Africa’s budding 5G infrastructure provides an unparalleled opportunity for growth in local manufacturing

Over the past few years, technology experts have been extolling the potential of 5G technology to transform how we operate in a highly connected modern world. Buzz words such as Smart Homes and Smart Cities have worked their way into discussions at every level of society. In more recent months, the deployment of 5G networks across South Africa has taken these ideas from hypothetical scenarios to actionable opportunities, particularly for those in the manufacturing sector.

We are already accustomed to living in responsive homes and Smart offices, thanks to the power of WiFi, and it makes sense that the next frontier is bringing the power of connectivity to the factory floor. While standard WiFi can support several networked devices in a home or office space, this technology was never well-suited for industrial applications. The thousands of sensors and other devices in a manufacturing or warehouse setting demand a more flexible, robust, and secure network solution, which 5G and Edge Computing provide.

Smart factory solutions are now offering huge advantages for early adopters in security, labor productivity, and capacity utilization, to name a few. In a recent study conducted by Deloitte and the Manufacturer’s Alliance for Productivity and Innovation (MAPI), respondents cited double-digit gains in labour productivity (12%), factory capacity utilization (11%), and total production output (10%) during the previous three years as a result of Smart Factory initiatives.

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