’s a significant leap forward. It plays a role in the move toward automation, enabling better optimization of operations and production.
5G also boosts speed of communication, which is vital for real-time IIoT function. Manufacturers can offload data to the cloud, increasing the use of robots, cobots, and automatic guided vehicles (AGVs) — all while the complexity of the tasks they can perform increases. 5G also enables remote asset monitoring and maintenance, improves workplace safety, and even helps attract a young workforce that prioritizes a tech-focused workplace.
Moving decidedly into the Fourth Industrial Revolution
There are significant benefits to adopting 5G technology in spurring forward the modern factory — most of all, 5G keeps it all connected. It represents a major evolutionary upgrade and, in many ways, proof of concept for what we expect for Industry 4.0. Producers should invest now to stay competitive in a fast-paced, efficiency-driven landscape.