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The impact of 5G on supply chain management & innovation

05 Mar 2021

5G is set to change our lives in amazing ways.

In Milan, the superfast speed and ultra-low latency of the 5G network, is allowing paramedics to be continuously connected to the emergency management centre and with hospital doctors, providing a way to share patient details and symptoms before they even reach the hospital.

In the future, an IoT-enabled smart city could, with the use of 5G, reroute traffic around congestion in real time, automatically schedule repairs for failed infrastructure like street lighting or bridges, and intelligently manage energy use and pollution right across the urban environment.

It’s also transforming supply chains right now.

With 9,000 ships docking in the Port of Barcelona every year, accurate instant information on their exact whereabouts is essential for efficiency and safety. Using 5G paired with Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Edge Computing, operators at the Port of Barcelona can analyse live footage from cameras around the port as well as sensor data to manage the flow of boats. With an accurate real-time view of boat location, port pilots can navigate remotely, safely managing ship entry and dock operations.

Fast and scalable

These innovations are enabled by the key benefits of 5G: super-fast speeds, low latency, more efficiency, greater reliability and higher density IoT.

  • 5G is up to 10 times faster than 4G networks.
  • Latency is as low as 1 millisecond – opening the door to exciting ways to use this data to automatically control and manage applications.
  • And with up to one million devices per square kilometre, it is possible to connect more devices than ever before. The experience is consistent, fast and uninterrupted.

5G in the factory

It puts wireless networks at the heart of innovation – allowing you to explore wearable technology, sensors, robotics and more, in a fast, reliable and scalable way.

There’s more; combining 5G with IoT and Edge Computing will allow you to detect problems and react in real time, improving efficiency and safety. For example, using a 5G Mobile Private Network (MPN), an IoT sensor can alert a forklift driver in your warehouse if a hazard is ahead and even take evasive action, avoiding accidents and keeping the workplace safe.

BN-EfOps-Efficient-Operations-Smart-Supply FORD VIDEO

Connected wireless factories are already enabling extraordinary changes – such as the use of VR to help familiarise staff with specific equipment before it hits the shop floor. With 5G and sensors connected through IoT, factories can improve production efficiency by monitoring machinery and avoiding downtime — all of which can be supported by autonomous operations.

Dedicated 5G connectivity, via an MPN built to cover a specific location, provides the speed and reliability of a wired connection with the flexibility of mobile. Companies can then collaborate remotely, confidently sharing gigabytes of information across the network and responding faster, including quickly reconfiguring production lines.

5G in shipping

5G can also improve the tracking and visibility of shipments.

Used alongside Edge Computing, a solution that provides IT services and cloud processing at the edge of the network, 5G gives real-time responsiveness, allowing new possibilities to come to life.

It can reduce network congestion and speed up application performance, enabling connected devices to reach new levels of automation.

For example, the end-to-end solution can allow automated, robotic offloading of goods at docks to improve productivity. It can track products throughout the supply chain, and continuously share data, enabling processes to be constantly improved to meet customer needs.

It can even support delivery route optimisation, tracking items to avoid losses and deliver continuous updates on shipment status.

We all want instant gratification – whether that is immediate information about the closest parking space or next day delivery when buying online.

5G’s super-fast speeds and low latency will help businesses up and down the supply chain meet every customer expectation.

If you want to find out more about the technologies transforming supply chains and prepare yours for the future, read our smart supply chain guide.

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