How 5G-powered industrial IoT can empower manufacturers to work smarter – Canadian Manufacturing

Andrew Eppich is the Managing Director of Equinix Canada.

In recent years, manufacturers across Canada have been hearing that the eventual arrival of 5G infrastructure would revolutionize their operations. But for too long, this rang a little hollow, as Canadian telcos were lagging behind the US and EMEA in the development of its 5G infrastructure. Canadian manufacturers have been waiting for their chance to modernize their operations with innovative technology that facilitates industrial IoT tech.

Now it appears the tides are changing. Statistics from Statista show that each of the three major telcos in Canada had an increase in availability of 5G in their networks of between 7% and 17% between Q2 of 2021 and Q1 of 2022. As a result, we will soon see Canadian manufacturers begin to embrace industrial IoT in new ways.

The opportunities of 5G in Canada

While 5G technology is set to bring countless new opportunities to businesses of all kinds, there exists one major opportunity that business leaders are looking towards as they anticipate the arrival of viable 5G networks. Equinix’s 2020-2021 Global Tech Trends Survey found that 50% of business leaders named the ability to take advantage of new technologies as the biggest impact 5G would have on their business.

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As Canadian manufacturers look to tackle the new challenges in today’s business landscape, what are the technologies that 5G networks will enable?

Tackling the modern challenges of Canadian manufacturing

Before we dive into some of the technologies and processes that 5G will unlock for Canadian manufacturers, it is important we first take a look at some of the challenges that Canadian manufacturers are facing in a vastly changed business landscape today.

As an industry, Canadian manufacturing is facing rising (and seemingly ever-changing) customer expectations, a renewed need to keep pace with technological evolution, and increasingly fiercer competition.

Manufacturers of all sizes – both large and small – are being tasked with a need to respond to these changes faster than ever before. A fundamental concept that can support this need for agility and adaptability is the ability to quickly collect and analyze vital data from across your organization and then leverage that data to make decisions that drive operational efficiency.

Working smarter with 5G-powered industrial IoT

Many expect the range of opportunities 5G will provide are not fully apparent, but there does exist a few key areas that industrial IoT technology powered by 5G is set to revolutionize operations for Canadian manufacturers.

Predictive maintenance: Ensuring your assets are always up and running has the potential to significantly decrease operational expenditures. Leveraging sensors, cameras and data analytics, Canadian manufacturers can determine when a piece of equipment will fail before it does, as IoT-enabled systems leveraging the power of 5G can pinpoint warning signs, use data to create maintenance timelines, and even service equipment before problems occur, quicker and more accurately than ever before.

Monitoring supply chains: With 5G-enabled IoT, manufacturers can simplify inventory management by monitoring the supply chain and gaining a clear view of all the moving parts. With sensors and mobile devices with RFID and GPS, inventory can be tracked and alerts sent when product stock is running low. With 5G, the speed and bandwidth necessary for AI to operate these tasks is possible.

Advanced robotics: The potential of robotics and automated systems has been seriously hampered until now by the limitations of wired connectivity, but with 5G available, Canadian manufacturers can monitor and control industrial processes powered by robotics with much greater precision. With a network of sensors on your production floor, you can send a continuous stream of data to the cloud to better monitor quality, increase speed, respond to supply fluctuations, and simplify workflows.

The future of 5G in Canada

With 5G arriving in Canada and Canadian manufacturers set to revolutionize their operations with it, it will be critical to use strong digital infrastructure to create a competitive future.

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