Broader industrial applications of 5G to take off in early 2020s: report
Source: John Liu
Widespread 5G coverage could take over a decade, and as for the broader industrial applications of 5G
, estimates suggest that adoption will take off in the early 2020s, CB Insights says in report.
While 4G has paved the way for new mediums of mobile consumption, it does have limitations. “Over the next decade, the rise of IoT will require networks to transmit massive amounts of data in near real-time,” says the report titled What Is 5G? Understanding The Next-Gen Wireless System.
While smartphones and other mobile devices are the obvious use cases for 5G, there are many other applications for the technology. Autonomous vehicles, robotic surgery and critical infrastructure monitoring are just a few of the potential applications of 5G-enabled IoT.
The manufacturing industry has already started adopting artificial intelligence and IoT technologies
to increase efficiency, improve data collection and build better predictive analytics. “But with 5G, manufacturers gain a faster, more reliable means of collecting and transmitting that data, as well as a broader range of sensors and devices they can integrate into their factories and workflows,” the report says.
One major potential improvement with 5G will be augmented reality (AR)
for manufacturing. Ericsson began testing augmented reality troubleshooting in its Tallinn, Estonia factory last year. “With an AR app, technicians can observe a part that needs maintenance and pull up the relevant schematics and instructions within their field of vision, drastically shortening the time it takes to complete the repair,” the report says.
According to AT&T, other industrial use cases for 5G include monitoring equipment performance, robotic visual recognition that autonomously performs quality assurance and predictive analytics to tell when a part is going to fail.
Tesla, Google and others have been racing for years to build the first viable autonomous vehicle capable of navigating all environments without the input of a human driver. Their primary approach to the problem thus far uses onboard computers and radar to scan the environment around the vehicle, and decide a car’s next movement based on the information.
Companies such as Qualcomm, Ericsson, Huawei and Nokia are looking to 5G and edge computing
as a potential solution to the problems faced by autonomous vehicles. Their consortium, the 5G Automotive Association (5GAA), began work on “cellular-vehicle-to-everything” (C-V2X)
in 2016. “Rather than cars determining individually how to act, in the C-V2X system, vehicles communicate with one another and with parts of the physical environment like traffic lights and construction signs in order to coordinate movements safely and efficiently,” says CB Insights.
The system is in a testing phase today, but researchers believe 5G could permit truly autonomous driving in the future. 5G availability would mean a greater density of sensors in the environment and faster data transmission from centralized servers to those sensors and vehicles.
The average autonomous car of the future could produce as much as 2M gigabytes of data per week, and moving all of that data to the cloud or a regional server isn’t feasible today with Wi-Fi or 4G, making 5G all the more important for tomorrow.