IBM: how 5G is accelerating a new wave of IoT

By Georgia Wilson
Business Chief gains insight from IBM and how 5G is accelerating a new wave of IoT applications...

“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 IBM 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.

Remote inspection

“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.

Visual inspection

“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.”

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