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How will 5G shape the future of the construction industry?

Author:QINSUN Released in:2024-01 Click:90

5G is a driving force that provides new capabilities and opportunities for businesses in various industries. James Bristow, Senior Vice President of Cradlepoint Europe, Middle East, and Africa, introduced us to how 5G can provide power for future construction sites and discussed how the visionary company Taylor Construction can launch the first practical deployment of 5G connectivity.

From real-time 3D modeling to GPS tracking devices and tools, construction sites are often hotbeds of cutting-edge technology. On the other hand, making devices communicate with each other may be a challenge. After all, it is difficult to insert a laptop into a wall before it has been built.

This provides a clear use case for wireless as the primary method of industry network connectivity, and it has been proven that this field is as transformative as the physical devices it connects to. From gigabit speeds on LTE to millisecond latency of 5G, the powerful capabilities of Wireless Wide Area Network (WWAN) enable sites to achieve Ethernet like connection quality without the need for a single cable.

How 5G will provide power for future construction sites

5G is expected to provide 10 to 100 times faster speeds. Compared to the current Long Term Evolution (LTE) network, it can also release 10 to 100 times more capacity. This will enable construction workers to have almost immediate access to data intensive Edge and cloud applications, allowing multiple users to interact in real-time from anywhere in the world. Given that construction sites are complex and constantly changing environments, this will be a huge advancement.

Through network slicing, higher data processing capabilities, and more efficient connection channels, 5G is also the key to unleashing large-scale machine based communication capabilities in the construction industry. This technology will provide highly scalable range and wide geographical coverage to assist complex building and infrastructure projects (such as smart cities), where the number of nodes will be much higher than normal projects.

Looking ahead to the future, 5G will also prove to be the key to accelerating the industry's move towards autonomous and remote operations - in other words, projects can be completed solely by machines without the need for on-site personnel. Even with the current existence of remote control technology, 5G's ultra-low latency can eliminate any connection delay and ensure that work is completed with sufficient speed and accuracy. This may also release the functions of autonomous driving machines, enabling accurate area drawing, signal recognition, and more effective communication with other machines.

A Real Example of 5G Tested in the Construction Industry

Recently, the visionary company Taylor Construction demonstrated the power of 5G in the transformation of the construction industry, which was one of the first practical deployments of 5G connectivity.

Driven by the need for more advanced and agile software platforms to support everything from blueprint design to site security, Taylor Construction points out that such applications require real-time data, which can only be achieved in 5G networks when bandwidth is high, latency is low, and running continuously at the server edge.

By using the enterprise level WWANEdge solution provided by Cradlepoint, the company has successfully deployed many new on-site innovations driven by 5G:

Holographic architectural visualization - including hybrid reality smart glasses that Taylor employees and clients can wear on site to render virtual models of buildings or elements of construction processes, such as holographic structural steel, frames, or electrical schematics.

By using wireless cameras for 360 degree 8K stream and QR code scanning, on-site workers can deploy digital sensing tracking, and it is said that risk management can be improved by automating the process of ensuring that everyone completes safety training.

Internet of Things (IoT) structural sensing - using intelligent sensors fixed on steel bars and embedded in concrete to send data to the cloud, which can then be quickly and deeply analyzed. Therefore, Taylor Construction can determine whether the concrete is poured correctly and track any movement of the concrete over time.

Real time design display - allows on-site staff to make real-time changes to digital blueprints on tablets and display them on large displays on trailers.

This case study indicates that the future of enterprise level 5G has officially landed in the construction and other industries. With the quality and speed of fiber optic broadband connections, as well as the mobility and agility of wireless connections, it is evident that the transformative power of 5G has become a reality.

Innovation platform

Although 5G is achieving technological leaps at a faster pace, the construction industry is still only superficially exploring its full potential. Just like the innovation brought about by the powerful features of 4GLTE, we don't know how 5G will be reflected in exciting new use cases in the future. But what we know is that this future is bright.

It is evident that 5G will improve the productivity, safety, and compliance of construction and engineering. But this is by no means the ultimate goal. On the contrary, 5G will become a catalyst for continuous improvement and innovation, helping to accelerate the use cases of companies in the construction and other industries towards the future.