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How will 5G impact different industries?
A little something about the Gs:
We are living in a decade where wireless technologies have become an irreplaceable part of our daily life. It all started in the 80s with the analog technology referred to as the first generation wireless technology – 1G. The “large brick phones” had a poor battery life and a maximum speed of 2.4 Kbps. Then, 2G came in as a big leap in mobile technologies and allowed upgrading to digital technology. Call and text encryption, SMS, MMS and picture messages were introduced by the 2G network. In 1998, 3G was established in the next generation series which made video calling and faster data transmission possible. 3G had a speed around 2 Mbps which was succeeded by 4G in 2008. 4G paved the way into some salient features such as mobile gaming, HD TV and video conferencing at much higher speeds.
The next evolution in mobile networking is going to be 5G, which holds huge promises. In the following sections, we will be going through 5G and its anticipated impact on the automotive industry, healthcare, and Internet of Things (IoT).
What’s new in the 5th generation?
5G technology is the fifth generation of mobile networking systems that are proposed but not-yet-implemented. Although the technologies to be used in 5G are still being figured out, it is expected to enable self-driving cars, drones and the download of movies in the blink of an eye. 5G is set to be the fusion of high-speed data collection and computation with billion of devices. As the director of the 5G Innovation Centre at the University of Surrey told the BBC, 5G is believed to have an average speed of 800 Gbps, and will have a vast array of applications ranging from the automotive sector to big data and VR.
5G opens the door to new realities, instant gratification, and lightning-fast response. According to Qualcomm, by 2035 there will be around $12 trillion 5G related services such as mission-critical services, enhanced mobile broadband and a massive IoT. 5G isn’t an extension of 3G and 4G networks but rather a network that combines Wi-Fi, 4G, wireless access technologies, and millimeter wave. The 5G technology also leverages various aspects like cloud infrastructure, virtualized network core and intelligent edge services.
5G and the automotive industry:
The first generation of a driverless automated car may come into play with the venture of 5G. With the help of 5G, a mind-blowing relationship can be attained between a smart city and an autonomous car. 5G will facilitate smart parking through efficient management of parking space thereby reducing traffic and pollution. Your car will sense and choose the optimal route by coordinating with your ETA at work based on traffic data communicated from other cars and the roadways. Right now, only a very few companies are working on this high level of automation, so the capacity to deliver this type of scalable functionality will require the union of intelligent devices and the 5G network.
The key to the development of autonomous vehicles is artificial intelligence (AI). However, communication and connectivity are also critical elements. High-speed data for consumers (along with voice for 3G) was the major consideration when today’s 3G and 4G networks were developed, but increasingly, machine-to-machine communication has become a priority which requires an enormous amount of bandwidth that can be supported by 5G. The exchange of high volumes of 3D mapping data will be enabled by 5G’s high bit rate, and the sharing of sensory data will help to promote situational awareness, stimulating the path to autonomy. According to a report by IHS, by 2035, 5G will also enable over $1.4 trillion in sales in automotive use sectors like agriculture, mining, construction, and transportation. 5G supported Vehicle-to-Everything (V2X) communication will play a key role in enhancing the efficiency of traffic and reducing collisions. Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) communication, for example, allows vehicles to sense obstacles beyond the line of sight, with the aid of shared video information between cars and shared data from pedestrians and infrastructure.
The impact of 5G on the healthcare sector:
According to IHS Market, more than $1 trillion dollars in products and services will be enabled by 5G for the global healthcare sector. In healthcare, 5G will facilitate 24×7-on, secure device connectivity for patients, caretakers, and care providers. Patients could just wear a remote medical sensor and go home which will essentially transmit the vital signs to their healthcare providers. This data can be duly monitored by the doctors and provide proper medical advice/prescriptions via webcam. With the introduction of 5G, there will be a significant boost in the medical sector.
Instead of patients approaching doctors for treatment, with 5G networks, patients and doctors can be connected worldwide. Also, expensive in-patient care can be eliminated by connecting more medical devices to IoT, which will enable doctors to monitor patients remotely. Elderly and physically challenged people will greatly benefit by the advancements of 5G in healthcare. Digital imaging and scan reports can be sent anywhere across the globe for expert analysis, widening the access for patients who live far away from healthcare providers and reducing the cost of getting a second opinion. Already famous wearable devices/sensors like fitness trackers and smartwatches, can transmit important statistics to doctors and notify them of any changes immediately. Customized treatments for specific cases can be achieved as IoT will equip researchers and scientists with more data focusing on the diseases impacting people.
5G and the Internet of Things:
5G is expected to be ten times faster than 4G, thus it should connect seamlessly with multiple devices at a time and it could eliminate the problems involving latency in cellular networks. The human experience will be upgraded, so as to virtually visualize everything as we connect with 5G. Analysts estimate that by 2020 there will be more than 20 billion IoT devices installed around the world, generating enormous amounts of data. With access to this kind of information, industries of all kinds will be able to reach new levels of efficiency. Ericsson has projected that 5G will reach 15% of world’s population by 2022. Most recently, AT&T has announced that by late 2018, its customers will be provided with 5G mobile networks.
One of the main problems with mobile networks is latency issues which limit many IoT applications. At present, many IoT solutions use cellular networks like 4G LTE to connect to the cloud, but the devices in these solutions produce a huge volume of data that are difficult to process instantly. 5G could easily solve the network latency issues, which will lead to increased efficiency and allow more connected devices. Since 5G will be able to swiftly transmit data, more connected devices could be set up by companies without the fear of an overcrowded network, worsening existing latency issues. Ericsson’s investment arm, Ericsson Ventures, has invested in a company called Realm, which has developed a mobile platform that focuses on providing real-time support for instantaneous delivery of applications supported by iOS, Android and a variety of cloud environments. Ericsson Ventures VP, Paul McNamara, called it the “edge cloud”. Realm CEO, Alexander Stigsen, discussed the investment as helping to “solve the biggest mobile development challenges, and fulfill the potential of ultrafast 5G networks, powerful mobile devices and limitless developer imagination.”
Right now, the dream of 5G is just a fantasy on the horizon. But in just a couple of years, the 5G vision will come true – and innovative breakthroughs are paramount in leading the world to an unimaginable high-tech future.
Abhinaya Baskaran is one of PreScouter’s Global Scholars. She recently completed her Masters in Bioengineering from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her thesis research focused on investigating the role of voltage-gated potassium channel in Non-Small Cell Lung cancer (NSCLC) using various molecular biology and Electrophysiology techniques. Abhinaya earned her Bachelor’s in Electronics and Instrumentation Engineering from Anna University, Chennai, India. Apart from research Abhinaya loves to paint, sing and observe.