As 2019 sets into stride, it seems a natural time to reflect on what has been and look ahead to what the coming year may hold. For the Worcestershire 5G Testbed, it’s a good opportunity to look at the challenges that the trials are striving to overcome and the impact that the results could have, not just for the county, but on a national scale.
According to data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), productivity grew by only 0.2% in the third quarter of 2018 when compared with the same quarter a year ago. It is the weakest growth in two years and only around one-tenth of the average rate observed pre-2008 when the UK’s ‘productivity-puzzle’ emerged.
The government’s digital strategy is designed to tackle this productivity slump, with improvements to digital infrastructure featuring as a core part of the solution. 5G will play a critical role and promises to be a driving force for innovation and productivity, perhaps none more so than in the manufacturing sector.
As new technologies like 5G become increasingly integrated with traditional manufacturing systems, the manufacturing process will become intelligent and dynamic, able to self-optimise performance and operate automatically. The introduction of 5G will enable the creation of smart factories, allowing businesses to increase their output by streamlining operations to optimise the manufacturing process from start to finish in the most cost-efficient and safe way possible.
Early predictions suggest that manufacturing firms using 5G could see as much as a 1% increase in productivity. This would hold huge benefits for the UK economy, and proves that if new technologies are strategically adopted, it is possible to make a real difference to productivity levels.
The results from trials undertaken at the Consortium will be fed into the broader 5G ecosystem and used to create a new business model. With Worcestershire forming the blueprint model for how this could work nationally, it’s safe to say that the county is leading the way for UK innovation – a reputation that is only likely to strengthen in 2019.
Stay up to date with the latest news from the Worcestershire 5G consortium on the LEP website here.