5G isn't just extraordinary internet speed, it's a huge leap forward

Here's how 5G technology will transform the world around us.

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Unless you've totally disconnected yourself from technology, or living under a rock for the past few months, it's impossible to have missed a discussion about 5G and how it's going to revolutionize the world we live in. Well, it's the next generation of the wireless communication network that will be 20 times snappier compared to its precursor - 4G.

5G isn't just extraordinary internet speed, it's a huge leap forward

 

The new network will not only amplify the mobile broadband speeds to a great extent but will also pave the way for a highly-advanced technological society. This shouldn't be a surprise, as 4G was a major upgrade over 3G, and so the next step should fall in line with the tradition. However, the new wireless tech won't just be a reiteration of the previous builds, it would be a reinvention of the technology, built from scratch. According to an MIT review, the introduction of 5G will be a "technological paradigm shift similar to the jump from the typewriter to the computer."

Although 5G will make your downloads zippier and HD streaming smoother than ever before, these won't be the only advantages of the new system. The technology is expected to be a catalyst for innovations across various industries such as automobile, healthcare, IoT, AI, VR, and other industries. Let's understand them one at a time:

How will 5G help Internet of Things (IoT)
 

How will 5G help Internet of Things (IoT)

IoT means having multiple connected devices that can gather data in real time for a particular time frame. However, this process puts a lot of pressure on the network as well as the battery reservoirs of the devices.

The only thing that's holding back IoT from becoming a household thing is disconnected systems. However, with the advent of the 5G technology more connections will be capable of addressing the challenge, thanks to the swift data transmission speeds of the network. It will reduce the network energy usage by 90%, ramping up the life of the IoT devices for up to 10 years. If everything falls into place, 5G will turn IoT into an indispensable part of our society.

B.S. Teh, Senior vice president of global sales, Seagate told GizBot, "The commercialization of 5G will further fuel the adoption of IoT. 5G's ability to transmit data faster and support more connections at once will help the IoT scale exponentially, driving the growth of data volumes. According to IDC's Data Age 2025 study sponsored by Seagate, IoT devices will create 90ZB of data in 2025, making up more than half the global Datasphere."

The data processing is another problem that IoT has to deal with while on 4G/LTE networks, and 5G claims to improve this as well. With the new network, more devices will be able to transmit more data without having to worry about overcrowding the network. Basically, 5G will unleash the true potential of IoT in ways we can't imagine.

What's more? Well, 5G will enable smart devices to transmit data within a blink of an eye from thousands of kilometers using sensors. The new system will also pave the way for smart cities exploring areas like water and waste management, traffic monitoring, and enhanced healthcare facilities.

"The IoT powers next-generation technologies - from smart manufacturing to connected cars, generating data that has a life-critical impact. More data will need to be analyzed in real time - IDC estimates nearly 30% of data created will be real-time in nature - to enable critical decision-making on the spot, without the latency that comes with processing data in the cloud," Teh added.

5G will allow the installation of more sensors into the city infrastructure and will handle huge loads of data, making for seamless integration between intelligent systems with the society. Moreover, the connection will be capable of reaching the remotest of the places and deep underground tunnels.

IoT for the retail sector will also see a huge transformation as it would shape customer engagement and experiences through smartphones. The network will enable users to interact with shoppers faster, thanks to the enhanced digital signage.

"To harness this opportunity, enterprises must build on their core cloud computing infrastructure and develop the ability to process, securely store more data at the edge," he added.

The 5G network will also benefit the businesses investing in IoT, as it would bring most of the desired specifications to the table. All in all the 5G network will be the main catalyst for IoT expansion.

Why 5G is required in Healthcare?

5G will surely help the healthcare segment in several ways, making complex surgeries easy, and much more. Ericsson predicts a $76 billion revenue opportunity in 2026 for operators addressing healthcare transformation with 5G.

With the low latency and higher capacity, 5G can offer remote monitoring to more patients. In fact, doctors can receive data in real-time enabling them to provide the best treatment.

Faisal Kawoosa, Founder, Consultancy Firm, TechArc said, "We still have 1 doctor per 1000 population, which includes doctors from alternative medicine. Initially, it will help in telemedicine and eventually lead to remote autonomous diagnostics."

"It will also enable managing connected/wearables network of patients for real-time monitoring," he said.

Besides by adding 5G networks patients will get online access to a central repository of medical records to help them easily manage the quality and efficiency of their care. 45 percent of experts consider this a breakthrough in healthcare provisioning.

The 5G network will be able to transmit large files such as MRI and PET scans with ease. These files are often sent to a specialist for review, however, a bad network can delay the process. 5G can transmit huge data files very quickly which will be helpful for both doctor and patient.

"The first benefits for the healthcare sector will arrive from these improvements to existing mobile connectivity for smartphone users. Faster speeds will make it easier to use video telephony to communicate for remote real-time consultations and symptom diagnosis, or to share healthcare information between patients and doctors," said Opensignal CEO Brendan Gill.

Robotic surgeries are already been performed in many parts of the world, however, the robots still need some assistance. Well, once the 5G networks arrive, these operations can be performed from a distance reducing the risk of unsuccessful surgeries.

Many hospitals have turned to Artificial intelligence (AI) to provide the best treatment possible to patients. By upgrading to 5G networks hospitals will be able to predict postoperative complications easily and avoid errors.

As of now, doctors have to be physically present to diagnose a patient, but with 5G-enabled super ambulances, doctors can monitor the patient through high definition video communication. The advanced ambulance collects the data of vitals and other essential information - including ECG data, video, CT scan result, and sends it wirelessly to the remote ERC within seconds via 5G.

 

5G can enhance Self-driven vehicles' space

The automobile witnessed an early penetration of the 5G networks, as a few major companies tested the new network for their autonomous vehicles. In order to achieve this, auto-driven vehicles will have to be connected with other vehicles and roadside infrastructure. 4G wasn't capable enough to provide a network that could make this a reality.

With 5G integration, autonomous vehicles will form a dynamic group of vehicles driving and proceeding at a very short distance from each other. 5G will operate leveraging OFDM encoding and run on frequencies below or above 6 GHz.

The new network will work in favor of both the driver and the automakers drawing more information from the vehicle, including better remote checking and quicker remote control of self-ruling autonomous cars.

The technology will utilize different frequency bands that have substantially more transfer speed than current generation cellular systems. Moreover, research also suggests that the 5G system will warn the driver in advance about the upcoming traffic light. This information will help the driver plan his ride and adjust the speed of the car accordingly. This will also help in maintaining the general flow of traffic and will prevent jams.

The next generation cellular system will enhance extra-vehicle communication and provide (ADAS) Advanced Driver Assistance Systems. As for the current generation networks, people still need to be cautious before putting full faith in auto-driven cars, as we've already come across a few instances where auto-driven cars have crashed. However, the 5G data transmission will provide a seamless real-time with the vehicle.

Back in February 2016, DENSO Corp. and NTT DOCOMO jointly research to develop vehicle control systems that utilize LTE and 5G, to transform advanced-driver-assistance and automated-driving-systems. The very next year Ficosa joined the 5G Automotive Association (5GAA)

Later in March 2017, Samsung Electronics acquired Harman, a leading solution provider for the connected cars platform. The South Korean giant was then elected for the board members of the 5G Automotive Association (5GAA).

The main aim of 5GAA’is to speed up the commercialization of communication solutions that advance mobility and safety on transportation networks.

In January 2018, HARMAN and Samsung demonstrated high-speed connectivity in a futuristic mobility-concept-vehicle powered by the Samsung Networks 5G infrastructure, at CES 2018. It was followed by Telefónica and Huawei's demonstration of the 5G in self-driving-vehicles in a field trial in Spain.

5G will take Virtual and Augmented Reality to a next level

Virtual Reality (VR) is a technology that provides a fully immersive 3D computer-simulated world, typically through specially designed headsets. Augmented reality (AR), on the other hand, is built on a VR-like technology. However, rather than creating a self-contained digital reality, it brings virtual elements to the real world view.

Both AR and VR are budding technologies that will heavily rely on 5G. Many of their applications will also be climbing in automobile engineering. For both AR and VR there can multiple used cases. 5G will enable these devices to unload extensive computational work to the cloud.

Many experts believe that 5G's advent will unleash the full potential of VR and AR technology. Back in October 2018, Qualcomm noted that both the technologies require a cheaper and highly-reliable network with lower latency. In simple terms - they both require a 5G network.

VR and AR involve complex mechanisms and need a lot of data processing. This works fine for local applications, but feeding such data remotely puts an immense load on the network.

Virtual reality needs to be seamless as immersion is the key, so a slow connection wouldn't be the right choice. What's worse, a laggy VR experience could affect the physical health of the user.

According to ABI Research, the 5G network will make for "a 10X improvement in throughout, a 10X decrease in latency, a 100X improvement in traffic capacity, and a 100X improvement in network efficiency" over its precursor.

As already known, both AR and VR applications are power-hungry and the current network standards do not completely fulfill the needs. In the coming days, these applications will see new standards of HDR (High Dynamic Range) and frame rates of 90fps and above.

However, 360-applications such as 360-degree video will move to higher resolutions of 8K or above, and stereoscopic format which will require high bandwidth. Soon these video formats will become a norm and it would become tough for a 4G network to take the strain.

The experts have predicted that future wearable AR devices will be made to use for a whole day, and needs to be connected to the internet all the time. ABI Research expects that by 2021, the AR smart glasses in use will reach 48 million.

5G in India: When will it to come in India

Despite the fact that a lot of people in India are yet to adopt 4G networks, the government has plans to bring the 5G network in the country. As a matter of fact, the Department of Telecom (DOT) has set up a committee to give recommendations on the scope of 5G trials in India. The committee will give its suggestions on the size quantum, pricing and other aspects.

Besides, DOT has come up with National Digital Communications Policy (NDCP), which aims to raise $100 billion investment in the sector by 2022. The policy also focuses on providing broadband access to all with 50 megabits per second speed, and 5G services.

However, the base price suggested by the telecom regulator TRAI is very high and most of the telcos are yet to agree on paying the price. The TRAI proposes 20MHz blocks in a 3,300-3,600MHz band at a price of Rs 492 crore per unit in 5G spectrum bands. Care Ratings had also warned lukewarm participation in the auctions.

"It appears like the government is very keen on early adoption of 5G technology. With the financial difficulties faced by the telecom companies, it appears very unlikely that the telcos will opt for spectrum auction which the government plans to roll out in the near future," the report added.

Meanwhile, telecom companies are testing 5G networks with gear makers. BSNL has signed MOU with Ericsson and Ciena to develop new 5G use cases in areas like agriculture and education, especially for rural areas. In addition, Chinese smartphone maker OnePlus also plans to work with Qualcomm on 5G trials in India. Another report says that after the 5G trial takes place, the spectrum auction is likely to happen in October this year.

Our take on 5G

All that said, we know for a fact that 5G will transform the world in ways we could only imagine right now. It will be extremely helpful in connecting an individual to the whole world and accomplish things which can only be dreamt of on a 4G network.

4G is inadequate for handling the data transmission required for an advanced technological society. The network is already experiencing strain due to the ever-increasing population of connected devices and sensors, limiting what can be achieved.

With speedy data transmission, low latency, and low energy consumption makes 5G and ideal catalyst for complex necessities of advanced applications like IoT, autonomous vehicles, advanced healthcare, and of course next-gen entertainment technologies like Augmented and Virtual reality.

5G actually gives us a peek into the world which is beyond just smartphones, supercomputers, and tablets connected to the web. The new network will bring along new opportunities for businesses offering services and apps to manage IoT ecosystems and convert data into smart insights.

But as they say "applaud doesn't come without caveats," 5G has some drawbacks. Biggest one of them is the hefty price tag this technology carries with it. Well, it wouldn't be fair to expect this futuristic technology for dirt cheap prices, however, the heavy price could affect the adoption of the network across the globe and might delay the aforementioned deployments.

As for the Indian consumers, it might take a little longer before they could try out the new network, as the base price for the 5G spectrum seems very expensive as per industry standards and a lot of telcos in the country are facing financial crisis at the moment.

We still believe 5G will play a vital role in transforming not only how interact with the world, but businesses and society as a whole as well.

(Authors/Inputs: Vishal Kawadkar, Priyanka Dua, Karan Sharma)

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