How to get the most out of 5G
Do you know how 5G works? Do you know the entire universe it can bring our work? We're not just talking about speed. Find out in this article and don't fall behind.
We all know the last decade has set forth a much more diversified consumption style, in quantities and quality. Different people want different things and today more than never, as a result of the increase of industry players, what the consumer wants decides what gets produced, and how.
To answer effectively to the desires of your consumers, be the front-end, the distributors, or others, any producer these days needs to update and bring flexibility on their offer.
However, this can only be truly possible (and effective) with a useful, real-time communication. Not just between consumers and producers, but also between the involved processes, teams, and equipment. Dreaming? No, actually happening.
On cutting edge factories that seem to already be living Industry 4.0, the Internet of Things (IoT) is already a standard way of working, speeding everything on the logistics chain, bringing clients and stakeholders closer, optimizing expenses and margins.
Despite this huge progress, there’s a lot more to be done, like fixing technical difficulties and delays still felt on data transmission or the need to really automate Things between themselves.
There seems to be a gap between technological advances and the system’s ability to cope. When we talk of hyperconnectivity and the intelligent relationship between each data, step, machine what are we really talking about?
To this moment and, as foreseen in countries like China or the US, until 2025, our society operates on the 4th Generation of Telecommunications Technology. To put it simply, 4G. But the infrastructure of a new era is already being set up, which promises to bring more and better opportunities to all those who want to get the most out of it - 5G. It started in 2008 and it falls short of definitions, but we’ll try to explore its potential here.
While 4G operates on optic fiber, the installation of which is quite financially demanding (and in itself, may justify the exclusion of some not-so-worth-it locations, like rural areas), the 5G network is built on antennas which are much easier to place, even in faraway locations.
One of the promises of this easiness is that anyone anywhere can connect their electronic devices on this network, wire-free! It’s like everything would become part of a mobile network. Your modem, your car your fridge, will all have the same degree of connectivity to the wireless networks as your phone or computer.
But the biggest potential insight is for businesses. The ability to connect machines, cameras, smart equipment between each other wirelessly ou without any setup prerequisite.
Better, you can connect and manage remotely all those gadgets from a device so simple as your laptop, tablet or smartphone. You can control what assembly robots do in a warehouse in one part of the world, while you keep an eye on every vehicle your fleet on other different locations.
Even better? You can create autonomous chains of simultaneous or even consecutive action (do A, if B - do C, if D) between robotic systems that did not communicate between each other before, as they relied on the wires that connected them. Everything is in your hands on real-time, easily reconfigurable and you don’t even need to be physically there. You only need to be connected to what is called the Edge Cloud, an online “control tower” type of space. And if you wanna feel closer you can also combine Augmented Reality and operate any equipment as if you were there.
We say real time because the 5G network is capable of transmitting up to 6000MB of information per second. The 4G of today? Up to 150MB. Another difference is that we have in 4G a type 360º of signal emission run on long reach antennas, which makes it more subjectable of latency and interference, and that is what 5G promises to avoid, as it’s built on a complex web of highly directed short distance emissions between antennas. It’s predicted we’ll have 5G network antennas built every 2 or 3 neighborhoods apart. This promises not only better clarity of signal but a much lower latency and speed of transmission as never experienced before.
With instant connectivity of this power for billions of simultaneous devices, you can no longer imagine the internet of things, artificial intelligence, or machine learning without 5G, can you?
Putting aside the popular controversy of the radioactive effects of this infrastructure being so close to its users and the viability of setting it up on the public space (moving even further the possibility of Smart Cities and self-driving cars), some suppliers like Nokia, are already moving forward with the sale and setup of private 5G networks in companies leading the industrial revolution and many others arising altogether from these technical possibilities.
5G delivers the answer to the ultralow latency required by the work method we talk about with the IoT and it promises a productivity increase by 260%, justified by the increased assembly speed, shorter communication flows, better connection reliability, production versatility and predictive maintenance on behalf of the machines themselves.
What does it require then? Lots of investment. For the energy bill that’s still not so calculated, but will surely be high. The initial cost and equipment adaption. The cost of training teams, and others.
The possible ROI? Probably more than fair. Potentially bigger than anything we can imagine.