Three Ways 5G Will Benefit the Logistics Industry
Fundamentally different from previous generations, 5G, the next generation wireless network technology, is engineered to greatly increase the speed and responsiveness of wireless networks. It promises data rates 100x those of 4G, with network latency around 1 millisecond, support for 1 million devices/sq. km., and 99.999 percent availability of the network. A connected world enabled by 5G is expected to generate data at unprecedented velocity and volume. This “fast data” will fuel a wide range of data-driven services and digital business models.
5G will drastically affect many industries, but the sector that stands to benefit most from the increased connectivity and speed is the logistics industry. With the lower frequency band providing wider coverage in suburban and rural areas, and the higher frequency band providing better coverage in high density urban areas, the logistics and supply chain industry will finally be able to provide end-to-end continuous coverage for monitoring, tracking and theft detection. Historically, a plethora of challenges around lost signals and insufficient coverage in rural areas have plagued the industry, leading to revenue leakage and bottlenecks for re-establishing inventory checks. 5G will solve many of these problems, positively impacting logistics and supply chain management for freight solutions buyers, cargo owners, and others in various ways, including:
Better location tracking and route optimization
5G will enable organizations to track their valuable cargo across all regions by optimizing coverage in areas that were previously far reaching and considered “dead-zones.” Improved geo-location technology will allow for better visibility into delays and unforeseen travel circumstances, ultimately enhancing location intelligence and mitigating resulting problems. 5G will allow organizations to optimize their routes through improved visibility, and avoid unnecessary trips and inefficiencies. In addition to better tracking in large rural areas, highly trafficked areas will also see benefits from the implementation of 5G networks. As shipments traverse through highly populated metropolitan areas, tracking abilities won’t be slowed down by a strained network. Ultimately, 5G facilitates the ability for logistics managers to account for cargo from end-to-end, during all points of its trip.
Continuous tracking with cheaper IoT sensors to avoid revenue leakage
According to a survey from Moor Insights & Strategy, 90% of logistics and shipping providers believe the lack of supply chain visibility is one of the biggest challenges in the industry today. With 5G, the implementation of cheaper sensors will allow better single item tagging and tracking, and near edge computing on small footprint infrastructure will allow faster inventory checking. 5G will help provide end-to-end visibility, not just at an aggregate level, but into every product, helping avoid revenue leakage via theft and loss. 5G will improve traceability by providing the ability to track and gather data at every step of the way, including if a truck changes weight (indicating a potential problem). This advancement will allow cargo owners to have high amounts of visibility into the shipping process that were previously difficult to access or nonexistent.
Enhanced communication and repairs through VR and AR
The implementation of the 5G network will allow for technologies like enhanced virtual reality (VR) to support on-the-road backup (and other assists). For instance, using VR, a remote mechanic could assist with road-side assistance, decreasing unexpected downtimes. Augmented reality (AR) can be integrated into vehicles to provide better end point recognition and ultimately enhance the safety of the driver. These technological updates will decrease time allotted for maintenance and save companies money as in-house mechanics can be on-call for any issues that may arise in-transit.
Embracing the 5G revolution
As 5G becomes available, it is important for solutions buyers to consider the impact it will have on efficiency, safety, and revenue. Increased visibility for fleet and cargo owners directly translates to decreases in delays and losses, ultimately saving time and money, and protecting the workers involved in cargo transport. Implementing advanced technologies to complement 5G networks will lead to more efficient business practices across logistics and supply chain companies.