Editor's comment: Made in 5G – industrial 5G for #UKMFG

Author : Mark Gradwell | Editor | EPDT

04 November 2019

Digital Catapult Made in 5G report_580x280.png
Digital Catapult Made in 5G report_580x280.png

A few weeks ago, I attended an event to learn more about Digital Catapult’s Made in 5G report, its paper on “Industrial 5G” for the UK manufacturing sector.

This editorial was originally featured in the November 2019 issue of EPDT magazine [read the digital issue]. Sign up to receive your own copy each month.

Hosted at its Euston Road offices in the heart of London’s burgeoning Knowledge Quarter – with spectacular views over The British Library, St Pancras and The Alan Turing Institute (the UK’s national institute for data science & AI) – as well as insight from the Catapult itself, the event included talks from Rockwell Automation, Cisco and Microsoft on the latest trends in advanced digital technology for UK manufacturing...

Digital Catapult is one of nine Catapult centres, a network of world-leading centres of excellence, established and part-funded (with additional commercial investment) by Innovate UK (part of UKRI), and “designed to transform the UK’s capability for innovation in specific areas and help drive future economic growth”. In practical terms, the Catapults connect large established companies, start-ups and the research community to help accelerate adoption of technologies. Each Catapult is a company limited by guarantee, separate from Innovate UK and controlled by its own Board and Executive Management team (Digital Catapult’s Chair is Professor Juergen Maier CBE, UK CEO of Siemens and co-chair of the Made Smarter Commission). Other Catapults include High Value Manufacturing, Connected Places and Compound Semiconductor Applications.

Digital Catapult focuses on advanced digital technologies for two broad industry sectors, creative & media, and manufacturing, logistics & supply chain – and across three main technology domains:

•  AI (artificial intelligence) and ML (machine learning)

•  Immersive technologies (including VR – virtual reality and AR – augmented reality)

•  Digital infrastructure and future networks – mainly 5G and IoT

As well as providing insight and expertise across these areas, helping solve problems, increase productivity and open up new markets faster, the Catapult also provides physical and digital facilities for testing and experimentation that would otherwise not be accessible for smaller companies. In this way, it breaks down barriers to technology adoption for start-ups, de-risks innovation for larger enterprises and uncovers new commercial opportunities.

Mark Gradwell, Editor, EPDT
Mark Gradwell, Editor, EPDT

In July, Digital Catapult launched its report, Made in 5G, a research paper on the impact of 5G on the UK’s manufacturing sector, uncovering the potential of 5G technology for industry and setting out recommendations to tackle connectivity challenges. The paper was supported by UK5G and created in partnership with Digital Catapult’s 5G in Manufacturing Working Group (which includes Ofcom, GAMBICA, The Manufacturing Technologies Association, Ericsson, Nokia, Huawei, BAE Systems and P&G), and it draws on new primary research direct from the UK’s manufacturing industries and 5G technology providers, outlining the main challenges to 5G adoption for industry, and setting out recommendations for the UK’s manufacturing industries and their supply chains. The report consolidates and categorises use cases for 5G in manufacturing into three clusters:

1. On-site and in-factory production optimisation

2. Monitoring and management of goods across the supply chain

3. Connected goods: product lifecycle management (including end-of-life)

Made in 5G addresses each use case in turn, describing the various applications and their benefits, as well as 5G capabilities that enable them. It then goes on to evaluate the connectivity requirements driven by industrial digitalisation – and assess how well these are addressed by various connectivity solutions, including 5G. Case studies help provide context and show the benefits industrial 5G can bring to UK manufacturing. The report also considers barriers to deployment – and how to overcome them, before making a series of recommendations to address current challenges to 5G adoption.

While starting from the assumption that industrial 5G has the potential to unlock ROI as UK manufacturing undergoes digital transformation, Made in 5G recognizes that adoption will not be possible without committed collaboration between manufacturers and connectivity providers. It recommends UK manufacturing claim its place at the 5G table, engaging and experimenting to first learn about 5G, before driving development of the technology to help shape the solutions it needs for its sector.

Find out more at: www.digicatapult.org.uk/news-and-views/publication/made-in-5g-a-step-change-for-manufacturers/

EPDT November’s issue contains features on RF & Microwave technologies & Medical applications. Read more on what's inside EPDT this month...

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