5G-AMC2 project white paper
Scope: 5G enabled solutions to support on-site construction
Background: Digitising construction
Authors: Tom Jennings (Senior Consultant) BRE, Shribavani Shrikaran (Consultant) BRE
Contributors: Colin Buckley (BAM), Ray Nwanze (BAM), Jeff Land (Attacore)
Construction is a major sector of the UK and global economy. However, whilst overall industrial productivity has improved by c.40% over recent decades because of process management and technology innovation (McKinsey, 2015, Farmer 2016, ONS, 2018) construction productivity has stagnated or even fallen.
Automation and digital technologies are being introduced into construction as a means of improving productivity and site safety. For example:
- Autonomous or remote-controlled plant which have the potential to deliver a 20-25% improvement in construction productivity (National Highways) whilst improving on-site safety.
- Cameras and sensors for surveying, work progress monitoring, and worker safety monitoring.
- Solutions that provide site engineers with full access to project-specific design and management information anywhere on site.
- Cameras and data sharing solutions that enable managers and engineers to monitor site activity and data in real-time whilst working remotely.
These technology based solutions have the potential to deliver a significant step-change in construction site productivity, help to address skills shortages, improve on-site H&S and wellbeing, and reduce the environmental impact of construction. However, they need digital connectivity to securely, consistently and continuously, process high volumes of data in real-time.
5G can provide high bandwidth, ultra-low latency connectivity, as well as security, resilience and quality of service. It can enable the management of large amounts of data in real-time, supporting the effective use of innovative digital management solutions.
What is 5G?
5G is the fifth-generation technology standard for broadband cellular networks. It will overlay current 4G and WiFi means of connecting to the broadband Internet as well as being deployed for various industrial uses.
5G mobile networks will manage traffic more efficiently than 4G leading to:
- Faster peak speeds
- Higher bandwidth, increasing network capacity (more users/devices can be connected, with higher/more consistent speeds).
- Reduced latency (reducing the time between performing an action and getting a response)
5G networks can be public or private. Both use the same underlying technology, but private networks have restricted access (for example for the use within a single organisation or to a limited number of users in a specific location) rather than being open to use by the public as part of a nationwide network. Construction sites are suited to private networks, which can be configured in such a way that devices outside the network cannot access it.
Faster peak speeds
Higher band width