2G, 3G, 4G, 5G: it's understandable to hear the term "5G" and momentarily think that it’s basically a faster version of LTE or 4G. After all, the numbers are sequential and it is the next generation in this family of wireless technology. The truth is, 5G is nothing like the generations that came before it. The sheer volume of data that 5G renders possible is difficult to conceive and nearly impossible to visualize. So, let's dive in to a few smart scenarios of this up-and-coming game-changing technology.
# 1 – IoT with 5G technology in industrial campus networks
A key to the digitalization of companies is the wireless networking of production sites through the expansion of cell phone infrastructure, or so-called campus networks. Such application scenarios are only possible due to the enormous amount of data since the existence of 5G technology.
5G technology and related applications mainly exist in the industrial sector. They enable automated and efficient production processes. This gives industrial companies an enormous competitive advantage.
Campus networks can be used in a variety of ways at industrial locations of all sizes. 5G technology offers many of the necessary properties such as extremely high bandwidth, short latencies and improved availability. Even today with 4G technology, you can already achieve a lot.
Technically speaking, campus networks are exclusive mobile radio networks for a defined local company site, a university or individual buildings. These networks are tailored to the individual needs of users and meet the future requirements in the area of Industry 4.0. In practice, this allows:
- Remote servicing of machines, for example, or remote changes to the production process
- Real-time communication, either between machines or between machine and a data center
- Autonomous movement of industrial vehicles around the company premises with the help of sensors
# 2 – Connected Cars – The path to autonomous driving with 5G IoT
Car manufacturers are working hard to make vehicles active participants in the Internet of Things. The networking of passengers and vehicles with the Internet, as well as other vehicles and the environment, enables new applications and is a prerequisite for new mobility concepts.
On-board systems interact whilst networking with the environment, helping connect cars to improve safety. In addition to driving conditions, assistance systems are increasingly recognizing and evaluating traffic situations. This enables them to initiate braking or lane change maneuvers in good time, for instance. With the active networking of connected cars with manufacturers and workshops, new control and maintenance services can be implemented. Thanks to early fault diagnosis, for example, costly repairs can be avoided. Another possible application is the "Over Air Update"; Software updates that are carried out via a radio interface. In addition, connecting cars helps to avoid traffic jams and to direct drivers to free parking spaces.
In the future, smart cars will also predict the behavior of passers-by. By analyzing the movement of a pedestrian, for example, the car can know - before the driver - whether the pedestrian wants to cross the street and importantly, whether he sees the approaching car or not. The future technology would even go one step further: the vehicle could use its own eye tracking (already installed in Audi or in Opal’s headlamp technology), to assess whether the driver hasn’t noticed the approaching pedestrian.
# 3 – 5G IoT City – How intelligent power grids make a city smart
More and more people and companies are producing their own electricity with the help of renewable energies, such as photovoltaic systems powered by the sun. When light falls on the systems, they deliver energy. However, this can be problematic. The sun shines the strongest during the day, specifically at around midday which is when most of the solar power is generated. But the highest electricity consumption in private households takes place in the morning and in the evening. Meaning, when we are busy at work during the daytime, the solar power is already lost. The solution for the future lies in smart grids.
Smart grids coordinate the flow of electricity between electricity generators and electricity consumers. A great number of products deliver small bumps of electricity to consumers, ensuring each bit of energy travels as short a distance as possible. This is possible because the smart grids of a 5G city will know in real time about supply and demand. In fact, they even know the weather forecast. Because if the sun is supposed to shine particularly strongly on the next day, more solar power can be produced. Since machines of the 5G industry know this – they can work on the particularly power-consuming processes when the sun is shining.
# 4 – Smart Farming – How 5G technology and IoT are revolutionizing agriculture
“Smart farming” links individual data and sources of information with one another. The aim is to improve the various parts of the process chain, such as sowing and fertilization. The high degree of mechanization is characteristic. An example: Within a large field, there are often considerable differences in soil conditions. With appropriate data and localization via GPS, soil management can be adjusted accordingly. By transferring large amounts of data, also made possible by the new 5G network, precision farming is gentle on resources because there is less need for water and fertilizer. At the same time, productivity is increased. GPS-controlled tractors will soon take the first step in this direction. Autonomous field robots are now being developed for similar purposes.
Another application scenario for smart farming is the use of drones. When drones fly over a field, they act as flying agricultural assistants carrying out tasks such as smart observation, measurement, or pest control. Such a flying agricultural assistant cannot only keep a digital eye on the condition of the soil and the progress of plant growth but if necessary, can even support the search for a runaway animal. But digitization can go much further: satellites from the European Space Agency (ESA) have long been providing data that not only make weather forecasts and civil protection easier, but also provide agricultural companies with a current picture of their agricultural land, for example during a drought.
Many experts see special potential for this technology, particularly in developing countries. For example, in Malawi where the UNICEF drones can transport medical samples and measure entire areas after floods.
Enabling a connected future with 5G-technology
The examples presented clearly show the massive benefits of 5G technology. 5G is quite simply: a game-changer, of crucial importance to all realms of our future. It will uncover new application scenarios only possible with the seemingly endless data volume that 5G offers. The potential is there - it’s up to business, society and communities everywhere to realize that potential.
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