The auction for 5G frequencies is in full swing and experts are currently outbidding each other with estimates on how many billions of Euros the federal government stands to profit. The German economy should hope that the amount payable will not be too high, so that the frequencies are not only sold, but can also be used as soon as possible, as desired by the federal government.
After all, the Federal Network Agency has specified that the goal is for 98 percent of households in each federal state, as well as the federal motorways and major federal roads and railways to be covered by the new 5G network by 2022. Unfortunately, no one at the federal level has given any thought to industrial areas. Those located in big cities or near motorways are in luck. With the new standard, many medium-sized and small industrial companies could compensate for a few competitive disadvantages when it comes to digitisation.
Regardless of whether the tasks involve production-related evaluation of machine data to optimise downtimes or quantities, predictive maintenance, the continuous transparency of logistics chains or the company-wide integration of all business functions along the value chain: the new standard will allow companies to collect and analyse huge amounts of data in real time from different locations and devices. The key advantage is obvious: optimisation of individual machines to complex processes will be possible in the ongoing process, rather than days or weeks later.
The predicted key figures look promising: 5G will enable a data rate a hundred times higher than LTE. In addition, the network capacity is expected see a thousand-fold increase. This should enable the ability to communicate with over 100 billion transmitters worldwide at the same time – with transmission rates of 10 gigabits per second where required.
Response and latency times will also see improvements. Information is transmitted between the human eye and the brain in about ten milliseconds. LTE currently enables around 50 milliseconds. Deutsche Telekom claims to have achieved “a time of three milliseconds during initial practical trials with 5G in Germany”. In addition, a power consumption reduction of up to 90 percent and a high level of security in data transmission are predicted.
This means that as a mobile technology, 5G will be an attractive replacement for company-owned wireless networks in many areas. The new network offers ideal conditions for seamless networking and connection of various devices without companies having to invest in their own infrastructures – even in critical areas such as the control of complex operations via virtual reality.
For producing companies, there are endless possibilities, provided two conditions are met: a 5G transmission mast must be within range, and data integration, i.e. the transfer of data from one system to another or even several, must also be automated and standardised.
Any companies benefiting from 5G coverage over the next three to four years can already begin thinking about how to easily increase their added value via data analysis and associated services. Whether we’re talking about the exponentially increasing degree of networking, fast connections or ever-increasing data rates, 5G should definitely be seen as a competitor with in-house LAN or WLAN infrastructures in which companies have to make their own investments.
The effects will be manifold as of 2022. Virtual and augmented reality will then be used for more than just product presentations, maintenance operations, work simulations and learning opportunities. They will be used as a marketing tools, in operations, in the development of products, for global conference rooms and for the remote control of machines. Extensive traffic control systems for entire cities and the centralised global control of production facilities could be the next stage of development.
Collecting and analysing data from various sources in real time, with high transmission security and in large quantities from various systems, will be possible in all areas with a 5G transmission tower. This is assuming that these scattered and heterogeneous systems can be integrated, i.e. speak the same language or can at least be translated.
“While 5G will upgrade the motorways that will be using the data in the near future, hardly anyone has given thought to how the diverse and heterogeneous data can be integrated into their own systems.”
While 5G will upgrade the motorways that will be using the data in the near future, hardly anyone has given thought to how the diverse and heterogeneous data can be integrated into their own systems. For seamless networking, companies also need to consider standardised and capable interfaces that can be easily and quickly adapted to the respective situation.
Data integration is already a surging topic in digitisation. Standardised and automated systems must be implemented to cope with the new flood of data. This is the only way to smoothly integrate the data at the respective destination without delays as well as in and between companies and between the billions of new devices.
Since the first 5G mobile networks will become operational by 2020, companies now need to solve the issue of data integration based on standard software. The strategy of the federal government, which stands behind the current 5G auction, will then actually unfold and digitisation will reach Germany across all medium-size companies.