20 Oct 2020

Boosting growth in traditional sectors through 5G connectivity

  • By 2025, 5G connections should cover at least 200 million users.

High-speed 5G connectivity will be critical to enable smart factories, where wireless communications and industrial IoT are transforming manufacturing through hybrid cyber-physical systems. 

In a smart factory, almost every asset is connected: this allows a more efficient production system through a range of advantages, from machinery monitoring for predictive maintenance and remote-control to real-time supply chain visibility. 5G is particularly suitable to this environment due to its low latency, high reliability for remote control of processes, and high bandwidth enabling high-volume data traffic for surveillance and monitoring of machinery. 

There are also social and environmental benefits to be considered, such as increased security and safety thanks to remote control and a reduction in energy and material consumption. 

A study by DIGITALEUROPE members Ericsson and Qualcomm has estimated that an investment of €12 billion in accelerating the 5G uptake for smart production would add €70 billion to the EU GDP. 

Smart manufacturing is just one area where digital technologies can have a positive impact. Another example is in agriculture, where the same study found that by transforming the sector through digital technologies and 5G connectivity, we could increase EU GDP by €45 billion. 

Establishing sensor networks for crops and livestock, for instance, will greatly improve pest detection and moisture level monitoring. Bringing a higher degree of connectivity into the field will also allow untethered surveillance drones and more efficient autonomous agriculture machinery. This has important consequences for the sector’s environmental footprint, as it will reduce carbon emissions as well as waste and product use through greater efficiency and less land use. 

A more digital and connected agriculture sector will also help support rural and remote areas, boosting local industries including fishing, tourism and farming, and helping rural producers market their products beyond their immediate surroundings by using e-commerce platforms.

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