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South Korean telecommunications provider SK Telecom is working with Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power to develop power plant management solutions using 5G that take advantage of the new standard’s key IoT features, according to ZDNet.
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The solutions will boost energy production efficiency and enhance security within plants. The collaboration highlights a few of the key ways that 5G will offer telecoms new means of engaging with industrial partners and could serve as a valuable lesson for telecoms around the world.
It’s unsurprising that a revolutionary 5G-based partnership of this nature would originate in South Korea: South Korean network operators, including SK Telecom, were among the first in the world to launch 5G networks.
The country’s network operators are all offering 5G services to businesses and consumers. Their networks reach roughly half of the country’s population and have now connected over a million 5G devices.
Here’s how SK Telecom is leveraging 5G: SK Telecom will use 5G’s low-latency communication paired with a range of tools geared toward IoT customers to develop power plant management solutions in partnership with energy companies.
- The power plant solutions will specifically take advantage of 5G’s lower latency, which means there’s minimal delay when data is sent to and from a cloud server. 5G will eventually cut latency in communications to as low as 1 millisecond (ms), down from about 50 ms on 4G, enabling greater remote management capability for mission-critical services like power plant management that rely on this instantaneous communication.
- Given the critical nature of power systems, SK Telecom is also assuring power customers that data will stay secure. One of the factors the telecom has emphasized throughout its 5G development and deployment process has been the claim that it’s developed the safest and most secure 5G network in its market — see Business Insider Intelligence’s 5G Snapshot on South Korea for more on this.
- SK Telecom will also incorporate its Digital Twin industrial management systems into the power plant solutions. These tools, which are already widely used throughout the industrial IoT, allow companies to create digital clones of a device or system in a facility, so that they’re able to remotely monitor systems as they operate and compare real-time readings to typical and historical measurements. With this real-time monitoring, power plant operators could also set up automation protocols to minimize risk and maximize productivity based upon conditions.
The bigger picture: Network operators and industrial customers around the world should look to SK Telecom and its power partners as a blueprint for developing 5G-based solutions and coping with issues that may emerge along the way.
Shifting the control of systems like power plant management from local sites to the cloud or other remote locations can offer operators a range of critical advantages, like more powerful analytics or automation capabilities. It can also simplify how a company upgrades systems or changes layouts or routines, since it can rely on wireless connectivity instead of needing to change network configurations as well.
Telecoms are already heavily involved in the energy sector, such as with smart grid and metering solutions. With the advent of 5G, they’ll be in a position to expand that involvement, and SK Telecom’s experience will provide a useful set of lessons and takeaways for others to refer back to in taking their own solutions to market.
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