5G - The ultimate enabler of smart manufacturing

by Paul Cooper |



Total Telecom caught up with Vassilis Seferidis, Chief Executive Officer at Zeetta Networks and Lead Partner at 5G-Encode to discuss the role of 5G in delivering smart manufacturing ahead of our upcoming virtual event 5GLIVE.


How will 5G enhance efficiencies within manufacturing?

Manufacturing plays a critical role in the UK economy. The industry makes up 11% of Gross Value Added (GVA), 44% of total UK exports, and directly employs 2.6 million people. 5G has the potential to be truly transformational within the manufacturing industry. Machine to machine connectivity, ultra-low latency and unique network slicing capabilities will transform traditional manufacturing processes, making them more efficient and productive.

The introduction of private 5G networks in manufacturing enables the creation of smart factories, which are a core element of Industry 4.0. The level of automation permitted by smart factories promises a host of benefits, including real-time linkages to customer demand forecasts, reliable quality, predictable production capacity and lower cost of production. The heightened visibility, pace of production and efficiency allowed by smart factories are key drivers that contribute to driving higher productivity levels in manufacturing.

What advanced technologies do you expect to have the most transformative impact within 5G-enhanced manufacturing?

Unlike 4G and Wi-Fi, 5G is designed from the ground up to be completely secure end-to-end. Not only this, but 5G is highly scalable in a way that other technologies are not. Its wireless nature means that mission critical availability can be deployed rapidly across a given environment, with minimal waste and maximum performance.

One of the most innovative benefits of 5G networks is their network slicing and splicing ability which can hugely improve the business efficiency. Deployments such as that in the National Composites Centre by the 5G-ENCODE Project demonstrate the efficacy of these technologies in an industrial settings by delivering customised network services that meets the business demands. They allow operators to either create multiple virtual networks that can be customised and optimised for the specific service and traffic levels needed (network slicing) or combine two or more sub-networks to create a new ‘aggregated network topology’ (network splicing).

Of course, these technologies can be used not only in industrial private 5G networks but also can be deployed across a vast range of industries, from healthcare and manufacturing to transport and entertainment.

How will the smart factory ecosystem continue to evolve?

Results and learnings from early private 5G network deployments such as that in 5G-ENCODE will be used to demonstrate exactly how 5G can be applied to solve specific problems in an industrial setting. This insight will prove critical in helping to build the reliable, effective business model of the future. While projects like 5G-ENCODE may focus on a particular industry and use cases the business models and technology solutions will be applicable to a number of other sectors and application areas in manufacturing and beyond.

Is there potential for 5G private campuses to become commonplace outside of industrial uses?

The application of 5G technology has the power to drive positive change across almost every industry in the world. Looking into the future, the economic impact that 5G will have on our global economy is monumental. Indeed, PWC predicts that by 2035, 5G technology utilisation will result in $13.2 trillion in global economic value, generating 22.3 million jobs in the global value chain alone. The private 5G networks will paly an increasingly important role in this with a global market size expected to reach USD 8.32 billion by 2027.

In the year ahead, we expect to see the frameworks for this new market opportunity established, especially as the world adapts digitally to combat the economic impact of COVID-19. The revenue opportunities that will be unlocked by private 5G networks will be recognised across a range of industries, including manufacturing, entertainment, healthcare, education, and many more.

How will smart factories have developed within the next 5 years?

5G isn’t the answer to all the challenges faced by the manufacturing industry, but it does present an unmissable opportunity to build a hyperconnected future. The opportunities that private 5G networks will bring to businesses within industrial settings, and those further afield, will be truly transformational. Ultimately, it is how technologies like 5G are embraced that will determine who will thrive and who will merely survive. Manufacturers small and large must take it upon themselves to embrace new technologies to create a brighter and stronger future.


You can hear more from Vassilis on the continued evolution of 5G’s role in delivering smart industrial capabilities by registering here for our upcoming event 5GLIVE running on 18th May.

Written by Rowan Thomson, Friday 12 March 21

This article was first published at Total Telecom website on 12 March 2021