BT Group technology, business and strategy director Mark Henry (pictured) cast doubt on the near-term success of private 5G networks in the manufacturing sector, warning uptake would likely be slowed by a reluctance to commit before standalone (SA) deployments.
During the Total Telecom Congress, Henry emphasised the importance of the move to SA 5G to match hype around network flexibility for vertical sectors.
Discussing likely business opportunities, he noted BT was already making significant progress in “early adopter” industries including logistics, where there is a “clear path to efficiencies” for areas including video analytics, IoT and supply chain management.
However, he cited an often referenced manufacturing segment as “a bit slower”.
“To meet the promise in manufacturing of devices that move around and co-ordinate with each other to speed up some kind of manufacturing line, they [businesses] need to retool that entire line. That’s going to take major investment and time.”
Henry noted it is key for operators to have SA 5G “in a fully productised form” to attract industrial players, because it is otherwise “hard for them to say we’ll invest €500 million on a manufacturing plant and want a full system if they can’t touch and feel it. They can’t go and see another factory where it’s already in place. So I think that’s a longer-term play.”Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back