As we have explored what 5G technology is, and what benefits and constraints it may bring, it is now time to look at some of the conceptual applications of this technology, and who the top movers and shakers are within this sector.
5G might be a way off but dozens of organisations around the world are collaborating and working towards 5G breakthroughs. But do not believe the hype – the shift to 5G will not happen quickly! Here is a short overview of who has been doing what and when.
As 5G is still in development, it is not yet open access. However, lots of companies have started to create 5G products. The main road began in 2012, even though Huawei and ZTE separately began working on the technology in 2009. Some notable advancements in 5G technologies have come from Qualcomm and Samsung, who have focused their efforts on hardware, with Qualcomm creating a compatible modem and Samsung producing an enabled home router. In addition, Nokia and Ericsson have created applicable platforms aimed at mobile carriers rather than consumers, with Ericsson creating the first 5G platform earlier this year that claims to provide the first 5G radio system. Similarly, Nokia launched “5G First”, a platform aiming to provide end-to-end 5G support for mobile carriers. Of course, tests are being conducted before any of the technologies are standardised.
Despite the growth in 4G being data and smartphone-centric, companies are looking beyond the smartphone for 5G. Let’s now have a look into some of the potential applications for this technology.
Categories like automotive, virtual reality and drones should be the first beneficiaries from the announcements, so far. Imagine driverless cars that will be able to avoid an accident thanks to notification from sensors on the road. Smart cities that can guide motorists to a vacant parking spot, switch on street lighting when needed by emergency services, or identify which roads to grit in bad weather. Smart grids that can conserve energy resources and manage energy consumption. These may all be a possibility with 5G.
AR will have more uses besides entertainment, such as satellite navigation appearing on car windscreens, and adverts projected onto shop windows. Holographic video could become a reality too, which could be used for further applications like 3D medical imaging. Industrial equipment could be controlled remotely for safer working practices, and a doctor could remotely operate a robot to carry out surgery on the other side of the world.
Excited yet? You should be! It is a thrilling period that will lead to a whole new technological age. The take-home message from this series is that 5G connections must be based on user experience, system performance, enhanced services, and operations! The possibilities are quite simply endless… At least, until 6G comes along in 2040!
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