With all the talk about 5G, it’s easy to dismiss the network and its capabilities as overblown. But its impact is more far-reaching and comprehensive than you might think. It is the most advanced unlimited wireless internet service.
It offers many new aspects of internet technology that were never explored before. Much discussion about the next-generation network has focused on consumer use cases. But 5G is poised to change the world in unprecedented ways. To understand why we need 5G technology. We need to understand how it will form the foundation of tomorrow’s digital economy and help address societal challenges.
There will be numerous social benefits of this 5G technology offering the fastest unlimited wireless internet. The basic capabilities of 5G are easy to understand. But the way the next-generation network could help address generational societal challenges is unique and multi-faceted.
5G can help to build smart cities
Upgrading to 5G will allow cities to process data from millions. More IoT devices and install low-power sensors that can go years without replacement. This will expand their ability to intelligently manage traffic flow, air quality, power consumption, public safety, and more. A 2017 report by Accenture Strategy projected that cities could save $160 billion by using 5G networks to manage traffic and power consumption.
5G will have a massive impact on utilities, including infrastructure changes. Today’s smart meters are typically low-power devices with minimal throughput requirements. Smart utilities’ power generation and grids will benefit directly from 5G. The utility will need to synchronize power sources for wind farms to keep generated power in phase.
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Reliable connectivity of unlimited wireless internet
5G will provide reliable connectivity for frequency regulation. In addition, utilities considering and implementing private LTE will have the opportunity to upgrade to private 5G networks for additional power and security.
According to the National League of Cities, two-thirds of U.S. municipalities have invested in smart-city technology. San Diego, for example, has installed smart lighting systems. That automatically dim when no one is around, saving nearly $2 million a year in electricity costs.
Pittsburgh is replacing 36,000 streetlights with LEDs equipped with sensors to monitor air quality. South Bend, Indiana, installed sensors in maintenance hole covers that redirect water flow when sewage levels get too high. After San Francisco installed gunshot-detection microphones in high-crime neighborhoods, the city reported a 35 percent drop in incidents where shots were fired.
Improved public transport
Most sensors in public transport monitor the position of trains and buses. However, some cities are betting on the additional benefits of 5G. One Swiss company is integrating 5G into its GPS locator to provide broadband connectivity for train passengers. Airlines could use it on private and corporate aircraft to provide in-flight connectivity. For automakers, 5G will enable vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications to enable autonomous public transport.
Smart buildings represent a complex scenario with many possible situations and applications. Older mobile technologies may remain dominant for several years unless it is impractical to install wired connections. In these cases, 5G can be considered.
Once 5G is available, it will be a natural part of smart building infrastructure. If Rel 17 improves the performance and price of massive IoT and low-power sensors, smart buildings will benefit from this transition. For example, buildings with temperature sensors to measure heat consumption rely on Wi-Fi connectivity, which can be spotty and vulnerable to cyber threats. In a world where 5G is ubiquitous, data flow from these sensors will be much more reliable and easier to secure.
According to the National Highway Traffic Administration, nearly 95 percent of traffic crashes are human error. If humans were no longer behind the wheel, up to 1.25 million lives could be saved each year. But for smart cars to be fully autonomous, they must communicate with cars around them to avoid accidents and minimize congestion.
They need to communicate with sensors in traffic lights, road signs, and the pavement to navigate more safely. And they need to get instant responses – which is where low-latency 5G networks come in.
” Only high-speed networks like 5G can support millisecond latency,” says Dr. Kevin Curran, professor at Ulster University in Northern Ireland and group leader of the Ambient Intelligence Research Group. “We’re not far away from driverless vehicles sharing our roads and one day dominating them, but first, we need to invest in the infrastructure.”
Once the infrastructure for smart vehicles is in place, perhaps the roads will be less busy and the air less polluted. In addition, with fully autonomous vehicles, fewer people will own cars, and ridesharing could become common. The Boston Consulting Group predicts that this will reduce the number of vehicles on city streets by 60 percent and tailpipe emissions by 80 percent.
Trips to the doctor’s office will reduce with 5g unlimited wireless internet. Thanks to virtual visits enabled by low-latency, HD-quality wireless networks. In addition, wearable or implanted medical devices will capture your vitals and transmit them to health care providers, allowing them to detect early warning signs of heart attacks, strokes, or other life-threatening events.
On a 5G network, a user could load a webpage or download a file somewhere between 10 and 100 times faster than today. Moreover, most major smartphone developers plan to release devices that support 5G connectivity this year—in fact, a handful already has—making it possible.
That makes Rush one of the “pioneers” of 5G, according to Rab. “But I think by the end of this year, it will become popular everywhere,” he added. The College of Healthcare Information Management Executives has been touting the technology’s benefits, as well.
Earlier this year, the group made its voice heard, submitting a statement to a Senate subcommittee ahead of a hearing it convened with telecom providers and government officials to discuss the importance of deploying 5G nationwide. In its statement, CHIME—which Rab chairs—said there’s “no question that the infusion of 5G into healthcare will enhance access to care.”
We need faster, better capabilities to be able to leverage the kinds of technologies that are both in the marketplace and entering the marketplace,” Leslie Krigstein, CHIME’s vice president of congressional affairs, said in an interview after the hearing.5G service will be broadly available in the U.S. by 2020. “5G will open the door to important developments in personalized, anywhere, anytime medicine,” says Dr. David Teece, professor at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business.
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