LIVE FROM AWS SUMMIT 2024: Joao Gaspar da Silva, enterprise architect for edge, 5G and APIs at Vodafone Business (pictured), outlined private 5G benefits in connected manufacturing environments, outlining the network technology’s role in a wide range of use cases spanning computer vision to asset tracking.

During a session at the summit, da Silva credited 5G connectivity for delivering technological advancements in the industrial sector, noting the network “is not only built for the consumer” but also “designed for the industry”, adding it has already made Automated Guided Vehicles (AGV) and connected workers possible on factory floors.

The executive pointed to Gigafactory, or factories producing components for electric vehicles, as an example. “Gigafactories need connectivity, and productions cannot tolerate network failures or connectivity blind spots,” da Silva argued, as he compared private 5G with other network tech normally used in industrial settings.

“LoRa-WAN is known for power consumption and wide coverage, and Wi-Fi is known for its data rate but not for its mobility,” he said. “5G is good for both positioning and mobility.”

He continued: “It’s designed for mission critical communications and to support millions of IoT devices, and it covers all spectrums we have in previous technologies.”

Further, da Silva discussed how private 5G use cases have expanded to include connected agriculture, such as supporting deep learning and computer vision to “quickly monitor plant health” and assist in data research.

Also present at the session, Chris Wood, senior start-up solutions architect at AWS highlighted the role of 5G connectivity in enabling digital twins, predictive maintenance and remote workers.

“As plants and factories expand globally, companies cannot afford to have experts at every site,” explained Wood, referring to the application of digital winning for virtual health and safety training. “Streaming data can be used to simulate health and safety incidents”, preparing staff on-premises to “react quickly and safely” in the working environment.

AWS and the operator previously teamed on Vodafone 5G Edge Lab initiative in Manchester, where the companies demonstrated digital solutions from the cloud player’s ecosystem with industry partners.