Deeper Dive 5G: Making a Difference Right Now: Real World Examples of 5G (Episode 4)

With 5G still in the early days, it’s easy to dismiss it as just another generation in a technology evolution that began with 1G in the late 1970s. The reality, however, is that 5G has the power to change the way we live and work.

“The potential of 5G will be unleashed as it is deployed,” says Jim Love, CIO of ITWC. “Technologists and entrepreneurs will understand it better as they get at it.” 

Love joins Doug Sparkes, a lecturer at the Conrad School of Entrepreneurship and Business, as co-host of Deeper Dive: 5G Without the Hype, a 5-part podcast series created by ITWC and sponsored by Wipro. In episode 4: 5G in Practice, they share some real world examples of how 5G is making a difference right now.

What Early Adopters Have in Common

In summarizing the characteristics shared by early adopters of 5G, Sparkes says they come from areas that require high mobility, high data transfer rates, multiple device capabilities, and low latency to allow for real-time applications. “One area receiving a lot of attention is intelligent manufacturing,” he adds. 

Love points to ArgriTech as another sector taking advantage of 5G, citing use cases that range from automated greenhouse operations to large acreage farms. “The adoption in this sector may be slow due to the focus on deployment in urban areas,” he says, “but the increasing use of sensors, autonomous vehicles, drones, and vision enabled robotics could make 5G private networks very attractive.”

Positive Use Cases

Both Sparkes and Love deliver on the promise in this podcast’s title by highlighting examples of 5G use cases in agriculture. 

  • A pilot project in Switzerland that integrates has farm machinery, drones, irrigation management, environmental sensors, and livestock tracking into a network;
  • A project in China by China Telecom that is working toward integrating AI, Big Data, and cloud computing into rural agriculture through a 5G backbone. 

They also draw positive examples from the healthcare sector, where Sparkes envisions huge benefits from 5G – especially in the area of telemedicine. Describing a new telemedicine service that does multiple, daily check-ins for people in Waterloo, Ontario who are isolated at home with COVID-19, he says the advantages are obvious. Not only does telemedicine lighten the load for doctors and hospitals, but it also allows for early intervention if the patient’s condition worsens. Although this service is not yet 5G based, deployment could result in rapid expansion of this and similar programs.

The Perfect Storm for Innovation

From Love’s perspective, the pandemic could be medicine’s transformational event. “Combine this with other drivers – like increasing costs, an aging population, personalized medicine, AI, wearable technology, and a greater focus on prevention, and it’s cheaper to prevent a chronic condition to treat it,” he explains. “This creates an environment ripe for innovation, and sets the perfect storm for telemedicine to advance quickly.”

The key takeaway from this podcast is that positive use cases are instrumental in helping sectors navigate the hype of 5G and recognize the potential for their particular operations. If this rings a bell for listeners who tuned in for segment 3 of the podcast series, there’s a good reason. Love and Sparkes have cleverly segued back to Gartner’s Hype Cycle, and the predictable progression of 5G.

If you enjoyed episode four, and would like to hear more about 5G’s future as a  game changer, tune in to 5G Gets Real, the final segment of Deeper Dive: 5G Without the Hype.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Suzanne Robicheau
Suzanne Robicheau
Suzanne Robicheau is a communications specialist based in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, where working remotely continues to fuel her passion for new mobile technologies -- especially on snowy days.

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