House of Reps report says 5G key to Industry 4.0



A new Australian Government report into 5G has flagged it as a key enabling technology for Industry 4.0. So what’s next?
“The fourth industrial revolution, or ‘Industry 4.0’, is coming.” That’s the opening statement from the report of an Australian Government enquiry: The Next Gen Future Inquiry into the deployment, adoption and application of 5G in Australia , tabled in Parliament on 12 May.
The report , from the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Communications and the Arts, goes on to say that Industry 4.0 means: “Australians will experience a blurring of the lines between cyber and physical in their workplace, home life, leisure time and travel, and: “the enabling architecture needed to support this revolution in communications technology is fifth-generation mobile network technology, or ‘5G’.”
The report’s authors are to be commended for focussing on the importance of 5G as a key enabling technology for Industry 4.0. As several submitters told the committee: “5G is necessary for [Australia] continuing to be a competitor in the global market.”
The need to boost Australia’s competitiveness, and self-reliance, has taken on new urgency and become front of mind as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, and China’s reaction to the Australian Government’s call for an independent enquiry into the origins of the pandemic.
All this means that Australia getting optimal 5G services and an optimal 5G ecosystem have taken on heightened importance, and hence so have the recommendations of the report.
Of the report’s 14 recommendations, 13 are designed, one way or another, to make sure barriers to optimal 5G services in Australia are minimised.
More 5G skills needed
For example, noting concerns expressed in submissions about a shortage of 5G skills  Recommendation 12 calls on the Department of Communications and Department of Education and Training, to “review how current ICT curricula for roles in 5G related industries in TAFE, accredited training providers and tertiary institutions should be modified to ensure graduates are industry-ready.”
Recommendation one calls for 5G spectrum allocation be finalised expeditiously and for the ACMA in conjunction with the Department of Communications and the ACCC to “investigate how future spectrum auctions can promote improved market competition for the benefit of consumers.”
Government should promote 5G
One recommendation, number 14, is devoted specifically to the role of 5G in Industry 4.0 and the wider range of IoT applications, such as smart agriculture. It calls on the Australian Government to “work with carriers to develop campaigns to boost industry awareness about the advantages of 5G to businesses to help realise the benefits of this new network quickly,” and says: “This campaign should include elements to lift 5G awareness within local government.”
It seems strange the committee should...

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