5G, as well as the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), are two megatrends that gain traction in the mobile industry. Industrial machos have been venturing the notion, using the umbrella term 'Industry 4.0' to define what is evolving in production, integrating sophisticated communications, and automation.
With a combination of new technology triggering the next generation of the industrial revolution, the impact 5G has on Industry 4.0 will be exceptional. 5G will not redesign the production line as a trend itself, but it will allow fresh working models. 5G will enable manufacturers to create smart factories with network features that are crucial for manufacturing that can take benefit of the evolving technology that is changing the sector.
Many companies already use IoT solutions to monitor assets in their factories, consolidate their control rooms, and increase the functionality of their analytics by installing predictive maintenance systems. Industry 4.0 will, of course, languish without the capacity to connect this equipment. While Low-Power Wide Area Networks (LPWAN) are adequate for some linked devices such as smart meters that only convey very tiny amounts of information, IoT implementation, where countless data-intensive machines are often used in close proximity, is the reverse in the production.
Another great thing about 5G concerning Industry 4.0 is how 5G increases network latency, giving apps, devices, and companies the capacity to interact in real-time, if not absolute real-time. This allows a variety of apps that may not have been accessible in the past; autonomous driving comes to mind instantly, due to the real-time nature of that specific implementation, and how that application must continuously interact with the ever-changing setting in which it is deployed.
Carriers will need to take advantage of Software-Defined Networks (SDN) to handle the capacity and scalability of 5G throughput. SDN is the only feasible way to guarantee that this extra traffic can be secured and managed by networks. Many forward-thinking organizations have already tested and deployed SDN widely as a means of reducing expenses and increasing bandwidth across their corporate networks.
In a world where traditional operator revenue is declining, Industry 4.0 is an excellent opportunity for providers seeking to increase revenue and discover applications for 5G networks that will soon be the reality.