Is 5G a road block for autonomous logistics?

5G promises many benefits to businesses including higher speeds, lower latency and more bandwidth but patchy coverage, slow roll-out and high roaming costs could prove prohibitive for logistics, especially where connected devices need to cross borders. What is needed in this case is not high speed but reliable, cost-effective coverage – and it’s needed now.

The trend in digitization does not stop at logistics. Real-time tracking of vehicles and tracking of goods at the transfer points are standard today. The next step towards autonomous logistics is driverless transport. However, all of these technologies depend on reliable, cost-effective connectivity.

The use of LTE / UMTS networks or GPS satellites is not only costly, but there are also reliability and coverage issues. Long-range Wi-Fi is limited to smaller radio zones. In the case of cross-border supply chains, the mobile Internet means either high roaming charges or contracts with multiple network operators.

The large network operators vigorously propagate the 5G network expansion. The costs for it alone in Europe estimated Telekom boss Timotheus Höttges on up to €500 billion. The Internet of Things, although benefiting from the growing network capacity, usually does not require bandwidth and data volumes as 4G or even 5G. More important than the carrier network is how the “things” communicate. Speed is not the key, it’s the language.

This article continues on Logistik Heute in German.

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