LIVE FROM CONNECTED BRITAIN 2023, LONDON: Lead analyst for IoT and Enterprise at GSMA Intelligence Christina Patsioura (pictured, left) invited industry leaders to explore the challenges in a changing manufacturing landscape unlocked by 5G.

In a session, Nina Gryf, senior policy manager at trade body for manufacturers Make UK (pictured, centre), identified AI and industrial IoT as technologies that have revolutionised the sector, noting eight out of ten of its partners have been looking into investing in smart factories.

“Manufacturing is a very diverse sector, and our partners are on a different place in terms of adopting digital technologies”, said Gryf.

While there has been a growing desire to automate production lines, Gryf argued companies are faced with a roster of challenges in transitioning to smart manufacturing.

She believes this is especially true for Small- and Medium- Sized Enterprises, a segment currently experiencing the biggest impact of a digitalised industrial landscape.

“The gap in digital skills has impacts on regional economy and productivity, and smart manufacturing is a comprehensive investment because you cannot adopt just one technology”.

Chris Dungey, CTO at High Value Manufacturing Catapult (pictured, second from right) added it’s important for SMEs to identify “where they want to begin on their digitalisation journey”.

5G revolution
Aparajithan Sivanathan, head of digital technology at Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (pictured, second from left), named connectivity as a “true enabler” for Industry 4.0.

“Digital twins, AI, all of this needs fundamental connectivity. Fibre and cables are already being used in many places, but they have limitations when it comes to mobility and costs. This means there is an immediate use case for wireless”.

“With smart manufacturing, we skipped some steps and jumped straight into 5G. We rarely use 4G or 3G, because they were not capable of these technologies.”

Meanwhile, director of Bosch UK Eman Martin-Vignerte (pictured, right) said its factory is fully automated, noting the company has already deployed 5G “to the point of its limitation” and that it “looks forward to the next-generation network”.