In today’s world of manufacturing, there is a new convergence happening. A greater number of available technologies are meeting the dynamics of changing workforces, fragile supply chains, and the ever-present market demand for better and cheaper products and services.

However, manufacturers still face a unique challenge: how to maximize investments in various technologies to achieve the most impactful ROI or as we like to refer to them, “enablers of change”.

At the center of this challenge is choice; choice in which technologies to invest in, choice in which projects to apply the technologies to, choice in project scope, and choice in how to mix and match or totally replace new for existing technologies. One example of new technology is 5G. Manufacturers should not get lost in the excitement of the technology, but rather they should focus on how to use it in such a way that it accelerates their current and future business goals.

The top three technology priorities of industrial manufacturing CEOs identified by Forbes are:

1. Mobility (73%)
2. Cyber-Security (72%)
3. Data mining and analysis (70%)

We know adding mobility to the way people and machines work drives productivity improvements. Henry Ford saw an 800% increase in output when he moved automobile chassis down an assembly line manned by workers.

This expanded mobility is providing insights into operations and machine health monitoring. It also allows management that provides manufacturers and equipment builders with new business models for maximizing uptime.

With open roaming features from Cisco Wi-Fi6E, manufacturers easily bridge Public 5G to Private WiFi6E and have the two technologies working in harmony to not lose the end user experience.3 So, when do you choose 5G over WiFi or other technologies? Again, it all comes down to the use case and how will the technology scale for more use cases, be easy to manage (configuration, upgrades and securing) and deliver the best ROI.

Some use cases (e.g. Augmented Reality and Connected Products) where high bandwidth and low latency are a must, 5G becomes a viable technology. Then the considerations of scalability and ease of management in your manufacturing operations become the deciding factors for a robust platform that can deliver the best ROI.

No matter which technology you choose, always focus on your use case, your ability to deploy and easily manage the technology at scale.


Carlos Rojas

Global Industry Lead