October 19, 2021

What You Should Know About 5G Technology And What The Future Holds

Ran Poliakine is Chairman and CEO of Nanox, and Co-founder of MusashiAI, a joint venture with...

Ran Poliakine is Chairman and CEO of Nanox, and Co-founder of MusashiAI, a joint venture with auto-parts manufacturer Musashi Seimitsu.

The most memorable coverage of the 5G cellular network surrounded conspiracy theories about Covid-19. Some claimed the network was designed to weaken our immune systems, while others thought it directly transmits the virus. Reasonable minds — the vast majority of the human population, one would hope — understood the conspiracies for what they were. They knew 5G was simply the next upgrade to our cellular network. But even they missed the point.

5G goes far beyond what we think of today as cell phones. We’re at the start of a revolution in the world of connected things, with the first steps toward implementing 5G — the newest generation of telecom networks — already in full motion. To some, 5G promises to simply improve cellular capabilities, providing enhanced broadband power and boosting mobile capacity and data rates. In fact, 5G is 10 to 50 times faster than previous generations of cellular networks.

To others, however, the new network technology holds the key to shaping the future of practically every industry by drastically transforming the way machines interact and function. From manufacturing facilities maintained by hundreds of connected robots to automobiles that self-diagnose and update repairs on their own, 5G is set to become the basis for all things connected.

The Benefits Of 5G’s Low Latency

5G technology improves more than just connection speed — its greatest advantage is its ultra-fast response time, also known as latency. 5G’s ultra-reliable low-latency communication (URLLC) is what really makes 5G stand out compared to previous cellular generations. In fact, the technology enables responses that are 250 times faster than humans. For instance, a car manufacturer can avoid damages to car parts using 5G’s high reliability and is seamlessly able to keep up the pace of the assembly line due to 5G’s low latency. This creates a foundation to support innovations that were previously not possible with other connectivity technologies.

Industries with stringent connectivity requirements stand to benefit the most from 5G’s low latency technology. In the automotive industry, 5G is the missing element to reach peak safety for autonomous cars. The technology enables quick data transmission and the ability to interact with the road and with other vehicles on a level that can avoid crashes and streamline the drive. With a 5G-connected vehicle, car manufacturers can also receive data insights and analytics used to update the software or fix issues remotely, completely transforming the car owner’s experience.

Using 5G To Transform Manufacturing

Similarly, in manufacturing, 5G can support critical applications, allowing for a significant overhaul in automation and artificial intelligence. A 5G smart factory is already in trial — Ericsson has partnered with China Mobile to transform its radio product manufacturing site in Nanjing. The companies connected approximately 1,000 high-precision screwdrivers using sensors to collect and analyze massive amounts of data. This data replaces manual tracking of the tools, which cut manual work by 50{8a27014bcb7e26651630aaac013b08cb740444db397c7ebd7041955bf8eed5b9}.

The radio product factory now has the capacity to sustain connections among a huge amount of sensors, providing Ericsson with critical data about the screwdrivers. With such large-scale sensor deployment, other manufacturers will begin implementing human-robot collaboration and collaborative robotics to streamline factory operations.

5G In The Cloud

As these robots become more sophisticated, adapting in real-time, they will require large amounts of processing data that one machine simply cannot maintain. 5G-enabled cloud robotics provide the solution, putting systems intelligence in the cloud that’s connected to robots on the ground. The network provides critical technology to maintain constant internet connectivity, remote computing, storage, data resources, data-driven intelligence, strong cybersecurity and support for a large fleet of robots. In future hospitals, for example, the cloud will act as a central “brain,” managing collaborative robots to guide patients or deliver medicines as a fleet of machines.

How 5G Is Transforming Real-Time Location Services

5G technology is also poised to transform real-time location services (RTLS) using a single simplified infrastructure to improve accuracy. 5G positioning can pinpoint the exact floor and location of a phone to the centimeter within a high-rise building, for example. This technology has the potential to not only significantly lower the overall infrastructure cost but could also open doors to a plethora of new geo-information applications.

Current applications of the technology involve asset tracking. In connected digital mining, autonomous mining vehicles and drills can be tagged and monitored from a remote location. But it’s predicted that 5G positioning will take it a step further, proliferating into indoor environments beginning in 2023. The network’s precise locating ability enables machines to be tracked or controlled as they move about on an indoor factory floor, which has the potential to completely transform the industrial and warehousing applications market.

The Challenges Of 5G Implementation

Global implementation of 5G technology still faces great challenges. Building the infrastructure to support 5G requires massive capital investment. 5G can’t be powered using 4G-LTE’s mechanics and, therefore, requires a complete overhaul of existing base stations, the construction of smaller and cooler towers and the laying of networks of fiber optic cables that connects them.

Moreover, some critics argue that the vision that 5G sold to enterprises and consumers is far-fetched. In fact, several years into 5G’s transition, there are still several unresolved issues, with some consumers questioning the true added value of the new network. Nevertheless, the transition to 5G is the only sustainable long-term solution due to the low maintenance costs in comparison to 4G-LTE.

The Future Of 5G

5G enthusiasts, however, understand infrastructure costs are a small price to pay in comparison to the massive potential that 5G-powered innovation holds in transforming our world. The network is positioned to set forth a full-scale deployment of low-latency, massive IoT throughout practically every industry. Enterprises will experience large-scale process automation with the advent of massive machine-type communication (mMTC), mobile robotics and cloud robotics, to name a few.

The platform will also reshape the consumer experience of electronic goods, unlocking a new era in mobile videos and introducing massive growth in IoT and smart devices, as well as greater AR/VR capabilities. Global 5G implementation requires a complete overhaul of communications infrastructure, but the revolution 5G promises far outweighs its obstacles.


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