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3 Steps for manufacturers to get ready for 5G

3 Steps for manufacturers to get ready for 5G
5G network technology has been launched for commercial use. More deployments for industrial IoT are expected in 2020. As manufacturers who would like to deploy a 5G network. How can these manufactures get ready for adopting the new technology?

5G commercial networks have been launched in several countries worldwide. In the industrial setting, some trials have been conducted this year, and more deployments are about to happen in 2020. A 5G network offers scalability, capacity and reliability to industrial connected devices. Applications such as process monitoring, automated guided vehicles, motion control and safety functions in industrial applications will be widely deployed under the new technology. Before manufacturers commit to embedding a 5G network, however, there are still some preparation steps for them to follow.

Step 1: Ensure interoperability

“5G in a factory requires change of thinking in the manufacturing community because the system architecture will be quite different, and this is also connected with substantial investments,” said Jens Jakobsen, HMS Labs Development Manager, HMS Networks. Greenfield installation is of course easier than brownfield installations, since manufacturers don’t need to make the new system work with the existing deployment. Therefore, ensuring interoperability with current systems will be the first step for manufacturers to achieve before building up the new network architecture.

Step 2: Private or public network

“Companies must make a decision if they want to have a private network and thus rent part of the spectrum and manage it, or if they will make use of 5G over public network and share the spectrum with other tenants,” said Jakobsen. Private 5G network for enterprises does sound attractive for them, suggested Jakobsen, but their operation related to regulatory issues would need to be solved.

Companies would also need to consider the balance between 5G and other existing networks. “For the most demanding factory deployments a private 5G systems will be the right choice. For less demanding situations, however, WLAN and Bluetooth might be sufficient,” said Jakobsen. Enterprises who would like to build a private 5G network can already start the project now. “Since Ericsson radio is software upgradeable to 5G, we recommend all industries to start now with 4G since our infrastructure is future proof and we switch on 5G when use cases and an ecosystem is available,” said Erik Josefsson, Vice President & Head of Advanced Industries, Ericsson.

Step 3: Mentally ready for changes and new businesses

Most of the time, technology isn’t the problem, and it cuts out human errors, but those errors still occur when tasks are completed manually. For manufacturers who want to adopt a 5G network, the deployment is difficult not due to the complexity of technology, but due to people who are working on it. “People are sometimes afraid of change and this is a technical digitalization enabler for new wave of automation and new value. It is usually not the technology that is the limiting factor. It is more often culture and willingness of change,” said Josefsson. People are able to solve most things technically, but companies struggle in their organization and business transformation. Implementing a new network standard requires everyone in the company to take part.

“New services require an entirely new way of selling the products. The sales force must be compensated accordingly, and management must be ready to cannibalize on their own business as new business models are implemented,” said Jon Lindén, CEO of Ekkono Solutions. “Eventually, the brave who adapt to the new conditions and grab the opportunities, will be the ones who prevail.”

5G for IIoT to be ready by Q2 2020

“5G is expected to bring a paradigm shift in network architectures, the industries that are focusing on 5G applications, must form strategic partnerships and collaboration with service providers for efficient utilization of 5G technology,” said Akshay Deshpande, Senior Research Analyst at MarketsandMarkets Research. “Moreover, not all applications (especially LPWAN devices) would require 5G-type services, and 5G services would incur a high upfront cost,” suggested Deshpande. 3GPP Release 16, which focuses on 5G for vertical industries, will be published in the second quarter of 2020. In other words, the standardization process is still ongoing. More 5G possibilities in factories are still to come.

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