Digital Transformation with 5G Technology
Published by : Industrial Automation
Digital Transformation with 5G Technology will go into the mainstream in 2021 across the world, predicts Darshana Thakkar.
The year 2020 has become the year of the highest disruption in the life of human beings and the area of business across the globe. Because of pandemic Covid-19, life and business practices have been changed drastically. The rural population of India, who has the least access to technology for many reasons, is becoming adaptable in terms of technology in personal and professional life.
Lockdown, limited resources for life and business, restrictions on gatherings, restrictions on travel – both business and personal – and social distancing are the many reasons that have changed the mind-sets of people in adopting the technology.
Digital technologies like video calling, video conferences, online business meetings, online social gathering, online healthcare, online purchasing, online payment, online education, online game, and online exhibitions are becoming a part of life in the new normal. This shows the evolution of technology in India. From being a medium of limited engagement and entertainment, the internet has evolved into a platform of unlimited enablement and empowerment.
Resistance to change has been reduced drastically among the people across the global boundaries. People became resilient to adopt new technology.
What is the single factor helping for such a huge change?
Our country has become a data hunger country. The 4G technology has been proved as a blessing for the people. On an average, people are now using 4G data on daily basis for the diverse requirements of life and business.
What is the next revolution?
Over the past 40 years, the global telecom industry has moved to classify various generations of radio network technology in 10-year development increments. 5G represents the fifth generation of this mobile technology development cycle.
The ongoing situation due to the Covid-19 pandemic has led to an increased focus on automation to drive business continuity and revive the Indian economy. Furthermore, the ban and refusal for Chinese products and apps, has acted as a catalyst for India to look towards developing a high-tech ecosystem indigenously. Keeping technology at the centre of all operations, 5G is the next-big-thing in enabling digital communications.
The pandemic has accelerated the demand for high-speed data. This is encouraging the companies in India to launch 5G technology at a fast pace. The consumer-base is eager to adopt the technological transition in 5G technology.
Leading telecom companies of India have already planned to launch the 5G in India in 2021. Few mobile manufacturers have also started manufacturing 5G handsets in the affordable and premium category.
India is today among the best digitally connected nations in the world. To maintain this lead, policy steps are needed to accelerate the early rollout of 5G and to make it affordable and available everywhere. “I assure you that JIO will pioneer the 5G revolution in India in the second half of 2021. It will be powered by the indigenous-developed network, hardware, and technology components,” Mukesh Ambani has said in his recent speech.
While average people see 5G as a technical upgrade to 4G, but the next-generation wireless system is expected to be a major building block of the fourth industrial revolution, also known as Industry 4.0, will accelerate the automation of traditional industries.
The government of India is in discussion with the departments of defence, space and the broadcasting ministry over the 5G spectrum, and the announcement on the availability of the radio waves for the next generation of 5G technology would be made shortly.
As the government has missed the deadline to roll out the 5G service in 2020, the telecom players have been demanding that the spectrum be made available at the earliest so that they can start providing the next generation 5G services.
In an era of intense volatility due to shorter business and product lifecycles, manufacturing companies around the globe are under extreme pressure. Margins are being squeezed more than ever as components increasingly become more diverse and production become a complex process, workforces are aging and becoming costlier to maintain continuity with efficiency.
Competitiveness is everything to manufacturers and a much-needed increase in efficiency and profitability will have to be achieved through new process innovations. This includes, for example, the continued automation of the business process across the sectors. Robotic manufacturing and robotic support function management will require to sustain. In India abundance of labour are available but efficiency and reliability reduced drastically due to adverse working condition and current restriction forced by the pandemic. 5G and IoT together will be key to enhancing and enabling these advances in manufacturing. Contribution of 5G technology in quick adoption of automation and digitalisation in all the sectors of manufacturing, process industry, and service industry will be remarkable.
5G networks offer manufacturers and telecom operators the chance to build smart factories and truly take advantage of technologies such as automation, artificial intelligence, augmented reality for troubleshooting, and the Internet of Things (IoT).
With the help of emerging technologies, the industry will transform following major sectors completely in the way they operate and do business.
1. Real Estate
The real estate sector, which is far behind in adopting technology and has for a long time been known for its offline operations, is set to transform itself with the advent of 5G technology. In its new avatar, virtual property tours using AR/VR technologies, as well as 3D printed models of homes will be a reality. Digital marketing and sale of properties will also enhance with this technology. Powered by stable and fast networks with lower latency, 5G will also ensure the smooth functioning of various stages of the design process to include 3D architectural visualisation. Collaborative meetings with various stakeholders ensure the smooth functioning of the operations.
In this emerging technological world, scientific farming techniques are being used to boost productivity in farms. These include the use of Agri-IoT sensors for soil monitoring, water management, smart irrigation, crop health monitoring, drone-based farm management, etc. Deployment of 5G networks across this sector will accelerate the adaptability of technology in the agri sector.
The healthcare industry will immensely benefit from 5G networks. Because of the pandemic, the use of online consultations and telemedicine is increasing exponentially. A reliable and faster internet connection is critical to effectively deliver remote healthcare services. The low latency and faster speeds which are the main feature of 5G will help in time-critical telemedicine applications such as remote surgery and remote patient monitoring, etc. Hospitals also transmit large amounts of patient data including large files like CT Scans and MRIs. Some hospitals in the UK, China, and South Korea have started installing private Enterprise 5G solutions to support their IT networks.
5G brings with it unprecedented speed and connectivity to make autonomous, or self-driving cars a reality. An autonomous car is expected to produce up to 25 GB of data per hour. Current networks will not be able to handle such large volumes of real-time data. 5G networks will allow faster-than-ever communication and real-time data processing between vehicles, networks, infrastructure, and even pedestrians.
The manufacturing or industrial sector is becoming more and more autonomous. High-speed connectivity is needed to monitor and direct robots working on the factory floor. Additionally, many factories are becoming more ‘smart’ with IoT sensors being installed across the factory, sharing real-time updates to a central server. 5G technologies can provide network characteristics that are vital for the manufacturing industry. This technology will allow for increased flexibility, lower costs, and smaller lead times for layout changes and alterations at the manufacturing units, factory floor production reconfiguration, etc.
Because of the pandemic followed by social restrictions, the education sector from entry-level to high school and university level has become online and virtual. Reliability and speed of the network is a major challenge for these emerging digital sectors. In the rural area of the country, it is more challenging to conduct or attend an online study. But the various virtual learning platforms have made it possible to study from anywhere and anytime. This will again increase the demand for high speed and reliable network in post-Covid era also.
7. Work from home/Remote working
The Covid-19 pandemic has opened the door to work from home. Many organisations are allowing work from home and no surprise this will become a regular practice in many circumstances even after the threat of Covid-19 subsides. Remote working will help the organisation in saving fixed office expenses as well. These will again increase the demand for the high-speed mobile network.
To sum up, 5G is assured to aid manufacturing/production operations, helping them to become more efficient, while also refining security and reducing maintenance and operating costs. 5G will become the central nervous system of the factory of the future.
5G technology is an upcoming revolution, which promises to bring advantages in every aspect of human life, right from manufacturing to real estate and from products and services to experiences!
Darshana Thakkar is MSME Transformation Specialist and Founder, Transformation – The Strategy Hub. An Electrical Engineer followed by MBA – Operations with rich industry experience, Darshana is an expert in transformation, cost reduction, and utilisation of resources. She has invested 25 years in Transforming Micro and Small Enterprises, and is passionate to dig out the hidden cost from the organisation and implement appropriate strategic action to achieve lasting transformation in terms of improved bottom line and profitability.
Darshana works with businesses that are looking for sustainable profitability and growth in the globally competitive environment with ever-increasing cost and customer expectations. She is providing handholding to MSME in the following ways:
- To define a strategic growth path
- To establish Marketing and Customer support strategy and plan
- To develop an operational process for various functions in line with organisational culture
- Organisational restructuring and strategic planning across the function of the organisation – Planning, Procurement, Production, Stores, Marketing, Accounts, and HR
- Effective resources Utilization: Material, Machines, Manpower, Money, Time, Date & Technology
- Training of business function to improve employee performance, and
- A catalyst for Automation and Digital Transformation of the organisation.
- Apart from this, Darshana is passionate to support the start-up ecosystem of our country. She is associated with CED, Government of Gujarat as Expert Business function faculty in the Entrepreneurship development program, as faculty for industrial subjects in Second Generation program (SGP), and as a start-up mentor and member of the start-up selection committee in the incubation centre set up by CED.