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5G and IoT:
The future of efficiency

Author: Becky Gutte

With the deployment of 5G moving full steam ahead, many organizations are seeing a clearer picture of the possibilities when it's combined with the Internet of Things (IoT). When 5G and IoT are brought together, everything from industrial hardware to remote communication tools can be connected to the internet to collect and share actionable data. In short, 5G will make it possible to impact, accelerate and multiply efficiencies, lower costs and drive business growth at all stages.

Industries that embrace 5G and IoT early are likely to reap the benefits sooner than those that lag behind. In manufacturing, McKinsey & Company notes that smart robots on factory floors one day will be able to assemble products from different lines, and 5G should help enable cloud control of machines, high-speed decisions and real-time video analytics. Meanwhile, in the healthcare industry, 5G can help pave the way for telemedicine by making it possible for doctors to monitor their patients remotely with wearable IoT devices that track biometrics.

The possibilities of 5G and IoT

5G is expected to impact IoT, driving cost, availability and scalability efficiencies which in turn, should accelerate adoption and innovation. As 5G is more widely deployed, we should enjoy faster throughput, energy efficiency (up to 90% less than 4G per bit) and support for up to one million connected devices per square km.

These capabilities could help bring real-time processing to the IoT and fuel its exponential growth. IoT-generated data will reach nearly 80 zettabytes by 2025.1 All those devices and endpoints, along with all of that data, will require a powerful network to bring to market increasingly complex and transformative services and solutions that were previously unattainable.

Verizon's IoT offering includes everything from mobile commerce, tracking and management solutions, to the ThingSpace IoT platform, which enables innovators to prototype, test, connect and manage their IoT devices on the Verizon network. Leveraging a 5G network for IoT should augment existing capabilities by addressing challenges like network coverage and battery life, enabling devices to last longer and transmit data in a manner that's tailored to the use case.

A closer look at Iot and IoT efficiency on the factory floor

The manufacturing sector serves as a prime example of how and where 5G should impact future IoT-enabled devices. Experts and analysts agree that the "fourth industrial revolution" is here and that manufacturing presents the largest revenue opportunity for IoT-related industries. This is happening in several ways.

First is data acquisition. IoT and IIoT have already enabled machines that were assembled in the pre-internet era to effectively connect to people, systems, infrastructure and newer machines. With the arrival of 5G, with its lower latency, higher throughput, lower energy consumption and mMTC (massive machine type communication) capabilities, the amount of machines and things that could be connected changes by an order of magnitude.

This means that on a 5G-driven factory floor, tens of thousands of sensors could be leveraged to ensure and optimize data acquisition—beyond what the machines on the floor could capture. As manufacturers continue to explore ways of making production more modular to support product customization, cost efficiencies should also come from 5G wireless capabilities which will reduce the amount of cabling needed.

Second, 5G supports agile, more modern architectures that should enable specific, mission-critical, operations to have (among other things) routing priority, quality-of-service, and enhanced security, thereby increasing performance and potentially decreasing downtime.

A third and last point is that 5G also supports ultra-reliable low latency communication (URLLC). URLLC allows a network to process incredibly large amounts of data with minimal delay so that applications could instantly respond to changing data. This is essential for a plethora of use cases where humans and machines (like AGVs or robots) come in close proximity to each other, as well as optimizing machine learning models like the one at Corning's fiber optic cable manufacturing facility in Hickory, N.C., where they are using Verizon's 5G technology to explore ways to enhance factory automation and quality assurance with machine learning, as well as augmented and virtual reality.

The competitive advantage of 5G

5G represents a paradigm shift, but transformation won't happen overnight. Implementing 5G IoT-enabled devices in hospitals, retail, gaming, cities or on factory floors requires an investment in new technology and a new way of thinking about technology's role within the organization. 5G should deliver that transformation by helping businesses improve performance, activate near real-time data, gain new efficiencies and more. Without a doubt, the businesses that make 5G a high priority should gain a competitive advantage that lasts.

To learn more about how you can prepare your business for what's next, visit Verizon 5G Edge.

1 IDC Press Release, The Growth in Connected IoT Devices Is Expected to Generate 79.4ZB of Data in 2025, According to a New IDC Forecast, June 18, 2019.