5G and the IoT: The UK's first smart factory just switched on

Internet of Things sensors and applications on trial at two smart factory sites
Written by Steve Ranger, Global News Director

The UK's first live 5G factory trials have gone live with the aim of testing out new Internet of Things (IoT) applications to improve manufacturing productivity.

5G offers faster downloads, faster responses from applications thanks to much lower latency, and the ability to cram as many as a million 5G devices in a square kilometre. This means that businesses will be able to add sensors to everything from products they sell to individual machines in factories, allowing them to monitor if production lines are performing as they should and make decisions in real time about processes.

The government-backed Worcestershire 5G Testbed & Trials said that this is the first time UK industry has deployed still-developing 5G technologies. The tests will allow manufacturers to test the potential of 5G investments "from factory floor production, reconfiguration and real-time analysis, to steering a machine's movements from a remote location". Tech companies involved include Huawei, O2 and BT.

SEE: IT pro's guide to the evolution and impact of 5G technology (free PDF)

Engineering company Worcester Bosch is testing 5G for improved factory output, examining how it can help with preventative maintenance by using IoT sensors and data analytics to predict failure.

Manufacturer Yamazaki Mazak is also using 5G to conduct trials that will demonstrate how the technology can be used to enhance factory productivity: 5G will be used in two troubleshooting applications, one of which allows senior engineers to remotely guide onsite engineers through machine maintenance.

Worcester Bosch CEO Carl Arntzen said: "It's important to our business to have the real time element 5G brings so that we can react in real time in the factory environment to mitigate any losses in output and protect and grow our business bottom line."


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