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UK’s move to 5G will clear the path for Digital Manufacturing

Posted on 25/10/2017

In a connected world, UK manufacturing companies will need safer, faster connections to survive.

At a recent event attended by Malcolm Harold, Digital Manufacturing Specialist at the KTN, the Minister for State for Digital, Matt Hancock, announced reforms for outdated legislation which will reduce the costs of housing phone masts and other communications infrastructure on private land by December 2017. This opens the way for faster and more reliable broadband and mobile services, particularly in rural areas.

Hancock said, “It’s not good enough that many people are struggling with poor mobile and broadband connections which is why we are improving coverage across the UK.  We want everyone to benefit from the growth of digital services. Removing these outdated restrictions will help promote investment in new technologies such as 5G, and give mobile operators more freedom to improve their networks in hard-to-reach places.”

In a connected world where UK manufacturing companies are being encouraged to adopt Industry 4.0 to improve processes and policies within their businesses, UK infrastructure demands fast and secure connections to ensure data is exchanged in real-time within secure networks, and the move to 5G is imperative to ensure that happens seamlessly.

Industry 4.0, or the “4th Industrial Revolution” (4IR), represents a transformative opportunity for industry. It is clear that when implemented well, digitally based technologies and systems can transform manufacturing, helping realise a more productive, profitable future.

The UK needs to respond to the challenge which Juergen Maier, CEO of Siemens UK and principal author of the Industrial Digitalisation Review, recently submitted to BEIS.  He said, in an interview with the Manufacturer magazine, that the UK manufacturing sector is “standing on a burning platform”.  The message for manufacturers could not be clearer or more urgent: invest, embrace digitisation, innovate, improve productivity – and embrace this exciting opportunity.

Innovate UK has recently launched a 5G Testbeds and Trials Programme: Phase 1 competition to encourage the development of a UK ‘5G ecosystem’ with technology and deployment, testbeds and trials to stimulate the development of 5G use cases and business models.  The competition opens on Monday 23rd October 2017. Find out more and apply here.