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Industrial 5G: A Crucial Catalyst for the Development of Industry 5.0

Industrial 5G: A Crucial Catalyst for the Development of Industry 5.0
As Industry 5.0 continues to emerge as a new era of innovation, the question arises: how can this next generation of industry rely on 5G to create a fully interconnected industrial ecosystem? (AdobeStock)

Private 5G networks are being increasingly used by manufacturers who require improved connectivity for effective communication, as well as enhanced security features necessary for handling complex data transfers. Regardless of the industry, IoT has become an essential tool for monitoring data and streamlining processes within companies. As Industry 5.0 continues to emerge as a new era of innovation, the question arises: how can this next generation of industry rely on 5G to create a fully interconnected industrial ecosystem?

Content provided by Bernardo Cabrera, Director of the Objenious Business Unit, the IoT branch of Bouygues Telecom

Industry and Network: Simultaneous Developments

In only a few decades, mobile telephony skyrocketed – from a fledgling 2G to 5G. It generated directly or indirectly many transformations, not only in consumer usage but also in the industrial landscape. While 2G enabled mobile voice communication, improving accessibility for all users, 3G gave access to the mobile internet, paving the way for faster data exchanges and mobile applications emergence. These two networks, on which the majority of the French IoT are based, enabled IoT wider adoption. The arrival of 4G then favored new, hitherto more complex uses, meeting the need for higher throughput (particularly for connected objects using video or voice via VoLTE) and improved network security.

In recent years, 5G has been viewed as the pinnacle of technological evolution. While the public has quickly adopted 5G for personal use, its adoption within the business sector is still in the developmental stages. However, some businesses and operators are not waiting for its widespread adoption and are instead developing private 5G networks that can be installed by specific requests. This development is already thriving across the industrial sector. These exclusive networks cater to the unique demands of businesses, providing customized solutions for security, bandwidth, and connectivity needs, while creating fully connected production environments.

Although the adoption of 5G carries promising prospects, the industrial sector is not yet fully prepared to take full advantage of the technology. This can, in large part, be attributed to a maturity gap that still exists within the sector. To overcome these challenges, the French government has launched a supportive 5G roll-out plan with significant public funding being allocated. Nevertheless, the collaborative efforts between industry players and 5G operators remain vital in accelerating technology adoption and the potential release of untapped capabilities.

The Importance of 5G as a Technological Catalyst

5G technology offers significant advantages in terms of connectivity. Its speed, which can be up to ten times faster than previous networks, enables instant data transfers and smoother internet browsing. Simultaneously, it can connect many devices, promoting growth in both the Internet of Things and advanced technologies, including Artificial Intelligence and industrial automation.

In the industrial sector, 5G’s superior connectivity offers endless possibilities for operational optimization. Real-time data collection on equipment, processes, and the supply chain enables proactive monitoring, predictive maintenance, and performance optimization. At the same time, machine coordination and real-time communication facilitate responsive decision-making, creating a more agile industry overall.

However, while businesses are becoming more efficient, connectivity increases underline a major challenge for the industry: safety. As industrial systems become more exposed, they are more vulnerable to cyberattacks. To address this issue, 5G, and especially private 5G, offers advanced security solutions, such as network segmentation to isolate critical equipment, strengthened encryption, robust authentication, detection, and encryption, and more.

5G Operators as Technology Partners

As the industrial sector goes through a profound transformation and faces new challenges, the role of operators as technological partners within Industry 5.0 becomes increasingly crucial—for both the adoption of technology and the implementation of operational and security measures.

By working closely with manufacturers, 5G operators can meet their specific needs for connectivity, performance, and security, and provide customized solutions to accommodate the latest applications. Establishing partnerships between operators and manufacturers enables technical expertise to be leveraged, facilitating the adoption of 5G technology and fostering joint innovation to drive growth and operational efficiency within the industry.

The future of 5G in manufacturing looks promising. In the coming months and years, the 5G integration with other emerging technologies – such as AI, augmented reality, and blockchain, will create even more advanced industrial solutions. High-value-added services like industrial automation and smart logistics will generate new revenue streams and drive innovation within existing business models, helping to boost competitiveness.

5G technology offers significant advantages and provides new opportunities, particularly in the 5.0 Industry. To fully leverage these potential benefits, it is critical to pursue close collaboration between operators and industrial players to better understand new challenges and confidently embrace 5G. The application of advanced connectivity and network infrastructure within the industrial sector holds immense potential for innovation and progress, on par with Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. As a result, the market is at a pivotal turning point, presenting an abundance of opportunities for technological and economic development that we must keep a close eye on.