Resources Manufacturing

Working Group: Manufacturing - October Report

    Report Published on 4 Nov 2019
Monthly report following the inaugural 5G Manufacturing Working Group meeting

Monthly Report – October 2019 

Written by Dritan Kaleshi – WG Co-chair 
The UK5G Manufacturing working group will seek to explore how the unique characteristics of 5G can be exploited to the benefit of high value growth areas in different manufacturing sectors, as well as developing our understanding of the challenges and opportunities for SMEs in the supply chain and where vertical collaboration can fast-track digitalisation. We will use our findings to advise on policies that will translate into practical solutions on the ground. The UK5G Manufacturing Working Group will leverage relationships to share the benefits of 5G within Industry 4.0, across wider sectors and their supply chains.  
The Group received 23 applications against the initial 12 places, all demonstrating interest in the subject area, and possible direction of the group. The initial size of the WG is driven by the desire to reserve places for representatives of the winning consortia from the DCMS 5G Testbeds and Trials Industrial 5G call, which closed on 10th October 2019. 

The Group held its inaugural meeting on 16th October 2019, hosted by Digital Catapult in London. The meeting started with an initial overview of the current activities and initiatives in the UK, and international ones where relevant. Specific activities covered were Worcester 5G, the Industrial 5G initiative by DCMS 5GTT & Digital Catapult, the place and the role for working groups in UK5G, the Made Smarter initiative, and the Made in 5G report by Digital Catapult. 

The Group discussed known challenges and barriers in 5G adoption in manufacturing sectors: lack of clear understanding of the role of 5G in digital platforms used in manufacturing, the confusion between the hype and reality of the 5G offer in this space, how 5G infrastructure can be deployed, integrated and operated in manufacturing context, lack of skills for adoption, lack of good business cases that can show clear RoI that address fundamental pain points for manufacturers. The need to bring realism in the discussion of 5G capabilities, the practical challenges in adopting those, and providing support to developing better understanding and best practice guides was emphasised –effectively how we can move the adoption work from testbeds into the real world. 
The Group discussed the terms of reference, objectives and membership. The Group members will propose more members coming from manufacturing and system integration communities, identified as a very necessary component for the group. 

The Group decided to meet, initially, on a more frequent basis, in order to keep the momentum going in establishing the structure and activities to meet the ToR (Terms of Reference) objectives, discuss the proposals for activities from its members, and develop a timeline of activities and engagements.

Next meeting will be scheduled no later than end of November 2019.