By Chandan Kumar
Society and industry are undergoing a digital transformation, and path breaking technologies like 5G, which were once a distant dream, are now a reality. As the world gears up to enter the 5G era, industrial managers have begun to realize that MBB (mobile broadband) networks provide a path and platform for the upgrade and transformation of multiple aspects of their operations.
It is expected that by 2025, there will be 100 billion connections worldwide, between people, things, and organizations. This interconnectedness results in new requirements for communication networks and the connection platform enabled by 5G network infrastructure must be leveraged to realize the full potential of digitalization.
Putting things into perspective, digitalized information becomes valuable when it becomes connected. Therefore, high bandwidth, multiple connections, high reliability, and low latency are now recognized as the most important new demands on network connectivity.
Likewise, visual input has become the most important way that we acquire information, and network requirements for business and consumer services are becoming more demanding. Mobile applications based on video, using new virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and mixed reality (MR) terminals will become really important applications for 5G networks. The need to provide these services anytime and anywhere will drive the way operators build their networks.
Thus, 5G networks will develop alongside the new services that the technology enable. Enhanced mobile broadband, as an early application, will in turn enable rapid development of 5G networks. With its huge technology improvements, the 5G network will become a network platform that will accelerate new industry applications.
Mobile application services in the early days of 5G
Mobile broadband Internet has developed rapidly and smart devices have become very popular. As a result, mobile video accounts for nearly 50% of operator’s network traffic and the proportion is increasing. There is also a trend to more immersive services based on new VR and AR headsets, and consumers will want to experience these services wherever they are, so they must be capable of being used wirelessly. These services will become more important for MBB. Some might call high definition video and wireless AR and VR services the early “killer applications” for 5G.
Typical application scenarios for VR include virtual games, live sporting events, remote presentation and remote equipment control and a typical application scenarios for AR include intelligent navigation, virtual tour guides, education and training.
5G will support national energy transformation
Smart grids integrate information, telecommunication and automation into traditional power systems, revolutionizing the way energy is stored, delivered and sold. They are based on the principle that everything in the grid is connected, monitored and controllable. The data on usage, network status and performance, and energy supply from generation sources is collated centrally.
Therefore, the communications system for the smart grid is a crucial component which links all the power generation, transmission and distribution assets, as well as the management systems. It enables two-way transmission of data between sensors and monitoring systems; between control systems and energy generation, storage and transmission assets; and between control systems and end users’ smart meters.
Featuring wide coverage, large capacity, real-time performance, reliability, and scalability, 5G networks allow grid-tied management of new energy such as hydraulic, wind, and solar power. 5G networks also address challenges to grid-tied management, such as random and intermittent new energy supply, unbalanced peak-load regulation capability, bidirectional transmission and much more.
5G will aid in automotive safety
Billions of dollars are being invested in advanced vehicle technologies that will enable the introduction of new safety and efficiency systems, and ultimately driverless cars. These future generations of automobile will require sophisticated wireless telecoms capability in order to communicate with one another, with local traffic control systems, with manufacturers and with third-party service providers.
Internet of Vehicles (IoV) is expected to reduce traffic accident rates, relieve congestion, save energy, and reduce pollution. Automatic driving function will become a standard safety feature for future vehicles. Furthermore, with the maturing V2X (Vehicle to Everything) technology, it is becoming a standard feature for vehicles in the near future. All of this more would be possible only with the development of 5G.
The development of eMBB services will accelerate the coming of the 5G era. User experience of early 5G services will set a good precedent and encourage the development of vertical industry applications. With the progress of communication technologies and in particular mobile Internet, boundaries of traditional industries will be expanded. This will provide a window of opportunity for telecom operators to become an integral part of industry developments. Using 5G infrastructure as an enabling platform, vertical industry applications will improve the productivity of the whole of society, as well as delivering growth opportunities for operators.
(The author is Director, Marketing and Integrated Solutions, Huawei Telecommunications India.)