I started working with techUK in the Advanced Communications Services working group (previously known as the 5G Ecosystem working group) just over two years ago, with a goal of bringing together different organisations within the communications industry to find new ways to use the capabilities of 5G , WiFi and other technologies, beyond the speed increases which dominate consumer advertising headlines. These capabilities include mission-critical, low-latency services including manufacturing and logistics, and applications, where masses of individual devices may need to be tracked and monitored, such as cities, medical settings, and shopping centres.
2022 now presents a unique opportunity for the accelerated adoption of private networks. Last month, during their Future Private Networks campaign week, techUK published Private Networks: a new user guide, which explores how 4G, 5G, Wi-Fi and satellite communications have been used to deliver a wide range of innovative testbeds and proof-of-concepts for enhanced private networks for enterprise and the public sector.
The guide explains how private network adoption will enable new and transformative technologies to help businesses unlock significant added value over the next decade.
It also describes how deploying a new private network can enable a wider set of benefits through digital transformation:
- Increased productivity and efficiency: private networks can unlock intelligence for enterprise through sensory networks. Capturing data in real time, an operational model of a factory enables predictive maintenance, identifying fixes to reduce downtime and help reduce costs.
- Advanced applications: linking an advanced private network with cloud-based IT/OT infrastructure enables several digital applications and services to be unlocked. These include wide-area mobility for autonomous and remote-controlled operations, from smart manufacturing, the use of drones and autonomous vehicles, AI, machine vision, edge computing and augmented reality.
- Internet of Things: deploying a new ecosystem of connected IoT devices is more viable for businesses. IoT technology enables manufacturers to increase the number of sensors fitted to equipment, collect more data, and measure more variables. This data collection and analysis can enable necessary maintenance to be carried out in a scheduled way, reducing downtime and minimising the impact of repairs on a factory’s performance. IoT sensor technology can be used across multiple industry sectors.
- Safety: the mobility benefits of dedicated private networks mean increased worker safety, especially in challenging or hazardous environments, including ports, mines, and off-shore facilities. Bespoke connectivity solutions designed to operate in hazardous locations ensure radio and phone communication, help control bandwidth for worker communication and can integrate safety and maintenance apps into operational systems.
The guide showcases use cases in:
- Liverpool - where 5G was used to deliver improvements to digitally deprived communities
- Basingstoke - where a 5G private network was used to turbo charge innovation and development
- Southampton - where work has begun to transform the port into a Smart Port
- Manufacturing - where the 5G-ENCODE project is developing business cases to improve manufacturing efficiency by getting diverse equipment to work together
- Aerospace - where Wi-Fi 6 is being used to enhance manufacturing processes of critical aircraft components.
- Operational productivity
- Improvements in security and data governance
- Innovation in products and services.
The report highlights the greatest opportunities for 5G in manufacturing, healthcare, transportation and retail sectors.
The evidence of how 5G and Wi-Fi private networks can bring huge benefits to business and their customers, is now all around us. When will you take the next step and look at the opportunities it can open up for you?
Find out more about CGI’s expertise in 5G Private Networks.