BT is playing a big role in smart manufacturing powered by 5G

21 July 2020

Bt 5G

Following on from the launch of the UK’s first 5G factory trial at the Worcestershire 5G testbed, BT has announced that it will be the lead technology partner for the testbed, a role which will allow it to help explore the potential of smart manufacturing, aiming to improve productivity through things like robotics and augmented reality, and usher in Industry 4.0.

It’s a role that’s a natural fit for BT, given that the company already helped set up the testbed, and has a 5G network and the relevant expertise.

Now it will use that expertise (including knowledge of 5G private networks, wearable devices, the Internet of Things, data analytics and mobile edge computing), to make “intelligent, dynamic and fully automated manufacturing processes a reality”.

What does that mean? Think autonomous robots transporting materials and products, collision detection sensors to improve health and safety in factories, and more.

From Worcester to the world

These trials, which will initially benefit Worcester Bosch’s factory, should eventually help other businesses, with BT claiming that the insights gained could “stimulate innovation” from the manufacturing sector in the region, and ultimately help transform manufacturing and other industries nationally.

Already the testbed is off to a promising start - its initial 5G private network installation has increased factory output by 2%, and that productivity boost may well grow once 5G is used for additional smart manufacturing functions, such as those highlighted above.

Gerry McQuade, CEO of BT’s Enterprise business, said: “Working with W5G and Worcester Bosch, we’re creating a smart factory where machines can learn and adapt to changes on the factory floor as they happen, and make instant, autonomous decisions to optimise the production line.”

These are examples of some of the big benefits of 5G that go beyond just faster data for consumers, and this could help all sorts of industries. Indeed, BT claims that it will also help bring the benefits of 5G private networks to companies in key sectors such as Aerospace and to SMEs.

This could mean a complete transformation for industry, and bring about the fourth industrial revolution (Industry 4.0).

Sub-Editor at

James is sub-editor at both and TechRadar. Also works as a researcher/ technical writer for and several other websites including TechRadar, T3, Smart TV Radar, with work on the web, in print and on TV.

UK government announces £30 million of 5G test projects

The UK government has announced £30 million worth of new tests to demonstrate the...

EE is the best network for 5G according to extensive tests

The latest RootMetrics report shows that EE has held on to its overall lead.

5G smart roads are coming to the West Midlands

5G road network sensors are set to be installed along key roads in the West Midlands.

Government makes law changes to speed up 5G rollout

The government has announced plans to reform laws in order to simplify 5G planning...

O2 partners with NHS to develop 5G-powered COVID-19 clinic-on-wheels

O2 and the NHS are working together to create a 5G-powered COVID-19 portable testing...

As seen on:
Washington Post logo
Financial Times logo
Guardian logo
BBC logo
Telegraph logo
Forbes logo