5G tech could 'revolutionise' Scotland’s whisky industry and save £30 million
The figure has emerged in an “impact report” from the Scottish Government-funded Scotland 5G Centre, which commissioned consultancy Jacobs to explore the potential use of 5G in distilleries. It found that £376,500 of potential benefits could be realised for a medium-large distillery on an annual basis as a result of the implementation of the wireless technology.
The key findings of the report are based on research and primary data from a distillery that produces about a quarter of a million litres of whisky annually. Researchers noted that with 146 malt and grain distilleries in Scotland producing in excess of 400 million litres per year, the installation of 5G tech could be “significant” in both modernising and future-proofing the sector - particularly for distilleries in more remote areas of the country.
Ian Sharp, head of delivery at The Scotland 5G Centre, said: “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.
“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.”
Key findings from the report include the use of 5G-enabled “geofencing”. Setting up virtual boundaries across the site could reduce health and safety incidents by 50 per cent, the study claims, by sending real-time alerts to workers entering potentially high-risk zones. Cask management efficiency processes could be boosted by 15 per cent using 5G-enabled radio frequency identification systems to support real-time data collection and allow warehouse workers to monitor the location of the casks.
Meanwhile, it is estimated that distilleries could gain an average of £125,000 due to increased labour productivity in the cask management process, leading to a” more accurate and reliable inventory”. Whisky makers could also cut security breaches in half by the deployment of remote and automated security measures, using 5G-enabled surveillance and monitoring.
Rick Robinson, director of smart places at Jacobs, said: “5G technology has the potential to revolutionise Scotland’s whisky distillery industry. Advanced communications like this could significantly change the way distilleries operate and enhance the efficiency and productivity of the industry as a whole - particularly rural distilleries. This study illustrates that 5G capabilities are relevant in every sector, and I believe we’re only skimming the surface of what this technology can do,” he added.
The Scotland 5G Centre (S5GC) is the national centre for accelerating the deployment and adoption of 5G connectivity in Scotland’s industry and public sectors. Funded by the Scottish Government, S5GC provides a range of services to Scottish private and public sector organisations of all sizes.
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