The imminent arrival of 5G-enabled manufacturing represents a defining moment in the quest for higher revenue potential. Aided by 5G networks, the manufacturing industry is expected to generate a substantial $4.6 trillion in sales. 

Author Teodora Gaici | Copperberg

The benefits of this high-speed network are seemingly within the immediate reach of early adopters. Through the lens of 5G, professionals are seeing a glimmering of what the smart factory looks like: versatile, secure, automated, scalable, and highly efficient.

Yet in reality, manufacturers are quite far from a blithe ride towards 5G-empowered factories. As looming risks put the industry in a fix, the manufacturer’s grip on 5G may inexorably come unraveled.

The leap from 4G to 5G requires a prevalent paradigm change.

5G’s trajectory is somewhat askew from that of its predecessor. The unparalleled speed, connectivity, and capacity brought to the table by 5G instantly demand novel (and perhaps atypical!) rollout plans.

Industry players are actively mobilizing to develop a strategic roadmap and contest global leadership in 5G.

Only this time around, the fine line between high-reward and high-risk investments is tapering off faster than anticipated. The recent global events are temporarily curtailing manufacturing activity and yet, industry experts don’t leave the possibility of fast-forwarding 5G adoption aside.

Accelerating the deployment of 5G networks could solve the toughest challenges for supply chain management and bring manufacturing operations back under control. Or, precisely the opposite may happen: manufacturers who aren’t wary of investing in 5G could permanently reel under its disruptive impact.

It’s perhaps too soon to know if 5G should be greeted with dismay or confidence.

There is, however, a hard truth to be told: the peril is inevitably lurking in the background; after all, 5G is still in its nascent stages of deployment. If impending threats are left unattended, the first-mover advantage may translate into an outright fiasco.

Don Alusha, the Senior Analyst at ABI Research, made it abundantly clear: to capture the value at stake, professionals need to measure the impact of 5G deployments first; and if the reward is truly compelling, industry players will end up taking the risk.

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