This year will see Malaysia accelerate to come up to speed with the global developments in 5G networks. We expect to see its coverage reach up to 40% by the end of 2022.i
Complementing these developments, The Malaysian Institute of Economic Research (MIER) cites that 5G could contribute over RM12 billion to Malaysia’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) between 2021 to 2025. So while there is progress in network deployment, how can your organisation prepare for 5G?
A popular strategy is to establish a private 5G network for enterprise use cases. Private 5G networks provide your organisation with a better control to configure the network based on your specific requirements. This often involves establishing locational boundaries and configuring customised network settings.
Designed to support massive loads of operational data for industrial Internet of Things (IoT) applications, a private 5G strategy is able to expand artificial intelligence (AI) applications exponentially. In fact, it is an instrumental piece for manufacturers to realise their smart manufacturing goals.ii
Companies can’t afford to ignore these benefits. We live in a hyperconnected world where the speed and quality of services set the winners apart from the rest. As we strive to achieve wider coverage of 5G deployment, it is critical for your team to have a clear picture of how this technology can enhance your business.
To help you, we provide three best practices from the top use-cases of private 5G networks.
1. Leveraging private 5G network for smart factory practices - Fujitsu
Fujitsu Telecom Networks Limited manufactures network equipment, and were quick to deploy private 5G capabilities to support its manufacturing practices. The company’s objective is to develop a ‘human-centred’ smart manufacturing approach for all its plantsiii. This strategy aims to increase the capacity Fujitsu has to adopt technologies such as AI, mixed reality, and IoT.
Initiated at its Oyama plant, Fujitsu has built a private 5G network to facilitate the transformation of its smart manufacturing. This practice includes deploying automatic guided vehicles (AGVs) to transport materials and resources around the facilities.
Apart from autonomous vehicles, Fujitsu uses 5G to expand its video analytics capabilities for the safety of its workers. For example, its plants have HD cameras with real-time AI-powered video analysis, giving instant warnings to workers of any potential risks.
While implementation of such practices is not new, Fujitsu had faced severe limitations due to inadequate network speed and capacity. However, with 5G and its inherent advantages (such as network stability, speed, capacity, and slicing), the manufacturer can now scale these practices seamlessly.
2. Taking full advantage of IoT data with 5G – Volkswagen
A large aspect of realising Industry 4.0 practices comes from an organisation’s ability to handle continuous streams of data across thousands of connected devices on-site. Issues such as hardware costs, maintenance, and updates limit a manufacturer’s ability to adopt IoT at a greater scale. A common problem among manufacturers is IoT connectivity. Before 5G, manufacturers had limited alternatives and often faced electricity consumption, reliability, and scalability issues.
Recognising these limitations, Volkswagen recently deployed a private 5G network in collaboration with Nokia.iv The addition of Nokia’s industrial-grade private 5G network allows Volkswagen’s plant facilities real-time data streaming for IoT devices and manufacturing devices.
With the private 5G network in place, Volkswagen plant operators can leverage instant data transfer directly to vehicles during the manufacturing process. This ability enables a seamless flow of smart connected devices alongside plant workers, providing access to crucial data at much greater speeds.
The introduction of 5G to manufacturing plants allows a superior manufacturing process. Combined with technologies such as machine learning (ML), AI, and edge computing, Volkswagen can now truly take advantage of its data to improve manufacturing procedures.
3. Smart medical facility – KT & Samsung Medical Centre
KT Corp and Samsung Medical Centre (“SMC”) started their 5G journey in 2019 by co-developing 5G-powered medical services.v This partnership included a private 5G network service at SMC with specific network environments catered to the company’s operating theatres.
Continuing from that partnership, KT Corp and SMC have actively widened the adoption of 5G for their medical facility. SMC continues to adopt wider 5G-powered robots – from surgical robots and sanitisation robots to logistics robots.vi
Like smart factories, the medical centre also includes automated guided vehicle (AGV) across the facility to ease the burden of its medical workers. Furthermore, private 5G improves the partnership’s capacity to include higher-end AI capabilities for detecting potential emergency cases.
Other well-received applications include a real-time HD video analysis service for surgeons, enabled by 5G’s ability to handle high loads of data with low latency. This service extends to the education programme, teaching medical trainees with live-sync cameras during operational procedures. For healthcare players, SMC is a strong reference on how deploying 5G can enable a whole suite of smart services. The company’s success is a clear example of how 5G can allow hospitals to move forward with digitalisation.
Moving together for a 5G-enabled future
A common factor behind the success of these use-cases is the close relationships forged between industry players and network operators. This relationship is crucial for the effective implementation of 5G-enabled strategies.
Network configuration, management, and maintenance are just some aspects that industry players might have problems handling. As such, having a mutually beneficial relationship can significantly ease the process for companies to adopt 5G into their operations.
Getting private 5G right is a collaborative process that involves companies working closely with system integrators and network operators. Evidently, the go-to deployment option today for private 5G networks is a hybrid model where companies share responsibilities with network operatorsvii.
With this strategy, organisations can have a reasonable amount of control without the complexities of managing the whole network.