The key benefit of 5G is more than making the internet faster, it’s making it dependable for large numbers of users, which brings forth the importance of data quality and reliability.
The main premise is that today’s 5G networks will power tomorrow’s digitized economies and societies. What are examples of how 5G will enable a better future? For this, I reached out to Samer Geissah, director, technology strategy and architecture at TELUS. Samer has been helping lead TELUS’ Worker Safety initiatives leveraging 5G.
Brian Clendenin: TELUS and Google Cloud Platform (GCP) announced a collaboration agreement on 5G and Edge Computing. Why did TELUS choose GCP and vice versa?
Samer Geissah: Google Cloud strives to innovate, and is known for its commitment to security and technology progressiveness. Our strategic partnership with Google Cloud is mutually beneficial and together we’re leveraging our networks, technology and excellent customer service, to deliver great outcomes as a collective team. We already had such a successful relationship with Google Cloud including our integration to using Google Workspace and moving IT workloads to Google Cloud, and this partnership was a natural continuation of that collaboration.
Our partnership is also accelerating our transformation journey from a Canadian telco to a global technology company, providing innovative technology solutions for some of the world’s most pressing challenges and powering the Canadian economy. More importantly, Google Cloud shares our commitment to harness the power of technology to drive meaningful change across various sectors including health, agriculture, home technology, sustainability, and connectivity. Our network and partnership with Google Cloud will support carbon avoidance and our transition to a sustainable future, including by enabling other businesses to take their workforce virtual, leading to fewer offices using energy and fewer commuters on the road. In fact, mobile technologies have the potential to address 23 per cent of Canada’s total 2030 emission reduction target by 2025 (According to an Accenture report).
Brian: How does TELUS see 5G impacting the world? Is this just another generation of telecom standards? How does TELUS see this technology supporting its social purpose engagement?
Samer: As 5G evolves in waves of capabilities, it is bringing amazing speeds, capacity and responsiveness, with its power to move huge amounts of data and connect more devices than previous network technology. 5G isn’t just another generation of telecom standards, rather it’s an opportunity to use our network to bridge digital divides and drive innovation across businesses, government, healthcare, education and social pursuits.
5G is enabling technologies like multi-access edge computing (MEC) and Internet of Things (IoT), which are powering important advances across multiple industries. Many of these 5G solutions can be used to optimize energy consumption, reduce food waste, connect patients to critical healthcare services in real-time and power intelligent transport systems, all of which are helping us to deliver on our social purpose and make life better for Canadians.
Brian: How are Google Cloud’s Edge Capabilities combining with TELUS to solve real customer problems? Any examples?
Samer: Through this partnership, Google Cloud has become one of TELUS’ key partners in a large ecosystem of cloud vendors in the delivery of 5G services and Multi-Access Edge Computing. We are leveraging Google Cloud’s managed application platform, Anthos, which is extending Google Cloud services and engineering practices to the TELUS’ environments, allowing us to modernize apps faster and establish operational consistency across them.
For example, together with Google Cloud, we have been leveraging 5G-powered MEC solutions to develop a workers’ safety application in our Edmonton Data Center that enables on-premise video analytics cameras to screen manufacturing facilities and ensure compliance with safety requirements to operate heavy-duty machinery.
This links in with CCTV (closed-circuit television) cameras that detect worker proximity and helps avoid collisions. If a worker’s hand is close to a drill, that drill press will not bore holes in any surface until the video analytics camera detects that the worker’s hand has been removed from the safety zone area.
One thing to note on the Worker Safety use case is that all video analytics follow our Security, Resiliency and Privacy by Design principles. The intent of this solution is to provide an immediate decision, such as disconnection of a circuit, if a worker is at risk. No data is stored in the cloud, it is solely analyzed on the spot and can be stored locally for businesses to conduct safety reviews and learning, if required by the customer.
Brian: Worker safety is a great example of how TELUS and Google Cloud can make a tangible impact to create a smarter and safer city – what other ways is this partnership adding value?
Samer: The reason why this technology to improve worker safety presents such a great opportunity is that companies across industries still rely on maintenance-heavy on-premises systems to manage core computing tasks. But, with cloud capabilities delivered at the edge of our 5G network, we open a new world of possibilities for them.
For example, we have also partnered with Google Cloud and Picacity (formerly NXN Digital) to deliver the next-generation of sustainable, efficient and secure Internet of Things (IoT) technologies to businesses, communities, and their residents through an integrated ecosystem of smart city solutions. From dynamic traffic signaling that reduces congestion and emissions, to data analytics that create smarter, more efficient city planning, this innovative partnership is helping us transform the way municipalities operate in our increasingly digital world.
Through our collaboration with Google Cloud for our Workstyles program, our teams are also able to leverage things like Google Chat, Meet, and Drive to collaborate virtually from wherever they are, saving time on the road, reducing traffic, and cutting emissions.
Brian: Beyond worker safety, what are some of the other ways industry can use 5G to make their business safer or more efficient?
Samer: Our plan is to deploy Anthos clusters on bare metal to our customers across Canada to take advantage of our existing enterprise infrastructure, making it possible for us to run our solution closer to partners and eventually enable just one millisecond of latency.
At that point, we’ll be able to power new use cases that require near real-time feedback, leaving absolutely no room for error. This could include remote surgery, platooning of fleets on autonomous vehicles, and many other cellular vehicle-to-everything (V2X) solutions that require high-speed communication for platform operators to manage remote edge fleets in far-away places.
As 5G continues to advance in waves of capabilities, we are also helping power advances in health, agriculture, energy, transportation, and manufacturing solutions that can have real-world impacts to optimize energy consumption, reduce food waste, connect patients to critical healthcare services in real-time and power intelligent transport systems. These use cases are already becoming a reality, but the continued evolution of 5G will enable further enhancements like dynamic network slicing capabilities to solve key societal challenges.
Brian: Are there opportunities for these use cases to be productized? Any other examples?
Samer: There is a great opportunity for these use cases to be productized, and we are currently working on the development of the worker safety use case to be available to businesses in the future. Right now we are working with our own data management team to implement the solution in-house and be able to provide some insights and statistics to support the deployment so our customers know what to expect with this solution.
The true benefit of Google Cloud and TELUS working together is leveraging the 5G network we have to create solutions that truly improve the livelihood and well-being of Canadians. With our Worker Safety use case, all of the conditions in the model are programmable, meaning the solution can be replicated at scale in a variety of scenarios other than in a factory setting. The actions in response to the analysis are also programmable, which means companies can use this technology to look at workers’ conditions and decide the best course of action to educate, assist, and protect them. This really is a customizable solution that can meet various business needs.
The same applies to consumer related challenges. 5G unlocks new connectivity solutions that can help consumers solve some of their challenges. 5G Wireless High Speed Internet Access would be a great solution for communities where our PureFiber solutions do not yet reach. Enhanced low latency connectivity will empower VR/XR solutions in gaming and entertainment that will unlock a great list of use cases in Gaming and Entertainment.