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Pushing 5G and Prototyping Smart Factory Tours with VR Tech in Thailand

Image Credits: The Nation, Thailand, News Article

A telecom company has partnered with a local Thai manufacturer to launch virtual tours of the company’s factory for the very first time. Leveraging the power of 5G, virtual reality (VR) and the Internet of Things (IoT), the project is an important prototype for medium-sized factories looking to tackle the challenges of a rapidly changing sector.

The manufacturer is paving the way for how factories can carry out virtual tours safely and conveniently shortly. Through VR headsets, these digital tours provide easy access to new and prospective customers and ensure social distancing by eliminating the need for travel and in-person visits. Moreover, this collaboration also enhances security measures by introducing smart wireless surveillance systems with access to all areas of the premises.

The Executive Director of the firm stated that with this upgrade, it is hoped that a 10% increase will be seen in visitors to the website and the factory, expanding their reach to new audiences, including business owners and new-generation engineers familiar with the technology. Customers can also virtually visit the factory via a website and ASEFA can support an average of 60 virtual visits per year.

The second component of the company’s digital transformation into a smart factory involves an investment in 5G surveillance. Enhancing and modernising the existing security system, 5G surveillance uses high-resolution imagery and high-volume wireless transmissions without requiring additional wiring. The improved system integrates facial recognition to provide contactless access control for employees and visitors, and alerts the company to any abnormalities, thereby delivering more efficient security.

In addition to this project, the company has also established a new business division for Research & Development work that seeks to enhance the capabilities of electric switchboards, respond to future usage needs, and differentiate the firm from its competitors. The new firm will support the deployment of solar cells and embrace IoT for the improved monitoring and control of energy consumption.

With these industry-leading initiatives and its alliance with the telecom, the company is an important use-case model for digital transformation in mid-range manufacturing, demonstrating how 5G and IoT can successfully be applied in a modern, state-of-the-art factory setting. The Head of Enterprise Sales Division stated that by bringing 5G technologies to support the company digital transformation into a smart factory, the public company is raising the competitiveness of Thailand’s manufacturing industry, to attract new investment to Thailand after the country reopens.

The pandemic has led to increased investment within Thailand’s manufacturing sector, specifically for the creation of smart factories through IoT, artificial intelligence (AI) and other technologies. Recent research found that the COVID-19 pandemic will accelerate the growth of the smart factory solutions (SFS) business by 10%, due in large part to the needs of large manufacturers that wish to reduce their dependence on labour.

Smart factories can enable continuous production and minimize an overreliance on traditional business operations that are vulnerable to pandemics and other disruptions. Beyond the pandemic, smart factories can also create greater flexibility for business lines and production, thereby increasing factory competitiveness.

The telecom believes that becoming a smart factory entails greater connectivity, data collection, data integration and analytics. The 5G network on 26 GHz enables this through intelligent camera systems that transmit real-time data to the control room, as well as factory access control with facial recognition. In addition, the company understands the importance of smart surveillance and energy management in a smart-factory setting. A 2020 study found that more than 48% of respondents are interested in reducing costs by investing in energy management systems. It is ready to bring its extensive global experience to more pioneering collaborations that leverage 5G and other technologies to both respond to the challenges of the pandemic, as well as position Thailand as a model for medium-sized smart factories elsewhere in the world.

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