Discussions around “the future of work” are often focused on office-bound employees, especially following the COVID-19 pandemic as debates continue on the best way to entice workers back to their offices. However, “the future of work” also includes enhanced technology that will impact employees all over the world, and not just the ones that work in offices. About 2.7 billion frontline workers are employed in different industries, including manufacturing, The Manufacturer reports. That’s approximately 80 percent of the global workforce that has not yet benefited from emerging technology.
That could change with private 5G networks, however, according to The Manufacturer. Private 5G would allow frontline workers to connect with each other and remote workers more easily and improve customer and employee experiences.
Better coverage, connectivity and security for frontline workers
Private 5G will give enterprises the ability to drive digitalization and improve their data-based business models. Additionally, 5G can support any platform or service that an enterprise purchases. Private 5G also gives businesses time-critical production control and data-supported decision-making capabilities in real time.
Services that public networks offer will also likely improve with a private local 5G network, according to The Manufacturer. For example, in-building Wi-Fi that is not viable on a business’ large property or in an expansive logistics environment likely would see a boost.
“Dedicated 5G networks extend connectivity beyond the wireless local area network (WLAN),” The Manufacturer reports. “They also fulfill the technical requirements organizations have for improved performance, company control or security, and commercial requirements for lowering airtime spend and coverage-deployment costs.”
Enhanced employee experience
Many manufacturing workers could benefit from the applications that 5G can improve. The network’s high speeds not only create higher user satisfaction, but they allow people to get more out of their mobile devices. For example, as NTT Private 5G (P5G) enables digital transformation, businesses can leverage the network to modernize their factory floors. The technology also enables connectivity for outdoor video surveillance, push-to-talk communications, automated guide vehicles, work tablets and more.
Remote tech support
With private 5G, in-person factory visits may no longer be necessary. Instead, engineers can use augmented reality (AR) or virtual reality (AR) to support colleagues and customers from remote locations. They could also use wearable devices to see what the remote support team sees and mark the specific issue on a screen to provide accurate assistance. Engineers can also use this technology to transform and improve the customer’s experience.
Private 5G can add remote support capabilities such as allowing a remote user to see what an AR-enabled technician is doing in real time, monitor fieldwork quality and status and view locations remotely that might otherwise be difficult to access or too costly to send a technician to.
Private 5G requirements create a variety of uses cases in the manufacturing arena as the network is put to work in a lot of large, campus-wide environments. The network brings a lot more coverage and wireless connectivity to a variety of mobile devices, but that enhancement comes with a lot of responsibility because all of the data being transmitted has to remain secure and under control.
“Overall, private 5G will be key to the future of the manufacturing factory floor,” The Manufacturer writes. “By empowering frontline employees this technology can drive business efficiencies and prevent significant risks to operations. We expect to see many more manufacturers explore how private 5G can empower their employees as they turn to technology to improve the worker experience and drive their business growth.”