Why manufacturers continue to explore and adopt private cellular networks
A recent study conducted by Endeavor Business Intelligence and IndustryWeek on behalf of Ericsson probed the current understanding and use of private 5G cellular networks in manufacturing. The findings unmistakably demonstrate that, while private 5G cellular networks aren’t yet widely adopted, manufacturers clearly understand their value and are increasingly and proactively investing and harnessing the full potential of its capabilities in their journey towards digital transformation.
Today’s manufacturers are at a pivotal moment in their industry. They face shifting dynamics and business priorities that are driving changes in their technological needs — particularly the demand for seamless, reliable cellular connectivity.
Connectivity in manufacturing is key to reducing labor costs, improving productivity, enabling continuous tracking, enhancing communication, addressing sustainability concerns and ensuring optimization of all activities. However, the need for ever-increasing amounts of information to be communicated faster, more reliably and more securely is pushing the limits of traditional wired and Wi-Fi networks. As a result, many manufacturers are turning to private 5G cellular networks for a solution.
The power of private 5G cellular networks in manufacturing
Private 5G cellular networks are operated for the sole purpose of connecting devices that belong to a private entity. They offer several advantages over traditional wireless networks, including faster data speeds, lower latency and the ability to connect to more devices. For manufacturers, this translates into:
- The ability to collect and process data more quickly, which can lead to improved decision-making and productivity
- Faster response times for applications that require real-time communication, such as robotics and autonomous vehicles
- The ability to connect a large number of machines and sensors
In addition, private 5G cellular networks are more secure than private Wi-Fi networks because they use dedicated radio frequencies and end-to-end encryption in addition to being easily integrated into existing security infrastructures.
Industry insights: the use of private cellular networks in manufacturing
On behalf of Ericsson, Endeavor Business Intelligence and IndustryWeek surveyed more than 100 manufacturing professionals working for companies with annual revenues of 1 billion USD or more (with nearly half of respondents working for companies with annual revenues of more than 10 billion USD). Most respondents (64 percent) hold a manager level or higher position, and while a variety of manufacturers are represented, the largest percentages are in automotive/transportation (13 percent) and aerospace and defense (11 percent).
Key findings from the report include:
- Manufacturers are investing in their data networks: Thirty-nine percent of respondents indicate investments in their production floor data network are a higher priority in comparison to other technologies.
- Manufacturers are adopting 5G: Thirty percent of respondents are currently incorporating private cellular networks within their infrastructures, and 8 percent plan to add this investment in the next 12 to 24 months.
- Familiarity is growing and interest is high: The majority of respondents are not very familiar with the use of private 5G networks in manufacturing. However, 60 percent of respondents are receptive to the idea. Eighteen percent have implemented the technology, 16 percent are piloting a test case and 26 percent are researching use cases.
- Manufacturers are reaping significant benefits from 5G networks: Improved coverage, enhanced capabilities, increased speed, bolstered reliability and heightened mobility (50 percent), strengthened network security (50 percent) and overcoming Wi-Fi shortcomings (29 percent) are just a few of the advantages manufacturers can capitalize on.
Private 5G cellular networks equip manufacturers with a powerful technology, improving their operations, increasing their security and accelerating their digital transformation journey.
Without a doubt, private 5G cellular networks are a powerful technology that provides the potential to accelerate the transformation of the manufacturing industry. The responses included in this report offer valuable insights into how manufacturers are considering and applying private 5G cellular networks. The findings unmistakably demonstrate that, while private 5G cellular networks aren’t yet widely adopted, manufacturers clearly understand their value and are increasingly and proactively investing and harnessing the full potential of its capabilities in their journey towards digital transformation.
Download the full report, Industry insights: the use of private cellular networks in manufacturing to dive deeper into these findings.
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