Thanks to the efforts made over the past few years to deploy the next-generation network, the growth prospects for the 5G private network market are steadily improving.
Telefónica Tech announced a collaboration agreement with Microsoft on Azure Private Edge Zone, an integration that combines our private 5G connectivity with the edge computing capabilities of the technology company at the customer’s premises. This will foster digital transformation and enable the automation and control of industrial processes.
The deployment of local 5G industrial communications and computing solutions under an integrated architecture will enable the industrial sector to deploy private connectivity and on-premises computing capabilities in an integrated manner, with an end-to-end vision.
The objective is to ensure the highest levels of security, efficiency and performance required to run mission-critical and business-critical applications.
New opportunities for companies
The use of 5G technology generates new opportunities and benefits for all types of business activity, two particularly noteworthy ones being security to ensure privacy in communications and flexibility in working models.
Similarly, private networks take advantage of the three characteristics of mobile technology (low latency, network speed and the bandwidth it offers), favouring the development of new services optimised to suit organisations’ needs.
These are increasingly important functions in regard to industrial ecosystems due to the new and changing scenarios which mean an increase in remote working. The aforementioned functions provide an early response at critical moments such as during the coronavirus crisis.
Situations such as these have given rise to new needs on the part of companies: secure and efficient networks and powerful infrastructures so that their employees can access and manage sensitive information from any type of mobile device, or maintain productive or healthcare activity.
According to the 5G Technologies in private networks study, published by 5G Americas, these local networks designed on this mobile technology, although autonomous, feature all its advantages, thus becoming a driving force for the digitisation of companies. Its main applications range from smartcity environments to robotics in the retail sector, logistics, healthcare, Industry 4.0, and even content creation, production and distribution thanks to the option for the design of integrated connectivity offered by the mobile network.
From industry to logistics
For this reason, we have gone from betting on it to leading the development of these networks in the industrial sector to expand the ecosystem of available solutions.
This allows us to create a reference model in the industrial market, migrating traditional services to a unique and efficient model with innovative solutions.
In collaboration with Ericsson, we are working on the development of a private 5G network at the logistics centre of El Corte Inglés in Valdemoro (Madrid) with the aim of making the notion of Industry 4.0 being applied to the world of logistics a reality and optimising parcel and sorting processes.
By using this tool, the department store has achieved a significant improvement in handling and sorting times of around 20%. These automations always design the fastest routes in environments as complex as these logistics facilities, with dozens of high racks and full of diverse parcels.
This project raises another approach of great interest in Industry 4.0: the elimination of physical cabling in machine communications leads in turn to a considerable reduction in the cost and time to deploy new infrastructure and logistics centres.
The unstoppable growth expected for these private networks is closely linked to the development of new technologies such as big data, cloud computing or artificial intelligence (AI). However, the Internet of Things (IoT) in particular, as well as the growth of the transformation towards digitisation have strongly benefited from the 5G network deployment.
Both circumstances are the basis for forecasts such as those made by the consulting firm Transforma Insights, which indicates that the world will have gone from having 7.74 million connected devices in 2019 to more than 25.4 billion in 2030.