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5G Drives Service Innovation


A well-sliced, carefully managed 5G network may be the key to an awful lot of innovation.

The potential that 5G offers in industries other than communications and media, particularly if network slicing can be fully and properly utilized, is enormous. Here are a few of the hundreds of potential use cases across a variety of industries:

Mining

Mining is dangerous and energy-intensive enterprise, but an undeniably crucial one. Efforts to make the industry safer have been ongoing for decades, and according to a project recently undertaken by Ericsson and industry experts ABB, Boliden, Volvo Construction Equipment, and others, 5G may be the key to further advances. Low latency and high reliability are crucial in mining applications, and efforts to make the vital acquisition of minerals and other natural materials safer and more productive through 5G have shown considerable promise.

Healthcare

It’s no secret that the healthcare industry can benefit greatly from better networks with high reliability and airtight security. As Netcracker noted at this year’s Mobile World Congress, there is already a complex and cutting-edge ecosystem of tech companies that specialize in the unique needs of healthcare, and extra competition or interference into that space from the telecom world isn’t necessary or useful.

But Netcracker and others have made the rightful observation that “equipping the innovators who are driving this revolutionary tech with an open 5G platform that supports virtualized network services, security appliances, charging mechanisms and other useful resources provides a basis for cross-industry partnership.”

Robotics

One of the many frontiers of IoT is the enabling of a wide array of semi-autonomous mechanical helpers, making our every Jetsonian fantasy come true. Ericsson has noted that a 5G cloud could help us step closer to that reality, reducing the need for hardware and making robots more energy efficient and less expensive to produce. In one use case, Ericsson R&D worked with the Biorobotics Institute (part of Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies) and Zucchetti Centro Sistemi in Italy to explore the potential for 5G cloud-connected robots.

“Mobile technologies will enable the robots to exchange considerable amounts of information with the cloud at low latency,” said Roberto Sabella, Research and Innovation Manager for Ericsson, “which will allow the robot system to do its job at the desired performance level.”

VR gaming

This may be one of the more obvious use cases, but it’s undeniable that we’re finally at a stage where the real possibilities for VR have caught up with our desire to make the technology a reality. As Netcracker notes, “in today's on-demand entertainment environment, production is more distributed than ever. New technology such as VR is emerging due to the creation and demand for new entertainment, and service providers are competing to acquire and produce that new content.”

Enter 5G, which can serve as a platform for delivering the resources required to create and deliver immersive VR content. “Those resources can then be distributed to anyone—from local teams to large-scale production houses—to create the next wave of content and bring it to a global marketplace immediately via broadband and 5G.”

Transportation

With autonomous vehicles on the horizon, the control and monitoring of these vehicles is top of mind, and 5G provides a potential platform for this. According to Ericsson, “The next generation of Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) will combine vehicle to vehicle (V2V) and vehicle to off-board software (vehicle to infrastructure, or V2I) communications so that vehicles can operate autonomously and be controlled and monitored from cloud-hosted software.” The potential to manage actual traffic in the same way we already manage network traffic is compelling.

Moving forward

These are only a few of the possibilities that 5G networks present. The list goes on and on, from farming to manufacturing to utilities to shipping. A well-sliced, carefully managed 5G network may be the key to an awful lot of innovation. 



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