The study, produced by Jacobs on behalf of The Scotland 5G Centre, said individual distilleries could save up to £376,500 annually by incorporating next generation mobile connectivity into their operations

In recent years, the mobile industry’s 5G focus has shifted firmly to the enterprise segment, with the operators promoting the new technology as they key to unlocking new use cases and cost savings. From smart factories to intelligent farms and ports, 5G is gradually becoming integrated into a wide variety of new verticals.

But what about a 5G distillery?

This week, a new report from The Scotland 5G Centre suggests that Scottish whisky distilleries could stand to gain major benefits using 5G, equating to £376,500 annually for a medium-large distillery.

More specifically, the report argus that key benefits will be generated in health and safety, cask management, site management, and maintenance and security.

This includes 5G enabled geofencing can reduce health and safety incidents by 50% by warning employees in real-time when they enter high-risk areas; 5G-enabled RFID chips that can be used to improve cast management efficiency by 15%; automation of the cask management process saving distilleries £125,000 a year through automation; implemented automated security measures; and using 5G asset tracking to reduce equipment down-time by half.

The report is based on preliminary findings from a study conducted at a distillery in Central Scotland which produces approximately a quarter of a million litres of whisky per year.

The study notes that there are currently 146 malt and grain distilleries in Scotland producing around 401 million litres per year. As a result, this means that the industry stands to gain over £30 million over the next five years through the deployment of 5G.

“Given the value of Scotland’s whisky industry, not only to the economy, but also to Scotland’s strong reputational heritage, distilleries are always looking for new ways to enhance innovation and drive operational efficiencies. With challenges such as rising inflation and sustainability firmly on the agenda, it’s becoming increasingly important for distilleries to find new ways of remaining commercially competitive,” said Ian Sharp, Head of Delivery at The Scotland 5G Centre.

“This report indicates that investing in a combination of 5G connected technologies and private 5G networks will allow distilleries to unlock new ways of working that will not only reduce costs but boost productivity and efficiency across their business.”

As always with reports of this nature, we should take the results of this study with a pinch of salt. As the study itself notes, the basis for the calculations of potential economic impacts is based on primary data collected from a single distillery, combined with case study evidence and benchmark impact values derived from academic and industry literature. As such, the scale of the impacts captured may not necessarily apply to distilleries of all sizes across Scotland or other parts of the UK.

Nonetheless, the tangible benefits of 5G being incorporated in industrial settings are increasingly clear and, with the whisky industry playing such a key role of th Scottish economy, the potential impact of 5G, particularly for rural distilleries, should not be overlooked.

What role will 5G play in ushering in the ear of Industry 4.0? Join the operators and a variety of vertical industries in discussion at this years Total Telecom Congress live in Amsterdam

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