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The rapid evolution of enterprise operations

18 Jan 2022
Pier profile shot

Pier Sandro Damonte

Global Head of MNC & Corporate Propositions, Vodafone Business

In today’s environment of constant, disruptive change, being able to adapt is key for building your business’ resilience and for innovating.

The pandemic exposed us all to new challenges of strained operations, disrupted supply chains and a remote workforce.

As we strive to rebuild and ensure our organisations are fit the for future, we need to seek the tools that can help us make better, faster and more informed strategic decisions and that can manage employees’ higher expectations for safer and more supportive working environments; both in terms of tech and policies.

Making technology work together

In this context, data is the critical strategic asset.

And maximising the value of data increasingly relies on the convergence of a new generation of technologies intended to collect, analyse, distribute and automate it; such as 5G, the Internet of Things (IoT), Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC) and Mobile Private Networks (MPN).

These technologies are progressively acting in concert. Becoming accessible anywhere, at any time, they are opening new disruptive capabilities, accelerating productivity, driving operating efficiencies, and enhancing quality.

Of course, most large organisations have already invested in these technologies in some form. But it’s time to join everything up in a truly systematic way, creating a strong foundation that brings people, machines and data together.

Only then can our products, services, experiences and operational models continuously adapt to stay ahead of demand.

Ford’s smart production line

For example, working with Ford in the UK, we’re helping them experiment and innovate, nailing down how to build electric engines, before rolling out the learnings at a global level.

Building one engine for one vehicle requires over 1,000 individual welds, generating more than half a million pieces of data per minute. This data needs to be analysed in real-time to check for any adjustments that are required.

Fast, reliable and high capacity data capture is therefore a must. Using an MPN, running on 5G, Ford has an ultra-reliable, ultra-low latency and highly secure communication network capable of crunching all the data generated in the welding process.

Meanwhile, any issues identified from this data analysis can be addressed almost instantly, meaning changes to the production line can be easily made – reducing defective products that cost time and money.

In the immediate future, 5G MPN will be extended to further potential applications, including untethered robots completing repetitive tasks, AI systems monitoring and running predictive maintenance and engineers able to assist remotely using augmented reality (AR).

As we move to Smart Operations to reduce costs, enhance efficiency and innovation and improve field workers’ safety, it’s time to look at how we can interconnect technologies and work smarter, not harder.

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