5G In The Supply Chain: This Is How The Supply Chain Is Turned Inside Out

The 5G cellular standard is a revelation for logistics: every element of an intelligent supply chain can deliver and control data in real-time. This offers new opportunities for innovators and startups.

Deutsche Telekom is making tens of thousands of cell phone antennas fit for 5G. The new mobile communications standard is already available in some metropolitan areas; campus networks supply university and company premises with 5G. Cell phone users are happy about this, but it is a breakthrough above all for industry: 5G enables production, logistics, and mobile applications that one only dared to dream of a few years ago. The industry is discussing what the disruption of the supply chain will look like at events such as Hypermotion Frankfurt (14-16 September 2021) and Hypermotion Dubai(02-04 November 2021). But what does 5G Offer for mobility and logistics?

5G: More Than Just A Higher Data Rate

Smartphone users enjoy the fact that 5G enables mobile data throughput that even puts the Internet connection at home in the shade. Finally, smooth streaming in 4K and downloads of large software packages in a few seconds. However, other advantages make 5G a critical industrial technology.

  • Latency: With 5G, response times can be reduced to a single-digit millisecond range. This is important for networked means of transport that have to be quick to react and precision work in factories or telemedicine.
  • Energy Requirement: Compared to LTE, 5G only uses one-thousandth energy for data transmission. This enables the construction of tiny 5G modules since the power storage can be dimensioned smaller.
  • Bone Density: Anyone who has ever looked for a cellular network in a stadium full of people knows the problem: The 4G network only allows 10,000 connections per square kilometer. With 5G, there will be a million connections. This opens the door to a dense Internet of Things and enables countless devices to communicate in a confined space.
  • Connection stability: 5G achieves better room coverage than WLAN and thus avoids dead corners in which the connection is lost.
  • Flexibility: 5G can work on different frequency bands, depending on the application requirements regarding latency, range, and data throughput.

Revolution For The Supply Chain

Thanks to its properties, the new cellular standard also has what it takes to become an objective standard for all networked mobile objects. 5G makes the Internet of Things huge. The difference between 4G and 5G is like crawling and walking in humans.

Machine-to-machine communication (M2M) is becoming more reliable, faster, and more closely interlinked. In a smart factory, driverless transport systems bring parts from the warehouse to the workplaces. They communicate and process the data in real-time. Processing stations that are mobile and flexible can be converted for production more quickly via 5G and thus work in line with market needs. Faults in production are reported comprehensively and promptly, making them easier to rectify.

Networked household appliances also report their status and a possible need to a service provider or supplier in the smart home. The fridge and pantry let you know when cheese and coffee need to be reordered, and the heating system recommends maintenance. Thanks to 5G, data traffic is reliable and economical.

Products with sensors and 5G modules can be tracked and controlled in real-time across the entire supply chain. In this way, losses due to incorrect deliveries can be significantly reduced. Delivery robots and delivery drones that will increasingly be used in the future will also move with better navigation with a lower risk of accidents thanks to 5G.

5G allows every link in the supply chain to collect a large amount of data, forward it and receive newly processed data. The systems can be monitored in real-time, and the goods and products can be tracked on their way at any time. This enables companies to control the supply chain in a more agile and efficient manner. This makes just-in-time deliveries easier to plan and carry out.

Safer On The Move With 5G

The 5G standard also opens up significant opportunities in mobility. Under the keyword Car2X (“Car-to-Everything”), cars will communicate in the future with all the correspondingly technically equipped surrounding traffic infrastructure – traffic signs, traffic lights, construction site barriers, other vehicles. Thus, semi-autonomous or autonomously driving cars constantly receive live data from the environment and adapt their driving style to the situation. Radio technology can detect danger spots long before the onboard radar, lidar, and camera systems, such as the end of a traffic jam behind a hilltop or an ambulance crossing at the next intersection.

With 5G, this vehicle communication will be more reliable, responsive, and accurate, and available across the board. The high data transfer rate also enables high-resolution, detailed maps for autonomous driving. However, the 5G radio standard favored by BMW and Daimler competes with the WLANp specially developed for cars, on which Volkswagen, Renault, and Toyota, for example, rely. For instance, VW has equipped the Golf 8 with WLANp as standard but remains open to retrofitting 5G compatibility later if the possible uses increase.

The decisive factor for increasing comfort and safety in private transport over the next few years will not be the radio standard, but the question of its distribution: only if enough road users – motorists, cyclists, pedestrians – are ready to provide their precise live location data, an autonomous and accident-free flow of traffic can arise. Here, too, new solutions could do without the smartphone and use 5G modules integrated into bicycle frames and clothing.

Mobility And Logistics Offer Fields Of Activity For Startups.

Companies are still experimenting, and mobile operators are only slowly beginning to understand the new needs and opportunities emerging in the 5G industry. Small plug-and-play 5G modules for machines, sensors, or autonomous vehicles are in development. Services for the integration and maintenance of 5G ecosystems are in demand. Not only big companies play a role here, but also innovators from startups.

Ideas and concepts for 5G applications in the supply chain will be presented at Hypermotion Frankfurt (14-16 September 2021) and Hypermotion Dubai  (02-04 November 2021). The exhibitors show special applications and solutions for 5G-controlled mobility and logistics and discuss with experts and interested audiences at the fair.

Also Read : 5G – Impact On Municipalities

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