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5G AND THE LOGISTICS INDUSTRY: WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS
5G AND THE LOGISTICS INDUSTRY: WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS
By Dheeraj Remella · January 29, 2020
Editor’s Note: Dheeraj Remella is Chief Product Officer at VoltDB, responsible for technical OEM partnerships and assisting customers to take their next step in data-driven decision making.
While we are still in the early stages of 5G network rollouts, adoption is increasing every day. In fact, new data forecasts that the number of global 5G subscriptions will hit 1.5 billion in the next five years.
Expectations around 5G are high, especially when it comes to the network’s speed and scale. 5G is promising data rates one hundred times those of 4G, with 99.999 percent availability of the network and latency around 1 millisecond, making it faster than most landline internet connections.
Organizations will soon be able to harness the speed and bandwidth capabilities of this next generation wireless network, opening the door to unprecedented innovation across industries.
The logistics and supply chain industry, in particular, is expected to benefit from 5G’s increased connectivity, thanks to the three bands of spectrum (low, medium and high frequency bands), and speed. 5G’s higher frequency band will provide improved coverage in densely populated urban areas and indoors environments such as warehouses, and its lower frequency band will offer widespread coverage in more suburban and rural areas for trucks in motion.
This broader coverage footprint will enable better end-to-end continuous coverage for monitoring, tracking and tracing, and theft detection, addressing common challenges giving rise to lost revenue. With 5G, freight solutions buyers, cargo owners and other industry players will be able to solve many of the supply chain problems they face every day. Here are some of the top benefits they can expect.
Avoiding revenue leakage
It is estimated that $2.5 billion is lost every year to revenue leakage in the trucking industry. One of the leading factors behind this loss is a lack of visibility into the supply chain. Enter 5G. Less expensive Internet of Things (IoT) sensors will enable close to real-time inventory analysis for not only container or truck level tracking, but also single item/SKU level tagging and tracking. Further, 5G technology will help provide end-to-end visibility into every product, helping minimize and avoid revenue loss to theft. With the ability to track and gather data at every step in the supply chain, including monitoring for a truck’s change of weight, traceability will see vast improvements. Improved access to more detailed and real-time information will enable cargo owners and stakeholders to make more intelligent business decisions and avoid bottlenecks. Intelligence at the edge in the trucks will eliminate the need for sending massive data to the cloud, and instead provide the ability to just send the digested version of the data from the edge to the cloud.
Streamlined communication and maintenance
5G networks will also help streamline communication and maintenance across the supply chain through virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). These technologies will allow for additional support on and off the road. For example, AR technology can be applied to vehicles for improved end point recognition and driver safety. Further, VR could enable a remote mechanic to help with road-side assistance and repairs virtually, decreasing a vehicle’s downtime. By reducing time put towards maintenance and repairs, organizations can save money with in-house mechanics that can be virtually called to the scene of any issue that arises on the road.
Enhanced location tracking and route optimization
When it comes to tracking and route optimization, 5G is expected to provide more comprehensive coverage of goods while in transit. Ninety percent of logistics and shipping providers site a lack of supply chain visibility as one of the biggest challenges in the industry today, with many “dead-zone” areas where location tracking fails. 5G will enable organizations to track their shipments across all regions, including these dead-zones, with amplified geo-location technology. This broader visibility will enable organizations to avoid delays and previously unforeseen travel issues, as well as eliminate unnecessary trips and inefficiencies, while optimizing routes and schedules factoring in traffic and weather conditions in real time.
Densely populated areas will also benefit from the implementation of 5G networks. As shipments travel through more populated urban areas, tracking abilities won’t be slowed by a strained network. In the end, 5G enables logistics managers to track their cargo during all points of its journey, from beginning to end.
According to Gartner, nearly two-thirds (66 percent) of organizations have plans to deploy 5G by 2020. As 5G continues to grow, it will become increasingly important for organizations to consider how the network will impact its operations. For the logistics and supply chain industry, embracing the 5G revolution means less delays, smaller losses, and safer work environments, all while saving time and money. Organizations are increasingly looking to own their own spectrum and create a private network for the IoT, instead of relying on communications service providers to facilitate this capability. The time is now to capitalize on 5G’s unprecedented data speed and bandwidth capabilities, and organizations who fail to harness the power of this modern network risk falling behind.