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5G: Poised to Reshape Manufacturing Processes

By Dick Weisinger

5G refers to the next generation of wireless technology. It promises to deliver speeds from 20 to 100 times faster than current wireless technology. 5G will speed up data streaming and be important in advancing the usability of technologies like augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and the Internet of Things (IoT). It will also play an important role in enterprise and manufacturing infrastructure.

Is 5G here yet? Not quite. It’s only been rolled out in a few locations for testing, but that is expected to change quickly. ABI Research expects global sales of 5G-capable smartphones to reach 170 million by next year.

One area to be particularly impacted by 5G is manufacturing. Sachin Lulla, digital strategist at Ernst and Young, said that “industrial companies have a significant and immediate appetite for 5G. A new wave of hyper-connectivity is set to redefine the enterprise. And manufacturing will lead value creation from 5G investment , followed by energy and utilities, health care, the public sector, and transportation.”

5G will be able to provide very high-capacity, low-latency wireless communication, making it an ideal choice by manufacturers. It will enable better intercommunication between machines equipped with sensors and increase manufacturing efficiency. In addition, more process data will be collected and analyzed by machine learning to help improve processes.

5G will also help automate complex workflows. “Levels of automation formerly associated only with long-run, repetitive manufacturing will now be able, thanks to the high speed of 5G, to automate multivariate production runs that may result in custom products, regional mass customization or highly configured products, all with less human involvement than is currently the case,” according to Salt.lk.

Mo Katibeh, the CMO of AT&T Business , said that “Just like the LTE world gave rise to Airbnb, Waze, and the gig economy, 5G is going to give rise to an entirely new set of startups. These companies will create applications that none of us have even dreamed up yet.”

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