where we explore the latest tech trends and showcase innovations happening around the world. 


This time, we explore how healthcare is being transformed by 5G and the Internet of Things (IoT).

When we think about the benefits of 5G, our minds often jump to fast streaming speeds and reliable internet connections.

But have you ever considered the impact those benefits could have on life-changing procedures in the healthcare industry?

From surgeons using robotic arms to operate remotely, to wearable technology that helps those with spinal injuries walk again, 5G and IoT have huge potential to positively impact people's lives.

And the exciting part is that it's only just beginning. Vodafone is partnering with organisations across our global footprint to research, develop and deploy solutions that will transform the way we treat illnesses forever.

Italy's first remote operation on a 5G network, performed live in a theatre.

Vodafone's fast and reliable 5G network allowed the surgeon to operate a robot’s micro-manipulator grippers remotely, while the audience watched via a stereoscopic video.

No, this isn't the beginning of a strange new science fiction play. It's what happened in Italy when the country's first remote surgical operation was carried out on the theatre stage of the Vodafone Village.

A surgeon enters from stage left  and performs an operation entirely remotely.

This event, carried out in collaboration with the Italian Institute of Technology (IIT) and the IRCSS Hospital San Raffaele, gives a taste of what healthcare will look like in the future, with best-in-class treatment available to people all over the world.

The IoT wearable that's helping people with spinal cord injuries get back on their feet.

The Ekso Bionics artificial shell uses Vodafone’s integrated IoT solution, giving doctors instant access to the data collected by the device.

Vodafone Hungary and its partner, Ekso Bionics, created a wearable outer shell – the Exoskeleton  to help reduce the long rehabilitation period that follows a stroke or spinal injury.

It allows them to choose the most effective treatments by providing precise, real-time data on the impact each therapy is having on the patient.

The Exoskeleton is just one example of how medical practitioners in Hungary are using 5G to improve decision making for doctors, boost patients’ level of comfort and dramatically reduce hospital costs.

Vodafone Germany and Dusseldorf University Hospital are building Europe’s first 5G clinic.

The initiative will use Vodafone’s recently launched RedBox, a 5G "network in a box" which allows high-speed coverage across multiple buildings.

It can also be used to enhance the effectiveness of computer-assisted tumour surgery, in which complex 3D structures of the brain are projected by a computer to allow the surgeon  to better orientate themselves.

The RedBox will power innovative healthcare services, including a patch which records patients' vital signs to a central monitoring unit, allowing doctors to react quickly to heart rate changes.

5G technology allows data to be securely exchanged at high speed – helping doctors reliably assess the condition of patients in real time.

Vodafone and Proximie have teamed up to pilot using 5G in remote cancer care.

is a technology platform that allows clinicians and surgeons to virtually ‘scrub in’ to any operating room from anywhere in the world.

The technology is being used over 5G in a trial at the University Hospital of Wales and University Hospital Llandough to diagnose and treat colon cancer, and in colonoscopy training.

By empowering clinicians to share their skills in real time, Proximie can reduce variation in care, ensuring every patient receives the best treatment every time.

Proximie creates an immersive experience where clinicians can collaborate on cancer procedures remotely. The technology combines human expertise with the power of 5G, augmented reality and artificial intelligence.

Vodafone Ireland and University College Cork have created the first 5G-connected telemedicine and medical robotics training centre in the world.

are essential to making treatment available to more people globally.

But connectivity issues – particularly in rural areas –  often get in the way. 

Imagine a child in rural Ireland with a rare form of cancer, whose family can't afford the journey to a specialist hospital abroad. 5G technology could enable access to expert care without leaving their local area.

5G could change this. Vodafone Ireland is working with the University of Cork's ASSERT Centre to design and trial remote healthcare solutions, helping patients get the treatment they need.

And it doesn't stop there. From remote ultrasounds to robotic surgery, 5G could make the distance barrier a thing of the past.

Barry O’Reilly, Director of ASSERT, Clinical Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

“Remote surgery could have a transformative impact for healthcare. 

"A surgeon in America could perform an operation in Ireland, using robotics, for example.

"The biggest challenge we face in making that a reality is the lag time or patchy connectivity.

"Seconds count in surgery – urgency is key. But the speed and stability of 5G could solve that problem.”

We're already experiencing the life-changing benefits of 5G and IoT in healthcare.  COVID-19 highlighted the importance of these technologies, as travel restrictions made remote healthcare a lifeline for many people.

But the best innovations are still ahead of us. Let's explore how 5G in healthcare could change our lives in years to come...

That's what could happen if ambulances were equipped with 5G. Staff could use AR glasses to follow treatment plans and share the patient's symptoms with the hospital during the journey.  Clinicians could then prepare the right treatment before the patient's arrival, saving time – and lives.

Imagine if doctors could perform a diagnosis and prescribe treatment before the patient arrives at the ambulance. 

IoT devices could be used to monitor how space is used, allowing staff to optimise occupancy patterns. Smart heating and ventilation systems could also ensure that only occupied areas are using energy, saving healthcare providers thousands every year.

The COVID-19 crisis underlined just how precious hospital space is.

The increased speeds and capacity of 5G compared to 4G means very large files, such as MRI scans, can easily be shared securely for review between clinicians in real time. This means more patients could be moved along the care pathway more quickly.

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In the next edition of