According to a report by the International Data Corporation (IDC) titled “Industry 4.0 and Beyond How 5G–IoT Integration Enables Sustainable Operations”, about 12.4 per cent of telecom carrier respondents in Asia Pacific consider industrial internet-of-things (IIoT) as one of the important reasons for rolling out 5G services.

According to the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations, sustainability is the fundamental business strategy for the future. These involve supporting initiatives, such as smart manufacturing, energy-efficient construction, and low-impact industrialisation. Industry 4.0 fills this gap by fusing traditional manufacturing processes with digital technology, advanced intelligence, and IoT.

IDC forecasts that Asia Pacific 5G connections, both mobile subscriber and IoT connections, will grow from 574 million in 2021 to 3,234 million in 2025, growing at a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 87.9 per cent. According to the IDC Carrier Transformation Survey 2022, most telecom carrier companies saw vital industries, including manufacturing, smart cities with smart mobility, and smart buildings, as the most critical use cases for the introduction of 5G.

Commenting on the report, Piyush Singh, senior market analyst, Telecommunications and IoT, Asia Pacific, IDC, said, “The shift to a greener, lower carbon future will be made possible through connectivity. One of the concepts in Industry 4.0 is efficiency equals energy saving. Anything and everything organisations do to save energy ultimately increases efficiency,”

5G plays a key role in bringing a whole set of new ecosystems for organisations, which can help in achieving their sustainability goals in much easier and more robust ways. Manufacturing facilities all throughout Asia Pacific have implemented private or dedicated networks for controlling various pieces of equipment on-premises. Unstable wireless communication and latency are the barriers to the adoption of digital transformation in any firm which can be solved with the help of 5G. IoT devices require very dependable communication, which may also be provided via a private 5G network easily.

This IDC market presentation provides a detailed understanding of the implications of 5G and IoT in driving sustainable goals in the Industry 4.0 space. Instead of being a corporate social responsibility (CSR) activity nowadays, protecting the environment and combating problems, such as air pollution and climate change, have become commercial imperatives. Sustainable practices in day-to-day business and strategic planning reduce energy costs and save energy. They include conscious actions, such as cutting down excess energy usage, switching to sustainable energy resources, and improving manufacturing and supply chain efficiencies, among others. Digital technologies, such as 5G, IoT, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and smart building solutions, will cut emissions in smart factories through faster and more efficient production lines and increased energy efficiency.