5G Network Connectivity Will Drive IoT Adoption
The Internet of Things (IoT) has brought about greater connectivity across many facets of life. Organizations are embracing IoT connected devices for the empowerment of more insightful solutions. Whether it is a pacemaker or a network of connected devices in a large manufacturing plant or office, IoT solutions are highly dependent on internet connectivity. Though IoT solutions are decreasing in cost and providing greater value, poor connectivity has long been a concern for certain corners of the market. Processes which are mission-critical or tied to safety cannot suffer from latency or security issues.
5G is looking set to be the next steppingstone to IoT adoption at scale. It provides significantly faster internet connectivity than the existing 4G LTE infrastructure, enabling more network traffic and reduced response latency with the cloud and between devices. However public 5G infrastructure deployments are not likely to be the answer in the near-term. It will take at least a few more years to provide widescale coverage. In addition, communication experts predict that high frequency 5G, which has the greatest bandwidth for data, will struggle to penetrate buildings.
This presents an opportunity for private 5G networks. Private 5G provides localised cellular connectivity, with organisations deploying this secure network for a single or group of facilities, sites or campuses. Private 5G networks can empower edge computing solutions to execute IoT-enabled actions reliably and in real-time. Edge computing also adds an added layer of security, allowing data to remain on-premise, whilst providing edge-level capabilities similar to that of a cloud-based solution.
The past year has seen numerous product launches focused on private 5G networks. Ericsson is partnering with Telstra to develop an enterprise edge computing solution, following a successful 5G edge computing trial in 2019. IBM recently announced a partnership with Samsung, with a view to combining its edge solutions with Samsung’s 5G equipment. In 2020, Volkswagen outlined plans to construct private 5G networks in 122 factories in Germany. BMW have highlighted a similar plan for their worldwide plant portfolio.
Manufacturing plants have a high potential upside from the implementation of 5G and edge computing. Private 5G networks can enable plants to adopt more robotics and process automation technologies for improved plant operation. Commercial landlords are also starting to implement private 5G as an angle of differentiation for their buildings. For example, Verizon recently announced plans to implement in-building 5G at ten WeWork locations across the US, providing access to 5G networks for private firms.
To learn more about edge computing developments in the smart building space, please see Edge Computing Must Become Part Of Smart Building Vendors’ Technology Roadmaps