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AI coupled with 5G improves industrial network operations

Oct. 12, 2023
The combination of two emerging technologies can boost plant security, increase real-time condition monitoring, improve predictive maintenance as well as offering other manufacturing benefits.

The convergence of AI and 5G is set to redefine the manufacturing world as we know it. With 5G’s rapid speed, minimal latency and expansive bandwidth, processing chunks of real-time data has now become a reality. This sets the stage for AI to step in and utilize all the data that can automate tasks, refine decision-making and optimize operations.

For manufacturing IT, the convergence of AI and 5G could prompt multiple changes:

  • First, it would require a shift from centralized to distributed IT architectures since AI-powered applications need to be able to process data in real time, which is something not possible with centralized architectures.
  • Second, it would require a new generation of software tools that would integrate AI and 5G together.

As technology matures, its impact on manufacturing is likely to be even greater. These applications are primed to have immediate, real-world impact:

Intelligent network planning, predictive maintenance

AI plays a pivotal role in network management, particularly in the context of modern and complex 5G networks. AI-powered systems can monitor network health, detect anomalies, and proactively address issues. AI also can be instrumental in network planning, helping operators make informed decisions about infrastructure and capacity requirements. By analyzing historical data and predicting future demand, AI algorithms optimize network planning while reducing costs.

AI-powered sensors, coupled with real-time data from 5G networks, enable predictive maintenance. Equipment health can be continuously monitored, and AI algorithms can predict maintenance needs, minimizing downtime and optimizing maintenance schedules. Fueled by 5G-connected sensors, AI can accurately predict equipment failures, minimizing unplanned downtime and costly repairs. This can be extended to enhancing production lines, elevating quality control and even tailoring products for personalized experiences.

Cognitive and secure network operations, remote operations

AI and machine learning (ML) techniques have already proven to be influential in network operations, where AI enables intelligent and autonomous management of 5G networks. AI-powered systems monitor network performance and adjust parameters to optimize operations. Machine learning algorithms continuously learn from network data, predict issues and proactively ensure seamless network performance, improving efficiency and user experience.

AI also enhances the security of 5G networks, enabling the telecom industry to protect data and combat threats. AI algorithms can detect and mitigate security breaches by identifying anomalous behaviors and patterns of malicious activities in real time. This proactive approach safeguards sensitive information, maintains user privacy and preserves network integrity.

AI-driven remote control of machinery through 5G networks enables operators to manage processes safely from afar, reducing the need for physical presence and increasing flexibility.

Energy efficient sustainable networks

As the demand for data and connectivity continues to rise, energy consumption in the manufacturing industry becomes a critical concern. The integration of AI algorithms can optimize energy consumption in manufacturing processes, and 5G’s low latency ensures quick response to changes in demand, improving energy efficiency.

AI algorithms can analyze real-time data from network elements, such as base stations, switches and routers, to identify energy inefficiencies and optimize power consumption. By dynamically adjusting power levels based on network traffic patterns and demand, AI-driven energy management systems ensure efficient resource allocation, minimizing unnecessary energy consumption during periods of low activity. Furthermore, AI can optimize network operations to minimize energy consumption while maintaining service quality. For example, AI algorithms can predict network traffic and adjust the routing and scheduling of data transmissions to avoid unnecessary energy expenditure. By intelligently managing network resources, AI reduces energy waste and improves overall network efficiency.

Enhanced network performance

The integration of AI into 5G networks brings significant advancements in network performance. AI algorithms can analyze network traffic, predict demand fluctuations and allocate resources effectively. This results in improved network utilization, reduced latency and increased bandwidth availability. These enhancements enable superior user experiences such as seamless video streaming and immersive virtual reality.

The convergence of AI and 5G networks has ushered in a new era of possibilities for the manufacturing Industry. Though in its infancy, the synergy of AI and 5G is poised to redefine manufacturing. Automation, refined decision-making and operational optimization promise heightened efficiency, productivity, and competitiveness for businesses. The stage is set, and as this powerful alliance gathers momentum, the manufacturing landscape stands on the brink of a remarkable evolution.

About the Author

Manish Mangal | Global head of 5G and network services, Tech Mahindra

Manish Mangal is global head of 5G and network services for Tech Mahindra.