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Will 5G live up to the hype? It can be difficult to sift the fact from the fiction when it comes to what it will actually enable us to do.
Most of us are aware that it will make our smartphones connect more quickly, but that is far being from the only use of 5G – and some would say, it is far from being the most interesting thing it will do.
The low latency, high speed and reliability of 5G will make a lot of things possible for businesses and consumers.
The benefits of 5G are immense. It decreases the latency (the time it takes for data to travel from one point to another) and increases upload and download speeds. It also works better when you're moving: if you've ever been frustrated by your phone's bandwidth on a moving train or car, 5G will allow you to experience a more stable connection.
At HERE360, we have decided that 5G is definitely worth the hype. Not only will it be faster to make calls even while on the move, stream movies and download files onto your phone, but it will transform the world of connected cars and autonomous vehicles.
But its success is not a given. The coming years will see huge investment in infrastructure, cloud processing and storage capabilities to support 5G. Location technology will be essential to support this, giving network planners the information they need to build this infrastructure in the right place. 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.
But what's the cost of all this to the consumer? According to McKinsey, networks will have to increase their expenditure by 60% from 2020 to 2025 to be 5G ready. The networks require dense clusters of antennas and masts, the laying of fiber-optic cable and, in some cases, an upgrade of existing 4G. However, it might not be time to worry about phone bills skyrocketing just yet. Not only can savings be made using the right location technology, but 5G will open up huge revenue opportunities due to all the things it makes possible.
One of the most exciting industries to be transformed by 5G technology is automotive.
A variety of companies in different industries are getting together to develop projects that will harness the power of 5G. HERE has partnered with Verizon to explore ways of using 5G to enable new developments with autonomous cars. Speaking at the time the partnership was announced, HERE CEO Edzard Overbeek said: “5G is the future, and the scale and reach of the Verizon 5G network will enable widespread, higher-bandwidth, low-latency connectivity necessary for more precise positioning.
“Our partnership with Verizon not only allows us to tap into the innovation potential of 5G, but also highlights what is possible when telecommunications meet location intelligence: connected services that will make our world safer and more efficient."
The key focus of the partnership is connected cars – and there are many ways this could change the world as we know it today. 5G is better equipped to carry out critical communications for safer driving, support enhanced V2X and connected mobility solutions.
Connected cars already use sensors to understand what is happening on the road. When coupled with the power of 5G, this information can be quickly sent to other vehicles to warn them of obstacles or pedestrians, for example. The partnership with Verizon has explored how this would work and the potential for making roads safer.
Another partnership between HERE, Vodafone Business and AWS worked on a similar road safety concept that has exciting potential. Imagine if your car could detect an obstacle ahead and send out a targeted message to other road users to warn them. For instance, if a pedestrian ran out into the road, not only would you receive an alert, but the cars behind you would also be warned that you may suddenly brake.
That is the concept behind the collaboration between HERE Technologies and Vodafone Business, using AWS Wavelength – AWS infrastructure embedded in the Vodafone 4G/5G network.
Commercial fleets will see the benefits of 5G too.
Fleets of commercial vehicles will also be transformed by 5G once network optimization is complete.
With 5G, these and other fleet telematics features will gain speed and efficacy. Re-routing due to unexpected challenges and obstacles will be instantaneously shared across the entire fleet, with analytics and the ability to predict and schedule vehicle maintenance enhanced by the data a connected fleet can provide.
Re-routing because of obstacles can be instantly communicated to the entire fleet, making journeys much more efficient.
Predictive analytics and vehicle maintenance will also be improved. Ultimately, every single item of cargo will be tracked, meaning that fleet managers gain oversight of all their assets at any time. 5G allows up to 100 times more devices to be connected at the same time than 4G, giving fleet managers much more information to create a real-time picture of their activities.
With this explosion of life-changing uses for 5G, it is no wonder that there is a frenzy of research into the technology and its capabilities.
Verizon compiled a report examining that potential a bit more closely. They surveyed 700 business leaders from diverse sectors to find out how they planned to make the most of 5G.
The survey found that 80% think 5G will create new opportunities for their companies. Along with road safety, those opportunities included better cybersecurity, faster first response and understanding traffic flow, which could be used by urban planners.
But how does it work? HERE Senior Product Marketing Manager Suny Borges explained in a previous blog how 5G will change the way we experience everyday life.
Building better 5G networks is a challenge. 3D maps are essential for 5G network planning, which is why HERE has combined efforts with Infosys and Shields to streamline the design process for 5G networks. Infosys, a global leader in digital services and consulting, will provide machine-learning software and a service delivery platform for network planners. Shields has expertise in radio frequency and radio network coverage design to bring to the table. HERE will contribute the precise 3D datasets it has collected from hundreds of thousands of kilometers of high-definition mapped roadways.
Beyond that, HERE Telecom and Utilities is helping people to plan next-generation mobile networks, site preparation and infrastructure. It will also enhance operations and improve efficiency with reduced latency, and benefit from 5G-powered location services via the partnership between HERE and Verizon, mentioned above.
The adoption of 5G in business is well underway. However, a lot of the infrastructure needed to implement the improvements we have looked at is still being rolled out.
Many see it as vital to economic recovery post-COVID-19.
Verizon Business CEO Tami Erwin told Tech Republic: “These findings underscore the critical role 5G will play in economic recovery and growth."
Where it also plays a crucial role is in helping network planners decide where 5G towers and other infrastructure should be sited in the first place.
HERE Geodata Models has been designed to help telecommunications companies make these decisions. It is a highly precise and scalable 3D digital representation of the buildings, trees, and roadside objects including streetlights, utility poles and other items which make up the physical environment surrounding 5G antennas.
The aim is to speed up the deployment of 5G technology and lower costs for the telecommunications industry. It could lower network planning costs by 40% and reduce network planning lead time by 25%.
Network planners and radio frequency engineers can use HERE Geodata Models to remotely conduct field surveys and precisely plan where to locate 5G antennas for optimal signal coverage and line-of-sight modeling.
The uses of 5G are almost unlimited.
The use of 5G in many sectors is almost unlimited. Once the right infrastructure is in place, it could bring automated street food trucks to a town center near you. With reliable, high-definition maps, these trucks are an efficient and safe way to facilitate contactless delivery.
If you have been wondering why your food is not being delivered by drones as promised, then 5G in tandem with blockchain could be the answer. This combination could effectively manage drone traffic in a way that would make it safe for drones carrying parcels to fill our skies.
The precision that 5G enables in terms of location makes hyper-targeted marketing possible.
Insights we gain from digital twins can benefit all sorts of businesses and the public sector. Digital twins can help construction firms plan the details of a new development before breaking ground or installing a new façade and help local authorities prepare for potential emergencies like natural disasters. The deployment of new 5G networks could play a major role in justifying the creation of large-scale digital twins throughout the world.
While many of these use cases are yet to become commonplace, one thing is for sure: the world after 5G will be very different.