Predictions on industrial 5G from Mobile World Congress 2024

Posted on 30 Apr 2024 by The Manufacturer

It’s no secret that 5G is set to supercharge industrial productivity. Hailed as the ‘next generation’ of wireless tech, it’s already enabling faster, more reliable and more efficient processing thanks to its advantages of high-speed, low-latency connectivity.

It’s no surprise then, that 5G was a major focus point at this year’s Mobile World Congress 2024 event. In a session hosted by Analog Devices, Joe Barry, VP Marketing, Systems & Technology, Cloud & Communications BU and Dr. Andreas Mueller (5G-ACIA General Chair, Bosch), shared their predictions on the emerging industrial 5G market.

Supporting our need for speed

The global rise of gigafactories and manufacturing in general, is pushing production efficiency to the top of the agenda. Current predictions by Benchmark Mineral Intelligence place the figure for gigafactories at over 400 by 2030.

If factories are to improve efficiency and stay profitable then they need to be quick to react to shifting needs, customisation and short product life cycles. 5G’s low latency and high bandwidth enables autonomous machinery and robots to operate more efficiently and safely in industrial environments. The real-time communication capabilities of 5G help machines sense and therefore navigate their surroundings in real-time, reducing errors and improving productivity. Increasingly, devices are becoming moveable and portable and 5G’s enhanced connectivity can be used to create a centralised control system, allowing for greater monitoring to improve overall productivity.

Under lock and key

5G will also provide added security. Operating within highly competitive markets means that company data is extremely valuable – no one wants their production secrets revealed too early. The emergence of 5G technology brings enhanced network reliability features, which is essential for industrial environments where downtime can be detrimental to operations.

Today’s 5G network architecture is designed to minimise network disruptions and ensure continuous connectivity. This is achieved through the implementation of advanced network redundancy mechanisms, such as multi-connectivity and network slicing. This will be an attractive prospect to companies that take data security seriously.

Additionally, 5G can strengthen the protection level of industrial networks. With the implementation of encryption mechanisms and authentication protocols, 5G networks can prevent unauthorised access and data breaches. In short, it can enhance the overall security posture of the industrial sector.

Living on the edge

5G’s low latency and high bandwidth make it ideal for edge computing, where data processing and computation are performed closer to the devices and sensors that generate the data. By bringing computation closer to the “Intelligent Edge’, industrial processes can be optimised, reducing latency and improving response times.

Increasingly, the number of connected devices within factory settings is rising. Whilst 4G networks provides high-speed connectivity, it can often become congested and experience bottlenecks during peak usage times. 5G, on the other hand, offers enhanced connectivity, with a larger bandwidth and improved network efficiency. This means that edge computing applications can consume more bandwidth and handle higher data volumes without experiencing significant performance degradation.

Minimising waste

Enabling greater seamless communication and data exchange, 5G technology enables more efficient operations, lower downtime, and improved productivity. This will in turn reduce resource consumption and waste generation. Remote monitoring of operations, meanwhile, lowers the need for physical inspections and maintenance visits. This not only saves time and resources but will have the advantage of minimising the environmental impact associated with transportation.

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