Many consumers recognize the benefits 5G networks provide, but enterprise adoption may prove even more consequential across the global economy.
The enterprise 5G market was valued at $2.1 billion in 2021 and is expected to grow to $10.9 billion by 2027, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 31.8%, according to MarketsandMarkets.
5G enables workflows to happen over wireless connections that were only previously possible using wired connections. See below for six case studies on how company are using enterprise 5G enterprise technology:
See more: The Enterprise 5G Market
Ericsson partnered with Audi in 2018 to bring the next generation of 5G-powered automation to automotive factories. The core of the mission was to show what 5G ultra-reliable low-latency communication (URLLC) could deliver to the factory floor, in a setting where delays, stoppages, and quality lapses are costly.
5G URLLC will help bring features to Internet of Things (IoT) networks that were previously only available with costly and sprawling wired systems. The most valuable benefit for Audi and other automakers is 5G URLLC’s remarkably low latency, which will allow humans and robots to work more closely and harmoniously together. For example, ceasing motion before a collision requires fast reflexes that only 5G can enable wirelessly.
Flexibility is another significant advantage of this kind of 5G build out. Ericsson says of Audi’s 5G deployment, “Freeing automated machines from wires significantly increases the flexibility, mobility, and efficiency of a production line, as robot cells using a wired network connection are restricted in terms of where they can be placed on the factory floor.”
5G solution: Ericsson 5G URLLC IoT deployment
- Simplified on-premises networking infrastructure
- Laid the foundation for more widespread automation in automotive factories
- Allows humans and robots to work safely together without injury or work stoppages
2. Lifeway Singapore
Lifeway Singapore (LWS) was founded in 2018 and soon after partnered with Epsilon to meet its enterprise 5G needs. LWS is a provider of enterprise-level IT products and services, including maintenance, cybersecurity, networking, and hardware architecture.
LWS recognized that its clients were demanding 5G like never before. As a result, it sought a partner that could provide it with the reliable infrastructure it needed to test 5G applications for its services and scale its operations to satisfy emerging client requirements.
For example, LWS is now using Epsilon’s 5G colocation services in several time zones – including London, New York, and Singapore. The combination of 5G and colocation has expanded LWS’ presence in some of the world’s most digitally connected and innovative business environments. IT innovation moves at the speed of light, and companies need to be there to meet it.
Industry: Enterprise IT
Use case: Epsilon 5G-based data center interconnect (DCI), remote peering, colocation
- Gained a stable 5G testing environment for product launches and expansions
- 5G colocation and remote peering services allow scaling as needed
- LWS is better prepared to meet its clients’ demands
3. State Grid
One of the first implementations of the 5G network in the electricity sector was in April 2019. China Telecom Jiangsu and the State Grid Corp. of China (SGCC) demonstrated that 5G can be a missing link in smart power grids.
In this context, network slicing is where a 5G network — and in this case, a national power grid — is divided into logically arranged subnetworks. 5G network slicing relies on virtual computing to delineate between each slice. It’s expected to change how electricity is metered, delivered, and monitored, and this collaboration showed its potential at scale.
The network slicing technique demonstrated by China Telecom Jiangsu and SGCC in Nanjing helps enable more precise measurement and management of each node in a power grid. Moreover, it creates the ability to deliver multiple tiers of service-level agreements (SLAs) and makes grids more resilient. Its bidirectional flow of data and more granular approach to resource management makes dispatching precise repairs faster and easier.
Industry: Power distribution
Use case: Power slice project based on 5G SA specifications
- Closed-loop optimization of each slice enables quick adjustments to balance out service disruptions and create a consistent experience for customers
- Turning power nodes into 5G nodes enables real-time data exchanges between end users and suppliers, allowing finer control and better predictions for demand, as well as more precise repairs
See more: 5 Top Enterprise 5G Trends
Haier is one of the largest Chinese manufacturers of consumer electronics and appliances. It worked with Huawei, China Mobile, and GSMA in 2020 to complete a proof of concept involving 5G, computer vision, and assembly facilities.
Stainless-steel appliances can collect dents and scratches as they move through the production process. Until now, Haier and similar companies relied on manual inspections using human QC specialists.
Huawei, GSMA, and China Mobile built a 5G multi-access edge-computing (MEC) system right into the Haier factory. Combined with an algorithm trained on QC data, this edge-computing machine-vision system inspects fridges right off the assembly line. It identifies defects nearly instantly and relays the necessary data in real-time, while returning the product to assembly.
Industry: Consumer electronics and home appliances
Use case: 5G edge computing and computer vision inspection system
- Automated QC inspections using industrial cameras, high-quality lighting, and machine vision algorithms
- Removal of human interventions from the QC process reduces the time required for product inspections after assembly
- 5G connectivity keeps each area of the factory in sync and alerts relevant stakeholders or specialists when defects are detected
5. Worcester Bosch
Worcester Bosch operates one of the U.K.’s first factories running a private 5G network. The company is best known for its residential boilers.
Worcester Bosch’s primary aim in rolling out this infrastructure was twofold. Decision makers wanted to create a system that watched over fabrication and assembly machines in real-time through embedded sensors. They also wanted them to warn workers when collisions with vehicles or machines were imminent.
A private 5G network has the benefit of higher security than a public one. Moreover, the speed and low latency allow factories like Worcester Bosch’s to monitor their own performance. Equipment that’s faltering or compromising quality will trip the IoT sensors with predictive maintenance cues, like overheating or unusual vibrations or sounds. This makes failure and manufacturing stoppages far less likely than without IoT and predictive maintenance.
Worcester Bosch’s CEO, Carl Arntzen, says this about their digital transformation: “We are using this innovative 5G testbed to pioneer secure Industry 4.0 use cases in the areas of preventive maintenance and robotics to drive productivity. These require large numbers of sensors and high network availability, hence our interest in 5G.”
Industry: Climate control and heating system maintenance
Use case: 5G preventive maintenance system
- Proactively detect impending machine problems and intervene before failure
- Predictive and preventive maintenance allows factories to perform their work without interruption and with fewer staff members
- Improves on-premises cybersecurity compared to public 5G or Wi-Fi network
6. Fraunhofer IPT
Fraunhofer IPT and Ericsson collaborated recently on a project with 5G implications for the manufacturing industry. The project involves the fabrication of bladed disks, or BLISKs, used in engines and turbines. Defects in BLISK manufacturing result in accidents and deaths annually, including one high-profile plane crash in Pensacola, where a faulty BLISK interfered with the aircraft’s coolant system, according to the collaboration’s findings.
The chief problem with this type of fabrication is that milling processes are hard to monitor and appraise for quality concerns until the process is done and sometimes not even then. The solution uncovered by Fraunhofer and Ericsson uses 5G to enable real-time monitoring, data collection, and control over a previously opaque mechanical process.
5G provides the 1 millisecond response time required to act on process data as it’s gathered during metal milling. Using 5G in this capacity directly enables automation and should reduce rework in BLISK manufacturing from 25% to 15%, according to the group. In addition to greater safety, reduced rework should yield carbon dioxide reduction and could result in global industry savings of $398 million per year.
Use case: 5G real-time data collection for turbine part fabrication
- Fraunhofer IPT and Ericsson demonstrated financial, safety, and efficiency benefits stemming from 5G network milling equipment and IoT sensors
- Capture and relay minute details in the fraction of a second required for machine controls to intervene
- Expectation of fewer product defects, less rework, financial savings, and improved safety for a range of vehicles and mechanical products
See more: AT&T: Enterprise 5G Review