May 16, 2020

UK government to invest £40mn in 5G trials for manufacturing industry

William Smith
2 min
The project will aim to discover the ways 5G can increase productivity and output in manufacturing and logistics
The UK government has announced it is to invest £40mn (US$50.5mn) in 5G testbed and trial projects for UK industry.

Previous trials have been in the h...

The UK government has announced it is to invest £40mn (US$50.5mn) in 5G testbed and trial projects for UK industry.

Previous trials have been in the healthcare, tourism, transport and broadcasting sectors. The project will aim to discover the ways 5G can increase productivity and output in manufacturing and logistics, with an eye on improving the UK economy. 5G is up to 10 times faster than 4G, supporting more than 1mn devices per square kilometre.

Digital Secretary Jeremy Wright said: “As part of our modern Industrial Strategy, we’re making sure that Britain has a telecoms infrastructure that is fit for the future. 5G is about more than mobile phone consumers having a fast and reliable connection anywhere in the country. It’s a vital piece of technology that can be used to improve the productivity and growth of our industrial sectors. That’s why we’re excited to develop new trials in areas such as manufacturing and logistics that can really benefit from 5G.”

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The government said in its 12 June press release that it would also be considering proposals to make the planning process for 4G and 5G rollout.

“Getting the planning system right for future 5G and today’s 4G networks is critical to ensure the UK continues to lead the world in digital connectivity,” said Hamish MacLeod, Director at Mobile UK. “It is right that the Government has announced it is to look at simplifying planning processes and we stand ready to work in partnership to ensure this can happen as quickly as possible to aid the continued rollout of mobile networks.”

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Jun 8, 2021

IMF: Variants Can Still Hurt Manufacturing Recovery

IMF
Manufacturing
COVID19
Musk
Elise Leise
3 min
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) claims that while markets are rising and manufacturing is coming back, it’ll push for global immunisation

After a year of on-and-off manufacturing in the US, UK, and the eurozone, demand for goods surged early last week. Factories set growth records in April and May, suppliers started to recover, and US crude hit its highest price point since pre-COVID. As vaccination efforts immunise much of the US and UK populations, manufacturers are now able to fully ramp up their supply chains. In fact, GDP growth could approach double-digits by 2022

Now, the ISM productivity measure has surpassed the 50-point mark that separates industry expansion from contraction. Since U.S. president Biden passed his US$1.9tn stimulus package and the UK purchasing managers index (PMI) increased to 65.6, both sides of the Atlantic are facing a much-welcomed manufacturing recovery. 

Lingering Concerns Over COVID

Even as Spain, France, Italy, and Germany race to catch up, and mining companies pushed the FTSE 100 index of list shares to a monthly high of 7,129, some say that UK and US markets still suffer from a lack of confidence in raw material supplies. Yes, the Dow Jones has made up its 19,173-point crash of March 2020, and MSCI’s global stock index is at an all-time high. 

Yet manufacturers around the world realise that these wins will be short-lived until pandemic supply chain bottlenecks are solved. If we keep the status quo, consumers will pay the price. In April, inflation in Germany reached 2.4%, and across the EU’s 19 member countries, overall prices have increased at an unusual pace. Some ask: Is this true recovery? 

IMF: Current Boom Could Falter

Even as Elon Musk tweeted about chip shortages forcing Tesla to raise its prices, UK mining demand skyrocketed; housing markets lifted; and the pound sterling gained value. The International Monetary Fund (IMF), however, cautioned that manufacturing recovery won’t last long if COVID mutates into forms our vaccinations can’t touch. Kristalina Georgieva, Washington’s IMF director, noted that fewer than 1% of African citizens have been vaccinated: “Worldwide access to vaccines offers the best hope for stopping the coronavirus pandemic, saving lives, and securing a broad-based economic recovery”. 

Across the globe, manufacturing companies are keeping a watchful eye on new developments in the spread of COVID. Though US FDA officials don’t think we’ll have to “start at square one” with new vaccines, the March 2021 World Economic Outlook states that “high uncertainty” surrounds the projected 6% global growth. Continued manufacturing success will in large part depend on “the path of the pandemic, the effectiveness of policy support, and the evolution of financial conditions”. 

Mathias Cormann, secretary-general of the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) concurred—without global immunisation, the estimated economic boom expected by 2025 could go kaput. “We need to...pursue an all-out effort to reach the entire world population”, Australia’s finance minister added. US$50bn to end COVID across the world, they imply, is a small investment to restart our economies.

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