While the potential of 5G to disrupt a wide variety of industries is obvious, manufacturing is primed to benefit the most from these connectivity advancements. Business 4.0 is upon us, and it will bring emerging technologies and innovations that will transform the ways manufacturers operate. 5G will be the fuel for this transformation.
The potential manufacturing opportunities are limitless. For example, 5G offers an immense capability for the automotive segment to reimagine connected vehicle offerings and expedite autonomous vehicle development and shared mobility transformational journeys.
5G also provides a means to build smart factories as well as connected products and services that offer better user experiences by leveraging emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and advanced analytics. In addition, the enhanced connectivity offers a means to cut costs and minimize downtime throughout the entire value chain.
Manufacturers can benefit from 5G’s increased data transfer speeds and minimized latency for communication between predictive analytics technologies and shop-floor machinery. That improvement will be present along all aspects of the supply chain and make it possible for companies to prepare for the inevitable maintenance needs of shop-floor machinery.
Additionally, 5G will improve edge-computing capabilities, helping manufacturers optimize their after-sales services and inventory management efforts. Devices will be able to interact with one another over the 5G network in order to automatically schedule, manufacture and deliver aftermarket parts and services without requiring the end-user to withstand long lead times. 5G’s high bandwidth and speed will not only support faster data transfers but also help companies capture and analyze larger volumes of data and produce actionable insights to drive productivity improvements, cost reduction and new business models.
The use of robotics on the manufacturing floor will be taken to new heights with 5G. When powered by the previously unimaginable connectivity speeds of 5G, smaller, AI-powered robots will be able to solve complex, potentially dangerous production tasks with optimal agility and precision. Fast communication speeds also will enable companies to use robots for hyper-personalized product development on a massive scale.
Finally, 5G will make next-generation technologies, including AR and VR, mainstream manufacturing tools. Although some manufacturers are experimenting with AR and VR technology already, the enhanced AR and VR capabilities made possible by 5G will likely encourage even more companies to implement these tools. For example, these empowered tools will help manufacturers with part and product design, shop-floor training, supply chain data visualization and more — on the go and without lag and latency issues. Plus, as capabilities become faster and smarter, the technologies will quickly learn from their own mistakes and find new ways to minimize costs and optimize equipment time.
Manufacturers that invest in 5G technology early will reap the benefits and pave the way for the future, bringing hyper-personalized offerings and high-quality aftermarket capabilities to their customers. The opportunities and applications are limitless.