Let’s talk about industrial 5G. Despite what some conspiracy theorists would have you believe, the global upgrade to the new technology is an exciting and innovative step forward that has the potential to dramatically enhance productivity and encourage growth across manufacturing industries. So important will the use of 5G be as a tool for recovery in the post-pandemic era, that the defining question is not why manufacturers should start to integrate 5G, but when.
It is a question that the UK government clearly recognises the importance of. In 2019 it announced £40m in government-funded trials specifically for manufacturing as well as a further £65m in rural and industrial 5G competitions in 2020. What’s more, this investment has continued into the new decade, with a further £28m investment being announced in January 2021, and also a £30m competition to turn the UK into a leading global generation of 5G networks. That’s £163m invested in the space of 3 years.
So what’s all the fuss about?
Well for starters, 5G is ten to twenty times faster than its predecessors 4G and LTE (Long-Term Evolution), while simultaneously capable of supporting a million connected units per square kilometre. It boasts a transmission rate of up to 20GB per second and consumes only one-thousandth of the amount of energy per bit transferred compared to LTE. It stands to reason therefore that the operational advantages on integrating 5G into a business model can only benefit a company.
In fact, despite the pandemic causing a fall in growth trajectories of overall global economic output –sales enabled by 5G are expected to reach $13.1T by 2035. With higher data speeds and a bigger network capacity the implementation of 5G can empower new user experiences and connect new industries, but what is most notable is the way in which the technology is likely to accelerate smart factory and Industry 4.0 initiatives.
Their necessity has been highlighted by the pandemic which has shown manufacturers the need for agility in the production process in response to shifting demand alongside labour shortages. What 5G can do, is give manufacturers the ability to be adaptable to any change in circumstances at any time, without having to completely re-design their infrastructure, and when paired with developments in advanced automation, artificial intelligence and machine learning, 5G can aid in the development of a fully digitalised factory floor that offers cost-efficiency and productivity benefits.
If that wasn’t enough to convince you of the merits of 5G, then how about its sustainable benefits? Thanks to the efficiencies in new networks, it is predicted that 5G networks will reduce their carbon emissions by 50% over the next 10 years. Furthermore, 5G enable Intelligent Transportation can lead to 15% less traffic and, as a result, pollution emitted by vehicles, and finally, 5G enable devices are developed to have a longer battery and device life-time when compared to previous technology, thus increasing energy efficiency.
So, as it turns out, the question of why to upgrade to 5G is an easy one to answer. In a nutshell the technology gives manufacturers the opportunity to integrate production-boosting Industry 4.0 initiatives, that simultaneously offer sustainable energy efficient benefits. Yet the biggest obstacle facing many manufacturers is the question of how to finance this digital transformation, and fortunately for them, it is also a question that can be easily answered. With smart financing techniques, the investing in new infrastructure can be done effortlessly and without putting a significant amount of capital at risk. Therefore, the answer to ‘why’ subsequently poses a new question for manufacturers: when, lest they be left behind by the competition.
Do you think 5G is the way forward? Take a look at our latest article on the topic here or get in touch to schedule a chat!
 Gov UK, New £65 million package for 5G trials, 20 Feb 2020
 The Manufacturer, UK Govt pledges £40m for manufacturing 5G trials, 18 Jun 2019
 Siemens, A 5G network for every factory, 15 Nov 2019
James Hardie, Business Development Manager
I have worked at Siemens since 2015, starting out on the Graduate Programme. Having worked and gained experience in numerous areas within the business, I am now a Business Development Manager within our Industrial Equipment & Machine Tools division. My role involves helping customers achieve their ambitions of growth through the acquisition of new equipment by providing smart and tailored finance solutions to suit each customer individually.
My interests tend to revolve around being active; I run, play golf and football as well as enjoy watching most sports. Outside of that, I am always looking for another excuse to eat at a great restaurant.