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5G Perspective

5G for business – Game-changing, ground-breaking, goal-driven

India has now a clear aspiration of becoming USD 5 trillion economy from current USD 3 trillion, and analyst estimate that 60 percent of the new growth would come from digital services and transformation of our enterprises. This is going to be enabled by 5G, which is going to not only provide enhanced connectivity to the retail and enterprise customers but would help in digital trans­formation of our key industries such as manufacturing, automobiles, ports, mining, entertainment, healthcare and many more sectors. Till now, our enterprises are offering digital services through digitizing front end interface to the customers, but with 5G & private networks, they would have an opportunity to digitize their backend operations as well to improve their operational efficiencies. This will lead to a paradigm shift in how enterprises organize, manage, and approach business.

5G use cases across industries – A glimpse of the imminent future
5G provides hyper capacity, higher concurrency and enables services which are based on lower latency. During our 5G trials, we have demonstrated more than 200Mbps of connectivity at 10 km of distance from cell site using 3.5GHz spectrum. Using mmwave spectrum (26GHz), we could achieve gigabit capacity for end customer. These capabilities would enable opportunities to provide connecti­vity of more than 100Mbps to our enterprise customers both in urban and rural India. AR/VR based immersive video which would be foundation for next generation metaverse experience on this hyper connectivity.

5G, MEC & AI/ML would help bring industrial transformation commonly called as Industry 4.0. During our recent 5G trials, we have launched #5GforBusiness for various industries such as manufacturing, automobiles, mining, healthcare, connected workforce, retail, ports and automobile industry.

Smart factories & manufacturing
Smart factories utilise new technologies for creating a cohesive ecosystem, adopting automation to impact operations, processes and supply chains. These demand 24×7, constant internet connection, higher connectivity uptime and backup for web downtime so that the warehouse does not standstill. With Industry 4.0 and Private LTE/5G, we have moved toward highly autonomous factories, where sensors analyse data from every corner and AI continuously adjusts production to meet the demand. Through predictive maintenance, all assets are monitored 24×7 to improve performance, minimise downtime and improve safety. Products are also assessed throughout the process, to identify and address any quality mismatch. Higher quality products are produced faster and at a lower cost due to lesser wastage and lower maintenance, material and energy costs, leading to a more sustainable, low-emission environment. The speed and agility to harvest data in real time and use it to improve productivity are of the essence in this regard. The latest technology is very advanced and is an enormous breakthrough for the manufacturing industry, for lowering manual labour, speeding up automation and reducing costs.

Robots & AGVs are an intrinsic part of any manufacturing operation. With ultra-low latency connectivity in 5G, signals can transmit instantly from multiple points, enabling humans or AI to reliably control these machines.

Various use cases for smart factories can be realized by Private LTE/5G, will help in obtaining more real-time data from a wide variety of systems and smart assets in a facility, such as telematics-enabled lift trucks, conveyor and sortation belts, drones, cameras and virtually any motor or pump compatible with IoT. The data streams from these assets are transmitted over a strong network – rather than via Wi-Fi and traditional internet connection – to cloud analytics, thus improving uptime and maintenance.

Airtel has been leading this space by establishing India’s first smart factory for Nokia at Chennai using private network. The smart factory was established with 4G technology which has been upgraded to 5G providing connectivity to AGVs, Robotics arms used in manufacturing, digitizing inventory using IoT, video analytics based quality inspection and employee safety & surveillance.

Also, Airtel recently announced deploying India’s first private network in Bosch’s facility in Bangalore. 5G is enabling digital twin of factories which are updated with the current status of all equipment up to the last second, providing near-real-time visibility. With proactive equipment health check-ups and machines working in synchronisation, the pro­ductivity of the manufacturing unit will increase manifold.

Automobile industry
Let us try to put together on how 5G, private networks, AI, edge computing can transform our automobile industry. To start with, automobile industry would be able to use 5G private network to transform their manufacturing & operational process to reduce cost and lead time to manufacture a vehicle. They can be more flexible and agile to building vehicles as per changing need of the market.

Vehicles can be tracked from manufacturing shop floor to dockyard and upto delivery to end customer using IoT and location services. Using private or public 4G/5G networks, automobile manufacturers can ensure that software versions can be upgraded Over-The-Air in thousands of vehicles at the same time either in their own dockyard or at retail warehouse. This would avoid delays and manual labour to be involved for managing lifecycle of the software which is becoming heart of the today’s automobiles.

Next, customer gets broadband connectivity and enhanced infotainment in the vehicle where ever it goes using in-car connectivity over 4G/5G. But that’s not all, telemetry in the vehicle helps automobile companies to monitor the vehicle remotely. It helps them to give alerts to the customers at right time and also stock the spares at right location and right time, thereby reducing their operational cost during repairs and still give better satisfaction to their customers. Driver’s behaviour and vehicle health will also be tapped by insurance agencies to provide personalized quotes and service to the vehicle owners. More of such use cases can be built upon using digital approaches till we come to one day where we would have autonomous vehicles with driverless driving on the road.

5G will blur the distinction between shopping online and in a physical store. Retailers will be able to offer an in-store shopping experience to their customers and prospects without them physically visiting the store. E-commerce majors can allow their visitors to try products on their avatars and make the best choice, thereby reducing the instances of product return and the hassle associated with it.

Drones will play an important role in further enhancing digital services such as logistics, delivery, video surveillance based asset & inventory management in big warehouses. 5G networks would provide connectivity to these drones both for providing capability to send videos from drone to remote control stations as well as signalling to monitor and manoeuvre these drones.

Providing connectivity to these drones would be new shift for telecom industry, paving way to need for non-terrestrial telecom networks. HAPS & LEO satellite solutions would be key in this segment. Airtel has invested in One-Web which would provide high capacity, low latency solution across globe with more than 600 satellites operational by next year.

Mining & ports
Mining & Sea ports is another important industry segment for India, which together have about 5 percent contribution in our GDP but have potential to improve given our natural assets and geographical location of our coastline in the world map.

Both of these industry have campuses or located in remote areas, having large campus, workforce as well as machines deployed in remote locations within these campuses. Worker safety, remote surveillance of assets, moving of vehicles in controlled & coordinated manner, and connectivity of the workers & machine with operating center is critical for safe and efficient operations.

a) Surveillance
Private network using 4G/5G can provide real time video surveillance in every hook & corner of such campuses. Video surveillance can enable lot of use cases for monitoring workers, compliance to their location, wearing of safety gear. Video surveillance can be also be used for monitoring vehicles, extraction machines, assessing quality & quantity of extraction. Coupled with edge data centres and AI, 5G will take video surveillance and subsequent analytics to unimagined levels of effectiveness and applicability. For instance, near-real-time video surveillance can also be used for fault detection and quality assurance automation in factories.

b) Remote technical assistance
5G can play a crucial role in the seamless, real-time collaboration between on-field and in-house teams. In every industry, frontline workers are the people who have hands-on access to the machines. With 5G-enabled remote assistant solutions, they can interact with the relevant in-house experts in real time to repair equipment and resolve issues. Such coordinated, immediate response to disruptions and potential disruptions will improve OEE and reduce downtime and opex.

c) Remote machine monitoring & control
These industries have heavy machines typically Cranes in ports and excavators in Mining. These machines need to work at their best for improving operational efficiency of these industries. It is possible through picking up telemetry from these machines and passing these to remote monitoring platform. Using AI/ML modelling, such platform would predict health and maintenance required for maintaining uptime of the machine. Extracting machines, trucks and weighbridges can be connected on private networks (5G/4G) to pass on telemetry from these location to remote monitoring centre avoiding any manual intervention, manipulation and maintaining real time information.

Providing expert emergency care irrespective of the patient’s and paramedics’ locations will be possible with the launch of 5G. The first few minutes in an emergency incident are considered critical for saving the life of the patient. With the ultra-high-speed connectivity of 5G, even paramedics and doctors stationed in a far-off medical facility can offer their guidance to ambulance services. Airtel recently announced about the 5G ambulance use case with Apollo Hospitals demonstrating the capability and potential it has. 5G-based offerings like tele-ultrasound will allow medical institutes to provide timely and accurate diagnoses even in villages and isolated places.

Start building your 5G ecosystem
Airtel is proud to be a vanguard of the digital ecosystem in India by being a trusted partner of over million businesses for their connectivity needs. Airtel’s 5G network can deliver 10x speed, 10x lower latency and 100x concurrency compared to the status quo. With Airtel being the first operator to demonstrate this capability, it has set the stage for even more advanced and novel applications, unlocking a huge potential of economic value for enterprises across the nation. To accelerate the 5G network deployment in India, Airtel has built up an extensive partner ecosystem. Below are a few points worth noting:

  • Airtel is the first telecom operator in India to demonstrate high connectivity over a live network and is conducting trials in major cities.
  • Airtel IoT is an end-to-end platform with the capability to connect and manage billions of devices and applications in a highly secure and seamless fashion.
  • Airtel’s robust network, which is at the core of all its offerings, comes with the option to deploy NB-IoT, 4G or 2G connectivity using Airtel e-SIM technology.
  • Airtel’s Nextra infrastructure which enables it to provide edge cloud at more than 100 locations in India, thereby providing lower latency for end use cases.

Through its #5GforBusiness initiative, Airtel is enabling entire ecosystem to facilitate enterprises for harnessing 5G early on. Airtel has built an extensive portfolio of offerings that includes everything that today’s enterprises need – connectivity, cloud, data centre, IoT, cybersecurity and CPaaS. Partnering with the likes of Google, AWS, Cisco, TCS, Accenture, Capgemini, Ericsson, Nokia and Mavenir, Airtel has been further enriching its solutions ecosystem to continue being the one-stop partner that it is for MNCs to SMBs alike. 5G is just around the corner. Start building your ecosystem today and get set for capitalising on 5G from day 1 of its launch.

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