5G Beyond Borders

Smart Manufacturing in North America
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Sam runs a toy store in Canada.
She is placing an order for custom teddy bears.
Sam’s small business must keep costs low to remain competitive.
5G-enabled smart manufacturing allows for:
  • Flexible, on-demand purchasing
  • Reduced wait times between orders and production
  • Real time shipment tracking
The Supply Chain
When the order is received, sensors monitor supply levels in real time through a cellular industrial internet of things (IIoT) hosted on the company’s private cloud.
Before more teddy bears are created, the factory needs one more thing: fluff!
The US-based factory uses machine learning to search through inventory data and quickly assesses there is an impending shortage of cotton fluff.
The US-based factory then places an order with their preferred cotton producer, located in Mexico.
With an increase in the number of 5G connected devices, both the US teddy bear factory and the Mexican cotton producer have greater visibility into the entirety of the supply chain.
In Mexico, the company receives the order and quickly signals their need for raw materials to a cotton mill.
Lower latency (how quickly data can be accessed) allows IIoT sensors to communicate efficiently with minimal lag-time.
Mexican cotton producer
US-based factory
Due to faster speeds and lower latency the factory, producer, and raw materials plant are able to communicate at never‑before‑seen speeds.
In a matter of hours, the cotton is shipped to the producer, spun into fluff, and placed out for delivery to the US factory.
Smart Manufacturing
Assembly Begins!
Low Latency
The connection between the intake and assembly is fast - in near real-time - and much more reliable. The factory processes inventory of all necessary resources, including the cotton that has just arrived from Mexico.
Computer vision provides a new way for factory employees to remotely monitor the assembly process through augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR).
5G speeds will unify the manufacturing process, boosting efficiency and minimizing downtime by enabling multiple smart devices to share the same network.
For example, a series of 5G-enabled collaborative robots (cobots) put together all bear parts in stock.
Sensors and cobots exchange information with one another, processing data at blazing speeds and making on-the-fly adjustments on the factory floor.
Connection Density
Thanks to 5G, numerous IIoT devices are connected to a single network.
These networks of IIoT are able to produce and analyze large amounts of data, and communicate to work together in a seamless production cycle.
Powering AI Algorithms
5G allows AI algorithms to analyze these massive amounts of machine-generated data, which translates to optimizations around sales through predicting consumer tendencies, processing multiple orders at a single time, and directing resources for shipping and assembly.
Shipping and Logistics
With faster speeds and more data, AI algorithms will also be able to streamline logistics by predicting optimal routes via analyzing GPS, traffic, and weather information.
Improved Sensors
5G’s ability to connect up to 1 million sensors in a quarter square mile allows for end-to-end visibility in the supply chain — creating more efficient item tracking, inventory checking, and real-time traceability of products.
Faster Shipping
5G’s improved network speeds enable autonomous vehicle communication, in turn supporting faster shipping and logistics decisions.
Autonomous trucks distribute the finished products to toy stores across Canada, including Sam’s.
Practical Policy Questions
5G policy implications span a variety of issues, including:
Securing the Supply Chain
How can governments support trade across borders while ensuring relevant regulatory standards, including safety and privacy, are met?
Protecting Data
How safe is the data being shared across 5G networks, from customer data to business proprietary data that can be used by competitors? When communicating with a factory in a different country, can Sam’s business be sure that data is secure? Are the security settings of IoT devices being properly managed?
Improving Cybersecurity
Payments across countries will be required to buy and sell the new materials for production, so both regulatory and cybersecurity concerns must be addressed.
Supporting Economic Cooperation
With ratification of the USMCA trade deal, 5G hyper-connectivity and cooperation can boost North America’s economy and digital marketplace.
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