The fifth generation of cellular internet connectivity is set to be the supercharged gateway to a smarter and more connected logistics world.
With the promise of unstoppable data download and upload speeds, broader coverage and more stable connections, 5G, the fifth-generation cellular technology, is set to transform mobile connectivity as we know it.
Already, 5G is expected to revolutionize supply chains around the world as it becomes available in more markets over the next few years.
More companies are shifting toward a data-driven mindset in their decision making — to predict future performance and optimize operational efficiencies — which will require the collection and analysis of a large swath of data, some in real-time.
Exponentially faster data speeds and reduced latency will give rise to a more responsive network to support this transformation, while also paving the way for more Internet-enabled smart devices to be integrated along the logistics supply chain. This will render logistics processes faster, safer and more reliable.
Here is a look at what 5G will mean for logistics in five ways.
1. LOGISTICS, DIGITALIZED
With more smart devices — from temperature-monitoring sensors to autonomous vehicles — latching onto the finite frequencies of older cellular networks, mobile network operators are running out of usable radio channels on current spectrums.
But the issue of limited spaces for more devices on the network will soon be a thing of the past, as 5G is able to connect more users than its predecessors. In fact, for every meter of coverage, 5G is able to support over 1,000 more devices as compared to 4G at speeds of up to 10 gigabits per second (10Gbps), or 100 times faster.
With faster speeds, lower lag times, larger areas of coverage and a comparatively smaller power appetite, smart devices can communicate faster with one another at speeds that are even closer to real-time. This will catalyze the use of time-sensitive Internet of Things (IoT) device applications and open up opportunities for new use-cases in logistics and beyond.
With IoT forecasted to open up a US$1.9 trillion (€1.65 trillion) opportunity in logistics, 5G is one of the key enablers to facilitate data-driven analytics and decision making with big data and artificial intelligence.