Moving pictures: How 5G means you’ll never need to miss a moment
Low latency, high speed data transfer, and a reliable connection. Great – but what does 5G mean for you? Watch 4K TV on the move for one, on a mobile connection in real time with no buffering. Take a ride on the connected tram.
Every day, hundreds of trams leave from Piazza XXVI Maggio in Milan, Italy. They carry people around a crowded city to school, to work, to play, to shop. The daily commute is something most of us tolerate.
You can read or check email, or watch a video you’ve downloaded. But what your team is playing – or it’s the finale of your favourite reality TV show? Or big things are happening in the world and you want to watch the news?
Unless you’re on a wifi connection, you can watch on a 4G network – but with a delay, meaning you’ll probably hear the cheers around you when your team scores before you actually see it. The signal will drop as you move around, and watching in 4K probably isn’t a realistic option.
So what’s the answer?
“5G is revolutionary, our lives will change, our lifestyles, it will simplify our way of life because it brings three important innovations from a technological point of view,” says Sabrina Baggione, director of Vodafone Italia’s 5G programme.
“It gives us a far broader band, superior or to what we’re used to with the best fibre – 10 gigabits per second.”
“It will provide us with services at millisecond latency, which means truly real time for the first time. And it will allow you to connect more than one million objects per square kilometre.”
To test it out, Vodafone, Sky Italia, Huawei and Altran got together with ATM, the people who run the service. They decked out a historic tram and took to the streets of the city, ferrying people around while streaming 4K TV to a big screen at the front of the car.
5G being used to stream 4K SKY TV into the connected tram. Picture credit: Vodafone
Location, location, location
“5G has a very, very close relationship with the city of Milan,” says Ms Baggione.
“Over a year ago we started a big pilot project in the city, with the aim of creating more than forty 5G use cases, working with 38 partners, so we could get them into the hands of customers.”
“So Milan is the arena where we are creating new services, new applications, and new ways of doing things … thanks to 5G.”
A moving target like this is the ideal way to test the lag, low latency and reliability of the network as it means rapid handovers from cell tower to cell tower – making it tricky to avoid buffering and dropped connections over 4G.
Passengers can choose what to watch – on demand or live TV. –
Want to see how it went? Take a ride with us on the connected tram.