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Transforming PH industries through 5G+

Next-generation technologies can prepare PH for greater resilience

Carlos Reyes, Customer Business Team head, The Philippines, Nokia

COVID-19 is digitally transforming how we live and work. Amid this evolution, highly digital sectors such as e-commerce emerged as transformation leaders while physically intensive ones like energy, mining and shipping were more adversely impacted. Yet, the need to transform is greater for physical industries; they must invest more heavily and strategically in Industry 4.0 capabilities to withstand future disruptions.

The Philippines is poised to enter this next economic phase. Not only is it among the first Southeast Asian nations to make 5G commercially available, it also bucked the regional trend of information and communications technology (ICT) expenditure by doubling down on investments, even amid the pandemic’s outbreak. With the government accelerating its connectivity drive and the 5G momentum continuing, the nation’s enterprises have reached a critical juncture for digitalization.

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Looking beyond 5G

While 5G will soon be pervasive in the Philippines, physical industries must go beyond just having foundational 5G networks. According to Nokia Bell Labs, they must be complemented by the merging of enterprise ICT and industrial OT (operations technologies)—meaning the innovation and synchronization of digital and physical systems for the organization’s benefit.

This enables next-gen connectivity to integrate with broad ecosystem of key technologies, collectively termed as 5G+. Facilitating industrial transformation along 5G+ lines requires enterprises to prioritize enablers including pervasive 5G networks, augmented intelligence and machine learning (AugI/ML) systems, private networks, advanced sensors and robotics, end-to-end (E2E) security and network-as-a-service business models.

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Accelerating transformation via SPE gains

Industries aiming to reap the most benefits of digitalization at faster speeds and scale must optimize their 5G+ technology usage to digitally augment themselves via SPE (safety, productivity and efficiency) improvements:

Safety: measuring the decrease in safety-related incidents. AugI/ML, when coupled with intelligent video sensing, allows industrial sites to detect accidents before they happen, proactively improving both worker and equipment safety.

Productivity: the volume increase of goods or services produced from the same asset base. Using AugI/ML systems to improve a factory’s forecasting capabilities of specific market demands, thus allowing for anticipatory operations while reducing response times and maximizing operational capacities.

Efficiency: the ability to reduce the number of resources consumed for the same output level. Innovative sensory technologies using video analytics powered by AugI/ML can detect machine failures in industrial sites before they happen, thus helping minimize unexpected disruptions.

Achieving SPE benefits via 5G+ enablers empower industries to do more with less at greater speed and scale. They can be enhanced by network-as-a-service business models (i.e., programmable ones with 5G technologies in mind) and better network redundancy, alongside improved business intelligence powered by digital acceleration tools.

Gearing up for the next big inversion

The government’s digitalization efforts highlight the Philippines’ inverse reaction to technologies that could help itself navigate COVID-19’s challenges—as expected once sectors and businesses adapted to the crisis. That, alongside the growing ability of economic actors to take advantage of 5G means that the Philippines has arrived at the inflection point for mass 5G+ adoption.

By taking a proactive stance, the Philippines’ industries and enterprises can ride the initial adopter wave and gain a competitive advantage by realizing SPE benefits. These gains will then be compounded once mass adoption of 5G+ continues nationwide, generating a higher impact and contribution to its economy. —CONTRIBUTED INQ

The author is Customer Business Team Head for Nokia Philippines

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