The 5G buzz is growing – especially in business. 5G is far more than the next generation of cellular networks – the step change from 4G to 5G is enormous. For companies planning their digital transformation strategies, the latency and bandwidth improvements offered by 5G, as well as the ability to support millions of devices, will have a huge impact, especially in areas that need mobile connectivity such as farming, manufacturing and transport.
Add technology such as Edge Computing, which collects and analyses data in real-time at the edge of the network, when combined with 5G will allow for a huge range of new innovations, like autonomous robotics, or self-driving cars.
Managing maritime traffic
Dedicated 5G connectivity, in the shape of a Mobile Private Network (MPN), built to cover a specific location, provides the speed and reliability of a wired connection with the flexibility of mobile. This enables MPNs to monitor critical equipment or support autonomous operations — such as autonomous cranes to unload ships in port.
With 9,000 ships docking in the Port of Barcelona every year, accurate instant information on their exact whereabouts is essential for efficiency and safety. Using 5G paired with Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Edge Computing, operators at the Port of Barcelona can analyse live footage from cameras around the port as well as sensor data to manage the flow of boats. With an accurate real-time view of boat location, port pilots can navigate remotely, with all the information needed to safely manage ship entry and dock operations.
Not every company will need an MPN. For many businesses, the first “5G experience” could be brought to life in a smart city in the future.
An IoT-enabled smart city can reroute traffic to avoid congestion in real time, automatically schedule repairs for infrastructure, like broken street lighting or bridges, and intelligently manage energy use and pollution. And the businesses that work in these smart cities will feel the difference – from IoT-generated repair requests to the improvement in public transport.
Pick and choose the services you need
In today’s “as a service” IT model, where cloud-based technology provides companies with access to an array of subscription services, other companies are doing the hard lifting. Take HERE, for example, which is working to make autonomous self-driving cars safe and create a future where companies can deploy entire fleets of automated vehicles.
The technology platform will use 5G and Edge Computing to provide businesses with an extra dimension of location data: real-time obstacles and hazards. Vehicles can detect obstacles ahead and send targeted messages to other road users to warn them. For example, if a pedestrian walks into the road, not only would the driver receive an alert, but the cars behind would receive warning of the car ahead braking. This kind of real-time hazard predictability offers incredible benefits, such as maximising journey efficiency and avoiding road incidents.
This is just a glimpse into the changes around the corner. 5G networks will introduce companies to an array of experiences, bring in new ways of creating and using data and herald the safe introduction of true autonomous operations.