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5G is proliferating across industries. It’s enabling new customer experiences, business models, and the adoption of the most cutting-edge technologies throughout processes. Our recent assessment of leading service providers in the telecom, media, and technology (TMT) industry shows how the TMT industry is becoming a springboard for 5G solutions, which technology and business service providers are tailoring to other industries. Industrial sectors have been among the early adopters of 5G, in combination with the internet of things (IoT), and edge computing. This point of view explores the impact of 5G on the industrial sector, leading use cases, and how industrial firms are today modernizing and optimizing their processes underpinned by connectivity, data, and improved decision making
5G presents an array of opportunities for industrial companies that operate with connected equipment, processes, and systems. 5G can achieve the low latency (approximately 100 times faster than 4G) needed to address evolving requirements in the industry, such as driverless cars and connected IoT products. Manufacturers will be increasingly able to work with AI, advanced robotics, digital twins, augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR), and massive IoT deployments with dramatically reduced lag.
Manufacturers have invested in assets that are decades old. These assets have no in-built provisioning of connectivity and monitoring. In such a brownfield scenario, there is always a limitation on adding wiring and sensors. High-speed wireless connectivity allows 5G to improve the availability of real-time data, enabling faster decision making.
The industrial sector has been the source of 5G use cases for some time. For example, Ericsson has been experimenting with AR overlays in its factory in Tallinn, Estonia, so technicians can repair electronic boards without referring to blueprints or Word documents. Ericsson (with China Mobile) is also enabling (physical) automation by applying cellular IoT technology.
5G allows spectrum slicing and sharing, helping telecom providers optimize spectrum distribution to their clients for maximum revenue generation. Enterprises want to ensure uninterrupted 5G connectivity. BMW, Robert Bosch, Volkswagen, BASF, and Deutsche Lufthansa are reportedly among the companies that have applied to set up local 5G networks in Germany. Private 5G networks will strengthen cybersecurity as enterprises can then configure their networks to fit their needs, adopt custom security features like encryption, and avoid sharing bandwidth with other firms. Following are some prominent examples:
Service providers are rapidly developing their 5G capabilities to cater to requirements across industries
Given the traction of 5G across industries, it has become imperative for service providers to focus on developing their 5G capabilities. Following are examples of traction among service providers:
Check out our TMT Top 10 report for more examples.
Service providers are developing 5G use cases and solutions for industries and their specific functions (add to that the more horizontal applications that align with general enterprise functions or technologies) individually and through a co-creation model. We have discussed several examples of 5G enabling new business models, customer experiences, improved operations, and technology adoption. The time is ripe for enterprises to evaluate 5G and move quickly toward mainstream adoption. In addition, enterprises must start planning their use of 5G in the long run as industry-specific solutions are available today and achieving real business value.