A report by Nokia claims enterprise private network early adopters are scaling up usage since setting them up, and revealed some stats around how the surveyed firms view the benefits and ROI of their deployments.

Nokia’s 2024 Industrial Digitalization Report was conducted by GlobalData with the aim of gauging industry progress and return on investment among 100 enterprise private wireless early adopters in Australia, France, Japan, UK, and the US, working in the manufacturing, transportation, and energy industries.

All of those surveyed are using private wireless networks in additional locations or have expanded their use by launching more use cases in existing locations, claims the report, and in terms of ROI 93% said they achieved it within 12 months, 78% said that they achieved a ‘positive outcome’ within six months, and 23% hit their ROI target in one month. This was done by fixing broken processes and ‘reducing the overall cost of doing business’ we’re told.

Worker safety and sustainability came out as things private network setups are helping firms with in particular. 65% said they achieved more than 10% improvement in ‘top use cases to improve worker safety’, such as implementing geofencing technology and using robotics to carry out dangerous work.

79% said they experienced a significant improvement in their sustainability efforts, reporting a 10%, or more reduction in their emissions after deploying private wireless networks. This was done via sensors on industrial IoT devices and to monitor carbon emissions, and the use of drone technology to reduce the number of ‘truck rolls’, says the report.  

Meanwhile 39% of the enterprises that deployed private wireless have since implemented an on-premise edge technology or a new selection of industrial devices to power things like AI and analytics, with another 52% planning to do so. 

By way of example of this sort of industrial upgrade work, the report highlights Lufthansa Technik which deployed private wireless networks for inspection of aircraft components and remote maintenance via upload of high-quality video from multiple cameras. It has since thrown up some edge compute to eliminate the need of physically moving server stacks supporting AI analytics near to aircraft engines.

“The deployment of private wireless networks improved our connectivity from the outset,” said Claudius Noak, IT Consultant, Lufthansa Industry Solutions. “It gives us a stable, reliable, and secure connection across an extensive area with only a small number of access points, essential for virtual table inspection. The additional value came from the expansion and integration of new use cases. Since the deployment, we have extended the number of radio locations at the site, with private wireless networks connecting over 50 devices, a number that will soon grow into the hundreds, with the ability to ultimately support over 1,000 connected devices.”

David de Lancellotti, Vice President of Enterprise Campus Edge Business at Nokia added: “The ROI of private wireless and industrial edge is proven. We help our customers improve worker safety, productivity, and reduce emissions while reducing operational costs by bundling private wireless and Wi-Fi connectivity, applications, and devices in one central on- premise edge platform.

“This will certainly drive the fast deployment of more use cases and lower the total cost of ownership. The Nokia Industrial Digitalization Report reinforces that private wireless networks and edge technology, combined in one platform provide enterprises with the best foundation for the AI-powered use cases into their operations.”

Surveying early adopters of any new technology is a somewhat self-selecting process when it comes to enthusiasm and eagerness to plug in more tech in the future, but if some swift ROI can be demonstrated for enterprises that have already hooked themselves up with private networks, it doesn’t hurt the sales pitch for all those in the telco industry looking to this as a future growth area.

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