5G and edge
use cases

Author: Keith Shaw

The combination of 5G and mobile edge computing (MEC) can create opportunities for businesses across industries. Understanding these edge computing use cases can help companies realize the power of these innovative networking and computing technologies.

5G wireless networks can provide companies with higher data speeds, lower latency and greater capacity than previous mobile networks. MEC technologies can build on these innovations by moving computing resources closer to the edge of the network instead of in a distant cloud data center. By providing a platform to run edge computing applications closer to the devices and equipment generating critical data, companies can often make faster and better decisions.

Edge computing examples across industries

Here are some edge computing use cases that showcase the potential benefits of combining the lower latency that 5G offers with MEC technologies.


The combination of 5G and MEC could enable factories to monitor multiple types of assets used in production, such as robotics, connected devices, and other types of manufacturing equipment. Manufacturers could analyze data generated by equipment and Internet of Things (IoT) sensors to help predict when equipment will require maintenance, preventing more expensive downtime situations. Moreover, an automotive parts manufacturer could connect its robotic welding machines to a 5G network to capture and process data in near real-time. That data could then be fed into a factory's simulation models generated by a digital twin. These simulations could help the factory create scenarios that allow the welding robots to make customized parts.

On a production line, video cameras could scan finished materials for quality defects in near real-time through 5G and edge computing technologies. Video cameras used for physical security surveillance could also take advantage of 5G and computer vision to automate security monitoring of a worksite or factory grounds.

For factory workers, 5G and edge computing applications could be used in safety and training scenarios through augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) headsets. The headsets could provide on-the-job training for dangerous tasks in a safer environment. In addition, AR can provide a virtual overlay to assist technicians with repair information or connect them over video to a remote technician who can provide advice from hundreds or thousands of miles away.

Supply chain and logistics

Companies in the supply chain and logistics field could benefit from edge computing to help get products and orders out the door faster. For example, automated guided vehicles, autonomous mobile robots and automated forklifts could use their sensors to more safely and efficiently navigate a warehouse floor, with near real-time decisions being made through lower-latency 5G and edge computing processing on-site.

E-commerce fulfillment centers and distribution centers that also deploy mobile robots to help fill orders could benefit from a 5G and edge computing deployment. They could make decisions more quickly when filling orders, directing or redirecting robots to find goods in storage areas faster.

Once out the door, wireless tracking technologies, including smart sensors and other inventory systems, could ensure products delivered to store locations are accurate and undamaged.


Retailers looking to provide cashless and cashierless checkout options for customers can benefit from faster connection speeds. In a cashierless payment scenario, 5G connections can analyze and track products a customer places in their basket and trigger the payment system to charge a customer's card when they leave the store.

Retailers could also use VR and AR technologies to help customers with product choices, providing additional information on goods, clothes and other items they want to purchase. For example, an augmented dressing room mirror might show a customer how they'll look wearing a piece of clothing. This technology could take advantage of a company's 5G wireless network and MEC capabilities to provide the speed and low latency needed to produce a seamless customer experience.

In another example, a grocery store could use 5G and edge computing to provide each customer with a mobile app that generates a customized map and route through the store to guide them to each item on their shopping list. Along the way, customers could use their phones to scan products to receive more information about them, such as nutrition information, recipes, coupons and alternative product options or special promotions. The retailer could use the data the app generates to provide analytics for product distribution. Cameras and product sensors on store shelves can also better track inventory, alerting store managers of out-of-stock items that can be replenished or ordered more efficiently.

Event venues

Several 5G and edge computing examples apply to the venue space, such as a stadium hosting a professional sporting event or a concert. By combining 5G edge, LIDAR and crowd analytics software, venues can count the number of people in specific areas, including their movement and flows. This near real-time data gives managers a broader picture of their operations, which lets them make more informed decisions during live events to quickly address safety and security. This could also let them optimize the layout of their facility for retail, food and beverage sales, as well as other selling opportunities to help maximize profits, reduce congestion and take advantage of advertising or sponsorship opportunities.

5G and edge computing technology can also enable cashierless checkout, in which computer vision equipment and overhead cameras create an autonomous retail environment that reduces a common pain point for event attendees. Instead of standing in a long line to buy merchandise or concessions, guests can select items from a shelf and simply walk out, with the technology seamlessly seeing what they bought and charging the customer appropriately. Easier shopping can increase the number of customers and transactions while helping to alleviate staffing issues needed for traditional checkout methods.

A third example for event venues is accelerated access, where 5G and edge computing solutions could help deliver touchless and accelerated ticketing and guest entry methods, along with access control for employees and visitors. This technology uses artificial intelligence and opt-in facial authentication to help speed the entry process for guests, while also replacing traditional employee badges or visitor passes. By using computer vision and biometric technology, venue operators could improve their overall security posture by removing the threat of stolen or misplaced credentials, as well as speed up the process for guests so that they can enjoy the venue and other commercial opportunities.

Once customers are at their seats, 5G networks could provide video streaming with different camera views on their smartphones; fans could enjoy AR and VR experiences; and attendees can view near-instant statistics, images and video replays.

Partner with Verizon for your edge computing applications

These scenarios are just some of the ways 5G and edge computing could help your business. Industries such as mining, transportation, education, public safety, construction and healthcare, for example, stand to benefit from 5G and edge computing technologies. The power and performance that 5G can offer, coupled with the advantages of edge computing, provide an almost unlimited number of potential use cases for nearly every industry, limited only by our imagination.

Learn more about how Verizon and its partners can help you create your own edge computing use cases.

The author of this content is a paid contributor for Verizon.