Limited 5G network deployments have begun in some markets in 2019, with widespread rollout expected to take place through the 2020s. The 5G wireless technology promises to accelerate data speeds, improve quality, and reduce latency in the world’s mobile networks all of which means higher performance than today’s broadband wired networks. “5G will be a game changer because it’s 100 times faster and will support 100 times more devices than current 4G networks,” according to the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association.
What Impact Will 5G Have On Supply Chain Management
The speed of 5G and its ability to handle volumes of data will have a profound affect on supply chain management as well as virtually any industry. The technology is expected to fuel the growth of innovations such as the Internet of Things, ,robotics, and drones in the supply chain. More generally, it promises to trigger a wave of new applications and services that cuts across all industries. Payment gateways will be able to process more transactions at a much faster pace. Document transactions, particularly for international shipments, will be streamlines and sped up and online purchasing will experience a genesis as it all connects wirelessly wit countless devices to clouds of data via more intelligent and dynamic networks. 5G is sure to transform online transactional commerce.
IoT technologies can enhance supply chain management using identity chips, sensors, communication devices, cloud computing networks, and data analytics engines all working together to fuel automation, continuous feedback, and better decision-making. With 5G, billions more IoT devices can be connected to the global network, according to Ericsson, a telecommunications equipment manufacturer.
In warehouses and distribution centers, 5G will allow faster updates and access to more computational power for myriad industrial and warehouse-centric use cases. On the factory floor, 5G networks can help managers better monitor quality, increase speed, respond to supply fluctuations, and simplify workflows.
On the financial side of things 5G networks will provide the needed support for systems like blockchain technology. You may recall from some of our previous articles we see blockchain as a significant technology in international commerce. It will enhance the security of transactions and legitimize all parties involved. A blockchain is, in the simplest of terms, is a time-stamped series of immutable records of data that is managed by a cluster of computers not owned by any single entity. Each of these blocks of data is secured and bound to each other using cryptographic principles. The blockchain network has no central authority. It is the very definition of a democratized system. Since it is a shared and immutable ledger, the information in it is open for anyone and everyone to see. Hence, anything that is built on the blockchain is by its very nature transparent and everyone involved is accountable for their actions.
Lastly, in the retail industry, initially, it’s expected to greatly improve all the things retailers do now with 4G to make money, save money, be more competitive, and offer shoppers superior in-store and online experiences. Then, after a period of maturity, it will open the doors to a whole new age of capabilities. Savvy retailers will utilize high-resolution video, augmented reality, and even virtual reality to differentiate themselves from the competition. A new age of commerce is indeed upon us.
When 5G is widely available, its speed, quality, and lower latency will help realize the promise of many applications already under development, from the Internet of Things and robotics to virtual reality. Many of these innovations simply wouldn’t work well enough at slower data speeds, with lower quality and higher latency. New applications are also expected to emerge, and as with any technology, many will be hard to imagine until 5G is actually in the field. The supply chain is seen as a particularly strong candidate for 5G innovation, including IoT devices for better monitoring, control, and even financing.