The spread of the ultra-fast mobile communications standard and the parallel introduction of company-owned 5G networks, so-called campus networks, are still in their infancy.
5G may not be relevant for all sectors of the economy – but numerous sectors need the technology if they want to continue generating growth. NTT Ltd., a leading global IT services company, lists the top 5 deployment scenarios.
If companies want to implement business models or processes that have to process large amounts of data with low latency, they depend on 5G. From development to production, from logistics to sales – there are potential applications almost everywhere. Especially in the industrial environment, campus networks with a large ecosystem of providers help to remove previous technological obstacles.
From NTT’s point of view, 5G technology can drive innovation in the following areas:
- smart city Intelligent parking systems, real-time diagnostics in the event of power failures or optimized waste disposal – these are just a few examples that are possible in a networked city. The basis for this is 5G, because networking an entire city requires the rapid transmission and evaluation of huge amounts of data. Another area of application for 5G is smart grids. These intelligently controlled power grids ensure that the exact amount of electricity required is generated at all times – ideally down to the watt. The prerequisite is that the countless, spatially distributed sensors, devices and systems are networked in real time, which is possible with 5G technology. At the same time, 5G is significantly more energy-efficient in use compared to previous mobile phone generations.
- Autonomous Vehicles. The 5G standard is also necessary for future mobility concepts such as autonomous driving. Smooth transport and maximum safety for all road users can only be guaranteed if a car is continuously supplied with information from the outside. 5G enables real-time communication with other vehicles as well as with infrastructure such as signs and traffic lights. In the event of a dangerous situation, the car is warned and reacts completely independently within a millisecond. In the fleet management of logisticians, precise control is possible with 5G – autonomous transport systems choose an alternative route in the event of a problem in order to continue to supply production with material.
- Industry 4.0. By networking a wide variety of machines, production steps can be better coordinated. This applies both within the company and between different companies involved in production. The result is optimal plant utilization and faster delivery. Another 5G option is the monitoring of critical equipment: This includes sensors for temperature, humidity, pressure, voltage and the status of regulators and control valves. In addition, the thirst for data and the latency requirements of technologies such as augmented and virtual reality can be satisfied with 5G. Instead of waiting for an appointment with the service technician, repairs are simply carried out “by yourself” using data glasses and video transmission.
- telemedicine. In healthcare, 5G can significantly improve the care of the chronically ill by transmitting patient data in real time using mobile devices for analysis. The physician is thus able to intervene in good time if critical values are reached. At the same time, costs can be saved because fewer doctor visits are necessary and hospital visits are shortened. The same applies to emergency care: thanks to the real-time transmission of clinical data, the treating physicians in the hospital are informed about the patient’s condition before the patient arrives. In severe cases, this time saving can even save lives. In addition, with 5G technology, operations can be carried out from a great distance. A doctor assists either via video link or with the help of virtual reality applications.
- Retail trade. A digital mirror combined with a 5G network enables the use of augmented reality and virtual reality solutions in stores. Customers have the opportunity to visualize the new outfit in combination with various accessories – whether shoes, bags or jewellery. 5G technology also enables state-of-the-art inventory mapping and coordinated fleet management.
“Technical topics and bandwidth aspects often dominate the discussion about 5G. We have to get away from this discussion and towards an understanding of the innovative use cases and possibilities that are possible through the use of the latest generation of mobile communications and in the future even through 6G,” emphasizes Kai Grunwitz, Managing Director of NTT Ltd. in Germany. “A lot of things still sound like science fiction today, but will become reality within the next few years and change the economy, society and our lives.”