Webinar Report: 5G for Manufacturing

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IDC and Global5G.org hosted the 5G for Manufacturing webinar on 11 July 2019, as part of the Global5G.org webinar series on vertical industries: automotive (October 2018), energy (June 2018), health (May 2018) and manufacturing (July 2019).


This webinar explores the transformation of the manufacturing sector in the era of 5G characterised by the Industry 4.0 paradigm, where physical, cybernetic, and human resources interwork closely with each other, within "smart factories" and across other parts of the supply chain, monitored and controlled by the continuous flow and analysis of operational data. Automation is a key theme in the implementation of Industry 4.0 to reduce costs while improving quality, and productivity.

Chair and Panellists

  • Daniela Rao, Senior Director Research & Consulting, IDC - Welcome & Introduction
  • Lorenzo Veronesi, Research Manager, IDC Manufacturing Insights - How 5G Can Support Transformation in Manufacturing Sector
  • Giacomo Tavola, Professor of Design and Management of Production Systems, Milan University of Technology - 5G for Manufacturing
  • Marcela Alzin, Program Manager, 5G-ACIA Member, HMS Labs - How 5G Can Support Transformation in the Manufacturing Sector?
  • Daniela Rao, IDC - Q&A with panellists

Main takeaways:

#1 – Networks at the core of Industry 4.0 implementations. A reliable communication layer capable is needed to cope with significant increases in the number of assets, a variety of information and reaction times is fundamental for Industry 4.0.

#2 – Enhancements in 5G functionalities. In the next few years, 5G services will increasingly bring enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB, e.g. operations control), with ultra-reliable low-latency communications (URLLC, e.g. robot motion control) and massive machine-type communications (mMTC, e.g. sensors) 5G functionalities coming in the early 2020s.

#3 – Core 5G implementations in manufacturing. Benefits span making workers more efficient and productive, automating new areas of the production process and extending process information more pervasively throughout the supply chain. Examples include mission-critical site connectivity, product connectivity, process optimisation, remote and centralised operations, worker augmentation.

#4 - Industry 4.0 and Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC). In Manufacturing, most application deployments will be based on the adoption of MEC (Multi-access Edge Computing) architecture, where the 5G network virtualised structure allows relocation of critical application components closer to the user domain (inside the 5G network), reducing latency and increasing reliability.

#5 – Challenges for 5G adoption. 5G adoption in Manufacturing industry will be challenging and inextricably linked to the digitisation of automation processes. For manufacturers, key open questions are related to reliability in industrial environments and "brownfield" transformation, as well as tangible benefits of a gradual transition from existing networks to 5G adoption.


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