on September 20th, 2019

Manufacturers are seeking ways to make their global supply chains more flexible. Luckily for them, wireless Internet of Things technologies are empowering these factories and making processes more efficient than ever before. Ericsson, a giant in automation technology engineering, reported that “IoT connections are set to pass the 4 billion mark by 2024.”

In Ericsson’s blog entitled ‘The future of manufacturing is smart, secure and stable,’ they outline that companies with production lines are trying their best to integrate the Industrial Internet of Things technologies, and the market is heating up with competitiveness.

Essentially, manufacturers who create the most novel interconnected system in their factories, underpinned by Industrial Internet of Things technologies, will get more work done and generate more profits due to the efficiency of their operations. That requires the fastest interconnectivity technology available to the market.

This is where 5G wireless internet technology comes in. 5G promises faster speeds and unparalleled latency for factory-connected equipment, making the technology a bone of contention in global politics — especially in the case of the ongoing trade war between the United States and China. The global rollout of 5G technologies is happening — and fast. For instance, Chinese telecom Huawei’s aim is to ‘build a fully connected, intelligent world.’

Ericsson has published their findings in their Mobility Report. The report casts industry projections while analyzing the latest trends in the mobile data industry with regards to 5G, IoT, fixed wireless access and more. In the report, the graph relating to countries’ uptake of cellular IoT connections, shows that North-East Asia is expected to continue growing the number of operations IoT connections well into 2024.

Source: Ericsson

In the United Kingdom, as the government prepares to separate from the European Union, fiber internet technology and 5G connectivity are going to be a vital mechanism of their efforts to transform factories in the country to enter the market and keep the economy strong.

The UK government is ensuring that even the most rural parts of the country are receiving high masts connecting the areas with 5G technology so that they can begin digitally revolutionizing markets in those regions. On top of that, online education and training is something that rural Britons can also start to pursue from where they are based. The power of mobile internet connectivity can affect many levels of society within any given geographic area.

Broadband service provider EE, in the United Kingdom, have been trying to educate the general populace about the benefits of 5G and how the speeds are equipped to transform several industries in the country:


Companies race to deploy 5G technologies

A survey by research firm Gartner reports that two-thirds of organizations are looking to have their 5G setups deployed by 2020. Organizations are also trying to ensure that they get their entire manufacturing setups with 5G readiness. Gartner reports that 59 percent of organizations surveyed are looking to implement 5G-capable networks by next year.

Sylvian Fabre, a senior researcher at Gartner said, “the figure for IoT communications is surprising, given that other proven and cost-effective alternatives, such as Narrowband IoT over 4G and low-power wide-area solutions, already exist for wireless IoT connectivity.

“However, 5G is uniquely positioned to deliver a high density of connected endpoints -- up to 1 million sensors per square kilometer.”

Manufacturers benefit massively from the ‘high density of connected endpoints’. An entire network of interconnected sensors that take about a millisecond to interface with each other is something that will empower the autonomy of manufacturing systems. Delays in manufacturing plants may be a thing of the past with 5G.

With 5G being normalized rapidly, prospective engineering students should be familiarizing themselves with 5G and the telecommunications technologies surrounding it, because once they graduate, they will likely see the technology in their future workplace. The more and more engineering industries that utilize these technologies, the closer the supply chain gets to being revolutionized through smart-manufacturing.

EIT offers a variety of courses in the industrial automation sector - find out more.

Works Cited

“Ericsson Mobility Report: Read the Latest Report.” Ericsson.com, 30 Aug. 2019, www.ericsson.com/en/mobility-report.

“Gartner Survey Reveals Two-Thirds of Organizations Intend to Deploy 5G by 2020.” Gartner, www.gartner.com/en/newsroom/press-releases/2018-12-18-gartner-survey-reveals-two-thirds-of-organizations-in.

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