Nov 23, 2020

5G to Give UK Manufacturing £5.2bn Economic Boost

Manufacturing
5G
covid-19
UK
Oliver Freeman
3 min
5G smart manufacturing.
The UK will benefit from £14.8 billion in additional economic growth from the potential of 5G networks to businesses...

According to an independent report from research firm Analysys Mason, titled Cost-Benefit Analysis on Full 5G Deployment ─ UK, the study, commissioned by Ericsson and Qualcomm Technologies, provides a cost-benefit analysis of 5G by market segment.

Notably, over three-quarters of the total projected additional economic growth from 5G will be driven by three industries: manufacturing (£5.2bn), construction (£4.2bn), and agriculture (£2.2bn).

Recovering from COVID-19

John Griffin, head of Ericsson UK & Ireland, commented: ”This new research shows that 5G technology will be a foundation for the UK’s future as it recovers from COVID-19 and builds a world-leading digital economy. As an open innovation platform, 5G will accelerate digital transformation and help the UK establish a truly global leadership position in the industries and technologies of the future. Ericsson is already leading the deployment of 5G in the UK and is committed to developing the early use cases that will deliver the economic, social and environmental returns to build a sustainable and resilient infrastructure for future generations.”

The report provides a glimpse of what the UK’s future powerhouse industries might look like. Use cases include thousands of connected sensors to allow for unprecedented monitoring of factories; remotely controlled and autonomous vehicles such as forklifts and tractors; extended reality (XR) to enhance worker capabilities and advanced collaborative robotics, such as drones, for surveillance.

The First Foray into 5G

The UK’s first 5G factory, launched by Worcester Bosch, is demonstrating some of these possibilities already with real-time machine sensors to reduce downtime and increase product safety, while Ford and Siemens are adding 5G-powered low latency connectivity and private networks to help improve productivity and efficiency within existing factory systems.

Alongside levelling up the UK’s economy, 5G can also be central in creating a more sustainable economy, a key priority for the UK government, which has committed to placing sustainability at the heart of its economic recovery plans to ’build back greener’.

The report highlights several challenges the UK faces in realising the full benefits of 5G.

Despite being an early leader in launching 5G networks, the estimated 5G population coverage in the UK was most recently circa 30 per cent, placing it around the average for European countries where 5G has been launched. This places the UK well behind leaders Switzerland and Finland, and level with countries such as Denmark and Sweden.

The paper makes several specific recommendations on UK policy that would help the country accelerate its 5G adoption, including:

  • Ramping up the availability and uptake of 5G infrastructure for use in priority sectors relating to production and logistics, such as manufacturing, freight and utilities, that will see the largest and most significant benefits.
  • Extending 5G coverage further into rural areas.
  • Encouraging operators to roll out high-density networks to provide very high capacity for 5G in urban applications, such as construction.

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Jun 16, 2021

Fluent.ai x BSH: Voice Automating the Assembly Line

Fluentai
BSH
AI
Technology
2 min
Fluent.ai and BSH announce plans to bring speech-to-intent AI to the assembly line that will increase factory efficiency and improve worker ergonomics

Fluent.ai has deployed its voice recognition solutions in one of BSH’s German factories. BSH leads the market in producing connected appliances—its brands include Bosch, Siemens, Gaggenau, NEFF, and Thermador, and with this new partnership, the company intends to cut transition time in its assembly lines. 

 

According to BSH, voice automation will yield 75-100% efficiency gains—but it’s the collaboration between the two companies that stands out. ‘After considering 11 companies for this partnership, we chose Fluent.ai because of their key competitive differentiators’, explained Ion Hauer, Venture Partner at BSH Startup Kitchen.

 

What Sets Fluent.ai Apart? 

After seven years of research, the company developed a wide range of artificial intelligence (AI) software products to help original equipment manufacturers (OEM) expand their services. Three key aspects stood out to BSH, which operates across the world and in unique factory environments.  

 

  • Robust noise controls. The system can operate even in loud conditions. 
  • Low latency. The AI understands commands quickly and accurately. 
  • Multilingual support. BSH can expand the automation to any of its 50+ country operations. 

 

How Voice Automation Works

Instead of pressing buttons, BSH factory workers will now be able to speak into a headset fitted with Fluent.ai’s voice recognition technology. After uttering a WakeWord, workers can use a command to start assembly line movement. As the technology is hands-free, workers benefit from less physical strain, which will both reduce employee fatigue and boost line production. 

 

‘Implementing Fluent’s technology has already improved efficiencies within our factory, with initial implementation of the solution cutting down the transition time from four seconds to one and a half”, said Markus Maier, Project Lead at the BSH factory. ‘In the long run, the production time savings will be invaluable’. 

 

Future Global Adoption 

In the coming years, BSH and Fluent.ai will continue to push for artificial intelligence on factory lines, pursuing efficiency, ergonomics, and a healthy work environment. ‘We started with Fluent.ai on one factory assembly line, moved to three, and [are now] considering rolling the technology out worldwide’, said Maier. 

 

Said Probal Lala, Fluent.ai’s CEO: ‘We are thrilled to be working with BSH, a company at the forefront of innovation. Seeing your solution out in the real world is incredibly rewarding, and we look forward to continuing and growing our collaboration’. 

 

 

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