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The introduction of the fifth-generation (5G) wireless network has resulted in a significant transformation in the way industries throughout the world function. Telecom companies in the Asia-Pacific region are aggressively embracing 5G implementation, spurred on by a host of reasons that promise to change connectivity and open unprecedented possibilities. According to a recent study by International Data Corporation (IDC), one of the world's major market intelligence firms, the integration of Industrial Internet of Things (IoT) applications is a primary factor driving the push for 5G adoption by Asia-Pacific telecom operators.

The IDC report “Industry 4.0 and Beyond: How 5G-IoT Integration Enables Sustainable Operations” illustrates the current environment of how Industry 4.0 is assisting enterprises in Asia-Pacific to reach their sustainability goals. According to IDC's 2022 Telecom Carrier Transformation Survey, 12.4% of telecom carrier respondents in Asia-Pacific saw Industrial Internet-of-Things (IIoT) as a key rationale for initiating 5G services.

Expanding the Horizons of Industrial IoT

The term "Industrial IoT" refers to a network of connected devices, sensors and systems in numerous industrial sectors that enable real-time data collection, analysis and process improvement. The promise of Industrial IoT has piqued the interest of businesses, governments and technology experts alike, as it promises to boost efficiency, productivity and sustainability in areas, including manufacturing, logistics, energy and healthcare.

According to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, sustainability is the essential business strategy for the future. Smart manufacturing, energy-efficient construction and low-impact industrialization are examples of supporting activities. Industry 4.0 bridges this gap by integrating traditional industrial processes with digital technology, artificial intelligence and, of course, the Internet of Things.

According to predictions by IDC, 5G connections in Asia-Pacific will increase from the previous amount of 574 million in 2021 to 3,234 million in 2025, rising at a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 87.9%. According to the IDC Carrier Transformation Survey 2022, the most crucial use cases for the advent of 5G include vital industries such as manufacturing, Smart Cities with smart mobility and smart buildings.

"The shift to a greener, lower-carbon future will be made possible through digitization and connectivity," said Piyush Singh, senior market analyst, telecommunications and IoT, Asia Pacific. "One of the concepts in Industry 4.0 is efficiency equals energy saving. Anything and everything organizations do to save energy ultimately increases efficiency,” Mr. Singh added.

5G plays an important role in delivering a whole new set of ecosystems for businesses, which can help them achieve their sustainability goals much more easily and robustly. Private or dedicated networks have been established in manufacturing plants around the Asia Pacific to control various pieces of equipment on-premises. Unstable wireless communication and latency are challenges to digital transformation adoption in every organization that can be overcome with the help of 5G. IoT devices demand extremely reliable connections, which can be easily delivered via a private 5G network.

South Korea is a great example of how Industrial IoT and 5G are driving a manufacturing revolution. Back in 2020, SK Telecom, one of the country's top telecom carriers, introduced a 5G-enabled smart factory. This takes advantage of 5G's fast data transfer speeds and low latency to enable real-time monitoring of manufacturing lines, predictive maintenance and remote machine management. As a result, productivity, cost reduction and overall operational efficiency have all improved significantly in the smart factory.

The integration of Industrial IoT applications with 5G networks is transforming industries and forging the Asia-Pacific region's digital transformation path. Telecom providers here recognize the vast potential of Industrial IoT in promoting innovation, efficiency and competitiveness. Telecom operators are paving the path for seamless connectivity and opening up new options for businesses to exploit Industrial IoT solutions by implementing 5G networks.

The opportunities for revolutionary applications are limitless as industries embrace the benefits of 5G-enabled Industrial IoT. The combination of 5G and Industrial IoT is transforming traditional industries and driving economic growth, from smart manufacturing and logistics efficiency to energy management and healthcare breakthroughs.

The collaboration between telecom carriers and industrial partners is hastening the development of customized 5G solutions that answer specific business needs and thereby unlock the far-reaching potential of Industrial IoT applications. The advantages of 5G-enabled Industrial IoT, such as increased efficiency, huge device connectivity, remote management and improved safety, are propelling businesses into a future of digital transformation and unparalleled connectivity.

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