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5G is the fifth-generation wireless technology with the potential to transform communication systems. It offers higher speeds, low latency and other benefits that will open and power a wide range of existing and emerging technologies. Despite its potential, commercial success is far from assured. High-speed connectivity, cloud processing and storage capabilities will need to be deployed close to the consumers, workers, cars, robots, and industries of tomorrow. This is where location technology comes in.
Location plays a vital role in each use case. The deployment of 5G will vary by country because the ROI for an operator varies according to the geography of the area it covers. Each use case is defined by the country in question, the size, the demographics and the subscriber base. These factors will determine its requirements. That's why HERE works with the telecom sector at the deployment stage and then throughout the rollout stage - to ensure deployment can meet proper KPIs.
Location technology has previously played a peripheral role in enterprise decision-making and application development. Fueled by affordable, low-powered sensors, big data analytics and artificial intelligence in recent years, location technology has driven the way forward for both enterprise and consumer use cases. Today, it is at the center of the next wave of digital transformation and helping drive better real-world outcomes.
Furthermore, location technology can also circumvent 5G network planning challenges, accelerating the process by reducing the need for field surveys. Access to highly defined 3D geospatial data enables planning and design to be performed from a remote location using a desktop computer. To that end, 5G deployment costs can be reduced, cutting down operating expenditures by as much as 40%, particularly those associated with cell site real estate selection.
“Imagine if you have a moving machine and no way of knowing where it is located. It would be a disaster. This is where location-based technology is important, in order to identify where the object is and to have control over it. Before that, mapping will need to be completed first, as you want to know what kind of structure is available at that location and that is very much important in terms of planning purposes. There is a lot of future in location-based technology as a solution." – Norman Yeoh, Vice President, Head of Network Commercials, Operations Assurance & Transmission, Group Technology Division, Axiata
Telecom players collaborating with location providers can maximize the impact of their networks with visual positioning – a technology that compares imagery of specific locations to a database of 3D geometric objects, created from lidar-captured 3D pixel-point cloud maps to find accurate positioning in real-time. This means visual positioning solutions could enable near-instantaneous identification of specific locations using image capture. It also works in urban canyons or signal deserts that GPS and other signal-based technologies cannot reach.
For consumers and enterprises, location technology coupled with 5G will allow for truly immersive experiences and opportunities for value creation. From immersive virtual reality training, gaming, first responder edge tracking, smart factories, industry 4.0 application, improving road safety and more, consumers, enterprises, and governments stand to benefit enormously as 5G capabilities deploy over the next decade.
Read more: Do autonomous cars need 5G?
“The great thing about 5G is it opens up a broad range of use cases across consumer and enterprise that extend beyond the smartphone. In the near term, things like fixed wireless access are going to be an important source of revenue and opportunity, as is the case here in Australia, since we launched a fixed wireless access product over a year ago. But then with applications such as augmented reality, virtual reality, enterprise use cases around manufacturing and Industry 4.0, there's a wide variety of different use cases. The interesting thing about monetization under those circumstances, from a telecom perspective, is making sure we place our bets in the right areas." – Harvey Wright, Head of 5G, Optus
5G technology and location are natural partners. As the telecom sector begins exploring ways to be more data-driven and efficient – from network planning to market outreach – the importance of location and its potential for transforming and monetizing networks is undeniable. The future of a hyper-precise world will need to leverage on location data to achieve the next level of productivity and efficiency.