Co-Authored with Wes Sylvester, Global Director of Manufacturing, Energy & Industry at Cisco

Electricity completely changed and expanded the industrial sector along with the lives of countless people. In much the same way, 5G has the potential to transform businesses and communities. Manufacturers have already spent billions of dollars on digital transformation, and the advent of 5G is poised to change their operations even more. 5G will offer faster data transfer speeds, lower latency, and wider network coverage than its predecessors. Because it can support higher flows of data, 5G is likely to lead to new systems and solutions that simply weren’t feasible in the past.

Enhanced Mobile Broadband (EMBB) is the feature of 5G that provides those speedier wireless connections and extends cellular coverage into more structures. The low latency of 5G will be crucial to applications that are time sensitive such as the automation of remote equipment. Because 5G also increases the lifespan of battery-dependent devices, massive deployment of IoT sensors is more practical than it has ever been.

Asset monitoring and grid management are two key areas where 5G can benefit the industrial sector.

5G and asset monitoring & maintenance

With eMBB, the mobile apps used in manufacturing facilities will be faster and have the ability to connect across more networks. Thus, operators and machinery in different areas can easily communicate, even in challenging environments. Sensors transmitting data can alert operators, applications, and machines to the status of machinery and operations.

The data from all these connected meters and sensors can be analyzed so can effectively monitor and maintain systems and equipment. The analytics can provide insights to optimize equipment operation and prevent faults before they occur. Remote monitoring and maintenance allows for better visibility and control, which not only leads to lower staff costs but can also reduce downtime, bringing further cost savings.

5G and grid management

The next generation of smart grid features will be powered by 5G because it will improve how utilities communicate with their grid systems. The increase in the number of sensors will provide better fault location and isolation, and 5G will simplify connection to remote sites in the distribution network. It will also be easier to reroute power in the grid automatically because of the improved communication between high-speed devices.

More connected grid assets means more active, high speed, and reliable 2-way grid management. This opens the door to increased renewable energy, and more efficient grid management and outage restoration. 5G also brings much lower power requirements, allowing for more active monitoring of utilities like water and gas that need to operate networks over long distances on battery power alone. This could have a profound effect on our ability to monitor water quality and detect and repair water and gas leaks. The network slicing features of 5G have the potential to improve security and make it possible to comply with industry standards and required service levels that have historically limited LTE reliability for mission critical applications.

5G is the next step for industries

5G-enabled smart grids and smart factories are on the horizon, powering connected devices that assess their surroundings and provide data that can help people make better decisions. To learn more about our mobility solutions for Service Providers, visit this site. For Enterprises, go here.

Take a look at the other blogs in this series:


Brian Rider

Senior Director of Sales

Cisco Service Provider - America Mobility and Wireline