Fundamentally different from previous generations, 5G, the next generation wireless network technology, is engineered to greatly increase the speed and responsiveness of wireless networks. It promises data rates 100x those of 4G, with network latency around 1 millisecond, support for 1 million devices/sq. km., and 99.999 percent availability of the network. A connected world enabled by 5G is expected to generate data at unprecedented velocity and volume. This “fast data” will fuel a wide range of data-driven services and digital business models.
5G will drastically affect many industries, but the sector that stands to benefit most from the increased connectivity and speed is the logistics industry. With the lower frequency band providing wider coverage in suburban and rural areas, and the higher frequency band providing better coverage in high density urban areas, the logistics and supply chain industry will finally be able to provide end-to-end continuous coverage for monitoring, tracking and theft detection. Historically, a plethora of challenges around lost signals and insufficient coverage in rural areas have plagued the industry, leading to revenue leakage and bottlenecks for re-establishing inventory checks. 5G will solve many of these problems, positively impacting logistics and supply chain management for freight solutions buyers, cargo owners, and others in various ways, including:
5G will enable organizations to track their valuable cargo across all regions by optimizing coverage in areas that were previously far reaching and considered “dead-zones.” Improved geo-location technology will allow for better visibility into delays and unforeseen travel circumstances, ultimately enhancing location intelligence and mitigating resulting problems. 5G will allow organizations to optimize their routes through improved visibility, and avoid unnecessary trips and inefficiencies. In addition to better tracking in large rural areas, highly trafficked areas will also see benefits from the implementation of 5G networks. As shipments traverse through highly populated metropolitan areas, tracking abilities won’t be slowed down by a strained network. Ultimately, 5G facilitates the ability for logistics managers to account for cargo from end-to-end, during all points of its trip.
According to a survey from Moor Insights & Strategy, 90% of logistics and shipping providers believe the lack of supply chain visibility is one of the biggest challenges in the industry today. With 5G, the implementation of cheaper sensors will allow better single item tagging and tracking, and near edge computing on small footprint infrastructure will allow faster inventory checking. 5G will help provide end-to-end visibility, not just at an aggregate level, but into every product, helping avoid revenue leakage via theft and loss. 5G will improve traceability by providing the ability to track and gather data at every step of the way, including if a truck changes weight (indicating a potential problem). This advancement will allow cargo owners to have high amounts of visibility into the shipping process that were previously difficult to access or nonexistent.