In March 2022, the two global telecommunications industry giants, Vodafone and Ericsson, collaborated to develop a state-of-the-art 5G standalone network. The project involves single Radio Access Network (RAN) work for developing a high-transmission capacity network with low inertness. This is expected to enhance the microservices architecture and Vodafone’s RAN.
In the same month, two leading MNCs, Tech Mahindra and Cisco, announced their partnership for the purpose of enhancing their 5G infrastructure with the help of routed optical networking. Cisco is known for its expertise in routed optical fiber, while Tech Mahindra is an expert in software-driven 5G networks.
Both examples are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the rapid rise of 5G networking and the subsequent evolution of supporting tools and infrastructure for streamlining the next era of connectivity. 5G is expected to generate various innovations and economic growth opportunities for global companies. One of the industries that is set to register significant growth with 5G, is the industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).
What is 5G Industrial IoT?
The Industrial Internet of Things (IoT) is a network of applications, sensors, devices, and associated networking equipment that function symbiotically for monitoring, analyzing, and collecting data from various industrial activities & operations. Analysis of this data helps in enhancing the industrial facility maintenance and troubleshooting capabilities.
The integration of 5G connectivity with the industrial IoT has the potential to connect basically everything around us. 5G network is rapidly evolving to cater to the diverse requirements for IoT integration. Today, 5G networks are offering manufacturers the possibility of building smart factories and using technologies such as augmented reality (AR), artificial intelligence (AI), and the Internet of Things (IoT) to take automation and possibilities of human interaction to new heights.
Technologies based upon the Internet of Things (IoT) such as machine-to-machine communications with the application of intelligent data analytics, are having a profound effect on the growth of various industries. The global 5G IoT market is registering significant progress, due to the availability of a high-speed network that enables IoT devices to interconnect and share data at a fast speed.
Advantages and Applications of 5G Industrial IoT
Applications of 5G technology to the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) opens the door for high-speed industrial networking. It provides a myriad of possibilities, including fast-speed data transfer, low latency of the network, and high reliability of connection.
Furthermore, it facilitates the enhancement of security, improved efficiency in energy consumption, and the development of applications, that allow speedy and effective interaction with IoT equipment. This is projected to lead to increased productivity, better decision-making, and improved security & safety.
Industries that potentially benefit from the integration of 5G and IoT to a great extent, include healthcare, automotive and transportation, agriculture, security & surveillance, and retail. It is expected to have a profound impact on the development of manufacturing, utilities, transport, and healthcare. It is likely to create substantial earning possibilities for manufacturers looking to digitize their infrastructure by using 5G technology.
The healthcare industry benefits highly from this technology, as 5G network has ultra-wideband facilities, that provide high-speed and low-latency networks. Combined with edge computing, it accelerates the use of big data analytics and artificial intelligence to provide real-time diagnostic details and effective measures. It helps improve patient engagement and outcomes at a reduced cost by detecting the disease early.
As per the National Institute of Health, the use of IoT applications helps patients monitor their health and improve existing health disorders, such as irregularities in insulin levels & blood pressure, and heart disorders. In elderly care, the development of Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) applications makes it possible for healthcare professionals to remotely monitor the health conditions of elderly people or patients with chronic diseases. It also helps the patients in cases of emergency by giving quick warnings and alerting their respective doctors or caregivers of their health condition.
So where do we go from here?
5G industrial IoT is expected to register considerable growth in the coming years, owing to continuous developments in wireless technology. Unleashing the 5G IoT ecosystem potentially changes how industries operate. Lack of certain standardizations in IoT protocols and the existing dependence on 4G LTE technology prove to be a deterrent to the rapid adoption of this technology. However, the rising demand for smart devices, convenient exchange of information, and smart infrastructure solutions have the potential to increase the adoption of this technology.