Industry 5.0 is knocking on the door and digital transformation is driving this Fifth Industrial Revolution, which will see more collaboration between robots, machines, and humans. This offers immense potential for businesses across sectors, including the telecommunications industry, to utilise innovative technology to diversify, improve productivity and enhance efficiency. We provide an overview of Industry 5.0, the opportunities and challenges, and the impact it will have on humans and business below.
The rise of Industry 5.0 and Innovative Technologies
To understand the rise of industry 5.0, we need to look back on the previous industrial revolutions, which were each characterised by different innovations. The First Industrial Revolution was largely focused on the steam engine and its ability to enable large scale manufacturing. The Second Industrial Revolution was centred around electricity and mass production. The Third Industrial Revolution revolved around computers and information technology. The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) or Industry 4.0 has focused on the merging of human and machine capabilities. This revolution specifically focused on artificial intelligence, cloud computing, genome editing, biometrics, renewable energy, 3D printing, autonomous vehicles, and the Internet of Things (IoT) – and how this technology has become part of our every day and working lives.
Industry 5.0 is the next industrial revolution. In this revolution people, robots and machines will work together to better industries, enhance work efficiency across sectors and improve lives. This revolution will focus on utilising the following innovative technologies, which include artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), robotics, Internet of Things (IoT), autonomous vehicles and self-driving cars, 3D printing, virtual and augmented reality, wearables, additive manufacturing, nanotechnology, biotechnology, energy storage, and quantum computing. These technologies will be harnessed to help humans work faster, enhance productivity, preserve the environment and improve socio-economic issues.
Industry 5.0 impact on businesses
Digital transformation and new advancements in technology have caused many businesses across industry sectors to relook at their operations and processes to enhance productivity and profitability. Industry 5.0 is set to ramp this up even more as it focuses on utilising the cognitive strength of humans and the speed, agility and precision of machines, thus creating cyber-physical systems.
For example, within the manufacturing industry, Industry 5.0 is set to change operations, manufacturing setups, assembly lines and manufacturing processes to create a smart factory. Monotonous, repetitive tasks will be left to industrial robots while the employees will take on more responsibility and supervision of the systems to enhance quality and productivity. Industry 5.0 is centred around finding the optimal balance between efficiency, productivity and accuracy with the aim of supporting employees.
The use of the innovative technology mentioned above also opens up a world of opportunity across different sectors, where what was once impossible could now be a reality. For example:
- In the healthcare sector, collaborative robots could allow for a specialist surgeon to perform a lifesaving operation on a patient halfway around the world.
- Law enforcement could also highly benefit from using the innovative technology that Industry 5.0 is centred around. Instead of putting themselves in danger, officers can use equipment like drones, security cameras and more to assess a situation and create a plan of action to ensure safety.
- In the agriculture sector, this technology and cobots can be used to detect minerals in the soil and drones could be used to identify optimal crops and planting opportunities etc. This insight will help farmers with crop planning and with a way to utilise their resources better.
Industry 5.0 and the human element
Industry 5.0 follows a human-centric approach where machines are used to help human workers work more efficiently, as well as create a safer and more inclusive work environment. There is also a focus on utilising technology to up-skill and re-skill employees. This means that the technology and interaction utilised must be adapted to the needs of the workers and industry. If this is implemented in efficiently and effectively, a business will experience the following benefits:
- Better use of resources, cost optimisation and time saving which all enhance profitability and revenue.
- A reduction of waste and a focus on the protection of the environment. This will allow a business to comply with new sustainability policies, regulations and laws.
- Technological innovations will allow business to personalise and customise offerings to diversify and enhance industry competitiveness
- Increased resilience, flexibility and agility to changing markets, situations or economic elements affecting the sector, for example, a global pandemic.
There is no doubt that Industry 5.0 offers immense benefits and opportunities for businesses, organisations and humans, but there are still several challenges that need to be overcome. One of the main challenges is the need for a human touch and upskilling employees on this new technology and how to utilise it effectively. An understanding of the technology is necessary for it to be utilised to its full potential for business. Many businesses are also slowly making a move towards implementing technology changes, but this requires a fair amount of investment which in the current economic times is often not possible. This is making the shift towards Industry 5.0 slower.
Industry 5.0 impact on Telecommunications
The telecommunications industry is set to be impacted by Industry 5.0, with connectivity, big data, artificial intelligence (AI), and the Internet of Things (IoT) being central to this digital revolution’s success. It will provide several opportunities for Mobile Network Operators (MNO) and Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNO) to diversify, reposition themselves and create new business models focused on adding value to their customer base.
According to a recent Deloitte study, ‘The Future of the Telco Business Model’, at the centre of this is Artificial Intelligence and its capacity for machine learning, cognitive analytics, robotics automation, and bots that can take on tasks that require human intelligence. When this technology is interconnected with IoT, it can boost employee productivity and automate complicated workloads. This technology is also essential for advanced analytics as it can take big data sets and sources and detect patterns and relationships between the data in real-time to develop actionable insights about customer segments and the Telco network. Telcos can use this insight and information to optimise efficiency, reduce resources, limit human errors, predict trends, mitigate risks and more.
This technology will also allow Telcos to monitor the end-to-end network and performance of connected devices, applications, service network components and identify vulnerabilities and threats related to security. Each of these elements impacts customer experience, allows for informed decision making, improves service quality, reduces churn and enhances overall profitability.
Another element that Industry 5.0 will impact is the increased use of self-service platforms for end-users. These platforms will replace the need for call centres in five to ten years and provide customers with more control and access to vital information and data. This not only enhances the customer experience but will save on resources by reducing the need for a customer service team.
By utilising this technology Telcos will be able to diversify their service offerings and business models, allowing them to tap into new markets, enhance customer experience and carve new niches that will give them a competitive edge. This allows for further personalisation of products, services and offerings, which will add value to different customer segments and increase profitability and competitiveness.
However, there are some challenges associated with Industry 5.0, which is largely related to the cost of implementing these technologies, the slow adoption of mobile smartphones and more specifically, the 5G rollout across Sub-Saharan Africa. This impacts the implementation of IoT ecosystems and other innovative technologies.
According to GSMA’s Mobile Economy Report for 2021, 2G, 3G, and 4G still, dominate the technology mix across Sub-Saharan Africa. By 2025, 5G is set to account for only 3% of the technology mix, compared to 48% across Greater China and 35% across Europe. Sub-Saharan Africa also accounts for one of the largest unconnected populations with 28% of mobile internet subscribers, 48% of people who live in areas covered by mobile broadband networks but who do not yet use mobile internet services, and 24% of people without access to mobile internet services. Thus, showcasing that 5G and mobile internet still have a way to go in this region which will impact the rollout of Industry 5.0.
Industry 5.0 offers immense potential for businesses across sectors, especially for those in the telecommunications industry. Digital transformation is driving the change and a shift to where machines and humans collaborate to enhance working conditions, efficiency, and productivity. This does not come without its challenges, but we at Adapt IT Telecoms are excited to watch this revolution unfold and are positive about the outlook and interaction between humans and machine intelligence. This is undoubtedly a space to watch with many opportunities to grow and diversify the industry as we know it.
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As the Global Head of Marketing and Business Development with 20 years of experience, Agnieszka’s expertise lies in the practical implementation of digital and traditional marketing strategies for B2C and B2B companies. Through her long-term, client-focused, strategic approach, and branding experience, she continues to develop innovative marketing plans that yield significant results.
Now working in the SaaS industry, she oversees a multitude of solutions within the telecommunications industry including Customer Experience & Self-service, VAS, NextGen, IoT, FinTech, and Advanced Analytics.