For businesses all over the world, technology like 5G, the Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI) are rapidly becoming the norm. As a result, a unique technological ecosystem is evolving that changes how key market sectors operate in the global economy, including data centres, industrial manufacturing and transportation. Shaun Findley discusses how these sectors will see drastic changes as societies worldwide begin to scale their smart technology to meet the demands of the future
It is estimated that there are currently 26 billion connected devices around the globe, and experts predict this number will grow to 75 billion in the next four years. This increase leads to a particular problem: current 4G networks simply cannot handle the resulting increase in bandwidth. There are many areas where 4G is already failing to adequately meet customer demands, as HD quality media, streaming services and ongoing smartphone use are generating vast increases in traffic.
The advent of 5G smart connectivity will drastically increase speed and bandwidth, advance cloud compatibility, improve responsiveness and enhance reliability.
Together, 5G and the IoT will change how society uses data and devices, as most processing will be shifted to the cloud, eliminating many of the internal storage limitations that frustrate users of portable and wearable devices.
Having data centralised in the cloud will allow people to be fully connected, regardless of where they are physically located. Implementing AI technology into these networks can achieve further benefits, such as enabling optimal device performance and making new service and upgrade rollouts easier.
Bug fixes, patches and other security-related updates will be far more straightforward to implement, enhancing cybersecurity.
Industrial manufacturing and smart connectivity
Another key market sector impacted by smart connectivity is industrial manufacturing.
Technological advances will significantly enhance current industrial automation trends by providing increased data analytics, better cloud storage capabilities and very low network latency.
Combining 5G with modern sensors and data acquisition systems will supply industrial manufacturing facilities with a plethora of data. This data can be used to improve the efficiency of automated industrial processes, support predictive maintenance strategies and enhance employee safety.
For example, by leveraging the IoT and cloud technology, automated production lines can detect an error in a manufacturing process and either self-correct or alert a technician so they can intervene. This process improves quality control, catching problems before they make it through production or cause health and safety issues.
Transportation and smart connectivity
Smart connectivity will significantly impact transportation in several critical areas, including overall traffic efficiency and driver safety. For example, 5G networks will transmit real-time information on traffic density, vehicle speed and weather conditions from roadside sensors.
When coupled with smart car computer technology, these systems can leverage vehicle-to-everything (V2X) communication technologies to improve transportation by proactively adjusting travel routes.
Once automotive AI technology and software advances to the point that reliable self-driving cars are more common, the sensors on these vehicles will work in tandem with roadside sensors to further enhance safety and traffic control. V2X and automotive AI will also save consumers money through driverless public and private transportation, as less money will be tied up in both training and paying drivers.
The future of delivery looks to be taking early advantage of these transportation market innovations via autonomous robots, drones and driverless vehicles.
The benefits of intelligent connectivity
While there is still a lot of work to do until industries can truly consider themselves to be in the era of smart connectivity, advanced technologies like 5G, the IoT, AI and V2X are speeding up the process.
As innovations like these continue to advance and evolve, our world will become more interconnected than ever before.
And thanks to benefits like improved efficiency, lower network latency and near-instantaneous sharing of data, market sectors like manufacturing and transportation will also be changed for the better.
Shaun Findley is European Director of Product and Purchasing at connector specialist PEI-Genesi.