5G has been designed with the needs of industrial users in focus.  For smart manufacturing, it offers many possibilities such as that of replacing cables with wireless connectivity reducing maintenance costs and increasing the flexibility to reconfigure production and connectivity as required.

To further improve the integration of 5G with the management and control applications used for smart manufacturing processes, many industrial sector users want simpler ways to control their private 5G networks, reducing their need to call on 5G experts and network providers for support. Providing more 5G network function exposure would address this need making 5G networks simpler to use and adding to its functionality.

To achieve the goal of providing more 5G network function exposure, collaboration between the 5G sector and a wide range of industrial, research and academic sector actors is organized in the 5G Alliance for Connected Industries and Automation (5G-ACIA). 5G-ACIA is discussing the requirements of industrial sectors and supporting consensus development as preparation for global standards. The recently updated 5G-ACIA white paper on 5G Network Functionality Exposure describes how industrial automation applications can benefit from simplified access to 5G capabilities, such as communication service monitoring and network management, to use them for factory and process automation, production IT, production logistics and warehousing applications (5G-ACIA white paper on network function exposure). The use cases of the smart manufacturing Living Labs in IoT-NGIN could be enhanced in coming years with such 5G network exposure functionality.

Already, 5G is evolving to become a platform. Applications and networks are becoming better integrated through new APIs. 5G offers today an open and flexible architecture with many options to run the core network in a public, private or hybrid-cloud or in a multi-cloud. Ericsson predicts that 5G and edge will form an ecosystem for innovation and growth – read more on the Ericsson blog.

At the recent Hannover trade fair 2022, 5G solutions for smart manufacturing were presented by Ericsson addressing the needs of future proof factories. Ericsson describes how 5G relates to the needs of smart manufacturing in its recent blog post – read more on the Ericsson blog.