Manufacturing software has been around for years, with various incarnations running everything from factories to accounting offices. Newer, cloud-based manufacturing software relies on a dependable internet connection with average speeds. Today that means 4G, the fastest wireless signal currently in use. But tomorrow? That could be 5G, and it’s essential to understand how quickly 5G is evolving into the new standard.
Where Are We Now With 5G?
Most 5G applications likely won’t appear until around 2022. Last year, however, Verizon and AT&T announced advances in 5G. The “G” in 5G means this is the fifth generation of cellular wireless. Each generation has its own hallmarks: 1G was analog, while 2G brought first-generation digital cellular technology. Next, 3G gave us speeds of a few megabits per second, and 4G included LTE, which helped scale up to speeds as high as gigabit-level.
5G appears to offer greater speed, which empowers the movement of more data; lower latency for better responsiveness; and the ability to connect to more devices at once. This last capability is especially notable for sensors and smart devices. All of this is great news for manufacturing companies who rely upon fast, responsive data to make timely business decisions.
What 5G Means for Manufacturing Software
Most manufacturers today use some form of cloud computing and Internet of Things (IoT). These processes contribute to lean manufacturing systems and support growth. IoT devices provide real-time feedback, including shipping and storage conditions, repair and preventative maintenance alerts, and supply chain data. All this data is then stored in the cloud and some is even translated into ERPs and other database programs.
As 5G becomes readily available, access to high capacity performance, wireless flexibility, and low latency, support for gathering operational intelligence can only grow. As these networks grow, using machine learning to become smarter and leaner, they will produce even more capturable data that provides actionable intelligence for increased productivity. Additionally, the high reliability and low latency mean that equipment-to-equipment communication can occur even faster via wireless connections, enabling better response time to critical operations.
All of this is excellent news for manufacturing software advances. Newer software may have the ability to work even better, faster, and with additional components that meet your company’s business needs.
Is Your Company Ready for 5G?
5G may take a while to reach certain areas, especially rural and suburban locations, but it is slowly making inroads into urban environments. Now is the time to implement technologies that support you right now while also preparing a bridge to future technology capabilities. AT&T, one of the first to publicize its 5G network, offers four areas of readiness to assess when preparing your infrastructure.
Although 5G may feel like it’s far into the future, it’s heading your way now, and now is the time to update your software to systems that will work efficiently and well with 5G.
Emerald TC provides software and consulting for manufacturing companies. We can help you choose the right ERP system for your needs and offer many software packages for every type and size manufacturing company. Contact us or call 678-456-6919 for more information.