IBM: how 5G is accelerating a new wave of IoT
“5G is driving change in the Internet of Things (IoT). It's a powerful enabling technology for a new generation of use cases that will leverage edge computing to make IoT more effective and efficient,” explains in a recent insights report, who expects 5G to enable new use cases in remote monitoring and visual inspection, autonomous operations in large-scale remote environments.
IoT Use Cases
Within its insights report, IBM explains that there are many ways that the combination of 5G and edge computing can enable new applications and innovations in multiple industries, detailing five use cases.
“Technicians in many industries must deal with maintenance of equipment that's remote or difficult to access,” noted IBM. Which as a result frequently involves sending technicians to visually inspect equipment to identify any problems—an expensive and resource-intensive proposition. “5G opens the possibility of using drones or remote cameras to inspect, sending images, video and other sensor data to AI in the cloud for automated detection of problems,” commented IBM.
“In manufacturing, visual inspection of operating assets and the production line can be enabled by the low latency of 5G,” commented IBM. 5G can enable factories to easily add wireless sensors and equipment without the need for extensive wiring or local IT equipment to maintain and manage. “Connecting manufacturing equipment directly to cloud services such as IBM’s Predictive Maintenance will help ensure maximum uptime and reduce maintenance costs,” adds IBM.
AI and augmented reality (AR) technician assistance
“Technicians must often get advice and guidance on problem solving from other more experienced resources,” notes IBM. With the capability of 5G and edge computing organisations can benefit from the bandwidth and dynamic workload management to enable technicians to reliably use virtual and augmented reality, giving them remote guidance and assistance when needed.
Buildings and facility management
“5G will enable easier connectivity of sensors in buildings to drive new solutions for energy efficiency, occupancy management and visitor experience,” commented IBM who believes this to be especially true for larger facilities with multiple assets that require monitoring and maintenance. “The lower latency of 5G coupled with more bandwidth and more reliable connectivity will enable many kinds of applications in connected vehicles,” added IBM.
With the low latency of 5G, there are also “opportunities for more bi-directional communication where data is potentially shared with other nearby vehicles, greatly expanding the range that any one vehicle can ‘see’.”
Shipping and logistics
By harnessing 5G “large numbers of shipments and shipping containers can be continuously tracked and monitored, providing more precise control and predictability over supply chain logistics,” concluded IBM, who believes that while these use cases are innovative “we are truly just starting to scratch the surface of the revolutionary possibilities that 5G and Edge computing will create.”
Intelliwave SiteSense boosts APTIM material tracking
“We’ve been engaged with the APTIM team since early 2019 providing SiteSense, our mobile construction SaaS solution, for their maintenance and construction projects, allowing them to track materials and equipment, and manage inventory.
We have been working with the APTIM team to standardize material tracking processes and procedures, ultimately with the goal of reducing the amount of time spent looking for materials. Industry studies show that better management of materials can lead to a 16% increase in craft labour productivity.
Everyone knows construction is one of the oldest industries but it’s one of the least tech driven comparatively. About 95% of Engineering and Construction data captured goes unused, 13% of working hours are spent looking for data and around 30% of companies have applications that don’t integrate.
With APTIM, we’re looking at early risk detection, through predictive analysis and forecasting of material constraints, integrating with the ecosystem of software platforms and reporting on real-time data with a ‘field-first’ focus – through initiatives like the Digital Foreman. The APTIM team has seen great wins in the field, utilising bar-code technology, to check in thousands of material items quickly compared to manual methods.
There are three key areas when it comes to successful Materials Management in the software sector – culture, technology, and vendor engagement.
Given the state of world affairs, access to data needs to be off site via the cloud to support remote working conditions, providing a ‘single source of truth’ accessed by many parties; the tech sector is always growing, so companies need faster and more reliable access to this cloud data; digital supply chain initiatives engage vendors a lot earlier in the process to drive collaboration and to engage with their clients, which gives more assurance as there is more emphasis on automating data capture.
It’s been a challenging period with the pandemic, particularly for the supply chain. Look what happened in the Suez Canal – things can suddenly impact material costs and availability, and you really have to be more efficient to survive and succeed. Virtual system access can solve some issues and you need to look at data access in a wider net.
Solving problems comes down to better visibility, and proactively solving issues with vendors and enabling construction teams to execute their work. The biggest cause of delays is not being able to provide teams with what they need.
On average 2% of materials are lost or re-ordered, which only factors in the material cost, what is not captured is the duplicated effort of procurement, vendor and shipping costs, all of which have an environmental impact.
As things start to stabilise, APTIM continues to utilize SiteSense to boost efficiencies and solve productivity issues proactively. Integrating with 3D/4D modelling is just the precipice of what we can do. Access to data can help you firm up bids to win work, to make better cost estimates, and AI and ML are the next phase, providing an eco-system of tools.
A key focus for Intelliwave and APTIM is to increase the availability of data, whether it’s creating a data warehouse for visualisations or increasing integrations to provide additional value. We want to move to a more of an enterprise usage phase – up to now it’s been project based – so more people can access data in real time.