A New World Order or Just Another Expensive Mobile Phone?
In just under 40 years, mobile phones and devices have moved to the center stage of our lives. From an unattractive heavy brick with a gangster wanted price on it to own one. This once novelty item has moved from black and white to colour.
From 30 names held on a phone, to storing everything up in the mighty Cloud. From a device weighing an arm busting 2 kilos, 14-hour charging time for 30 minutes’ worth of calls, and only within the M25. Mobiles now weigh in 200 grams, come with unlimited Data, minutes and texts, you can now call 180 countries straight off the bat, and all whilst sitting at a picnic table in the middle of Glen Coe Scotland. That’s progress for you.
The very first mobile phone call I ever made was in London, it was a cold winters day in 1992. I made my call and as luck would have it, they were not in. Much like anything else within its early days of development, the speed of change with mobile communication has been blistering. Flight, cars, motorcycles, cameras all saw huge changes in their start-up years but, technology loves a challenge and when it has commercial application, its development goes on steroids.
I was happy enough with making a call from a bus or out in the street; that untethered feeling of being able to make contact at any time was amazing. Between my home and the office I could communicate, I could do more business and all with a screen half the size of a matchbox. My present-day mobile has more computing power than the Apollo Mission computers. I am more than satisfied with the mobile I have. Do I need anything more? I don’t believe so. But, new tech alert! 5G (Fifth generation mobile networks) is about to launch.
We have been promised Rocket Jet Packs to get us to work and that we’d be living on Mars by 1987. So is the future of 5G network really going to be a new world order, or just another price hike, for another expensive mobile phone?
The Benefits of 5G Communication
In a period of time defined by the acceleration of change, enabled by a growing technology, the future of 5G5G is a new dawn. The short version and without the hype: 5G networks will be a huge step up as regards to mobile and internet connectivity. It is a system that will offer much more reliable connections, considerably faster speeds, a better mobile device battery life, greater bandwidth with much higher resolution, lower latency (I had to look that one up – it means your kit and connection will be super optimised to process huge amounts of data information with the minimum of delay). And 5G networks will reduce network energy usage by up to 90%, so very eco-friendly.
The dramatic image of a digital world is often of a system going murderously wrong and out of control. A blend of iRobot and the Terminator, all rolled in together; man somehow lets the machine take over. But before we settle for such a dystopian viewpoint, there are many areas in life where a 5G mobile ecosystem could have a considerable impact for the betterment of humankind. At its core is its ability to connect everybody to the infrastructure of everything.
Toys and mobile phones are always the consumers first experience of new tech. Remember watching the download bar limp across the top of a smartphone? No more. 5G Data transfer speeds, up to 1000 times faster than what is currently possible with 4G have been quoted, so a high-definition movie for example that would download on 4G in 10 minutes, on a 5G Network – 10 seconds.
Drones may finally give up their Xmas present status and see their potential fully realized. At present, drones are restricted in their usage to visual line of sight, (Air Navigation Order 2016 (ANO) 5G could allow for extended commercial long-range flight control. By connecting to 5G, it would improve their performance, battery life, payload, and controls. As a test, drones have been deployed by fire and rescue services in areas of poor atmospheric conditions to reduce dust, helping to create pollution control zones in some countries, where exhaust from diesel engines, factories or utility plants are less regulated. 5G could see this kind of work potential expand.
The future of 5G5G – Watching the world doesn’t catch on Fire
88 people lost their lives, more than 200 people are missing. 250,000 people were forced to flee their homes in the face of 2018 California fires. It is has been described as the deadliest fire ever to happen in the State’s history. Not just because of the loss of life, but some 1,893,913 acres were burned. And 10,000 structures were destroyed. It is the largest amount of land lost to fire. The fires caused an estimated $3.5 billion worth of damages and it cost nearly $2 billion to put out. There are some fire protection systems in place, some high tech, some like the Smokey the bear, a great signpost to warn about the potential conditions for wildfires.
But imagine if it were possible to detect and collect the necessary potential fire information all that much faster? 5G powered antennas, activated by a rise in temperature, with the information gathered, then the fire and rescue services could send helicopters with suitable retardants all that much quicker to put the fire out and to save lives.
VR (virtual reality) and AR (augmented reality) technology
Next, on the bucket list of toys VR and AR are really going to provide for a truly immersive entertainment experience thanks to 5G enabled systems. VR headsets and sports will upgrade in a big way so that fans can feel the ‘live game’ as it happens. Or in gaming, superfast live-streaming of virtual worlds, that will really make you feel like you are on the planet Mars.
It won’t just be Saturday football and shoot-em-up games that will gain. AR tools in the workplace are likely to become much more collaborative. Imagine offices in different parts of the world using virtual conference center platforms – a shared online environment with the use of virtual whiteboards overlaid with real-world objects, that enable the sharing of information and ideas could increase the team’s performance by creating things together.
Going further, by connecting VR and AR up to AI (artificial intelligence, sometimes called machine intelligence). If you get past the idea of just virtual assistants like SIRI and CORTANA loading up your music for you whilst you’re in the shower, what is the real value to unlock here? Perhaps you could don a VR helmet and go into a virtual shopping mall, feel your hand actually pick up something and put it in your trolley! That would save you going into town and that would certainly cut pollution.
Developments like Google’s machine learning-enabled microscope could present new unfound horizons for global health, with a leap forward in the detection of cancerous tumour growths, or in the diagnosis of infectious diseases, tuberculosis and malaria, the latter of which is on the increase in some developing countries, due to climate change.
‘Smart Cities’ and The Internet of Things (IoT).
Sci-fi terms used to sell the dream of 5G architecture. It’s not just about smart billboards that deliver an advertising message personal to you as you walk by, nor is it just about sending you a text to buy some milk when the fridge is empty. 5G is more than that, it’s at the heart of how we operate on the planet, it’s for reducing life’s inefficiencies. It’s estimated that 70% of the world’s population will be living in cities by 2050. With that kind of urban growth, we are going to have to make some major changes in the way we live.
In such a busy world, imagine the potential congestion problems for emergency services, getting to the scene of an accident through such a dense metropolis? Using a ‘smart ambulance’, that is able to interrupt superfast traffic signalling, the driver and vehicle would understand how traffic and commuters are using our city space, thus open up pathways for the vehicle to get there in time.
The future of 5G Medical Healthcare
Is going to get a profound upgrade, when 5G comes online. From robotic arm surgery to the delivery of personalized medicine based on data provided by Wearables. This could provide logistic and cost efficiencies for our Health Service. Imagine a medical drone, flown to treat the patient located in a remote part of the world. Or perhaps the patient is trapped somewhere and cannot be physically reached. A surgeon, using a med-drone with robotic arms and enhanced vision can transport their expertise in real time and work on the patient remotely. With the current worldwide shortage of trained medical professionals, telemedical devices such as these may be the way forward.
5G and the Urban Environment
The world as you know it is warming up, CO2 is pushing the thermometer up and has been singled out as the main architect of climate change. Cities, whilst they represent just 2% of the worlds land mass, generate 70% of global emissions from two-thirds of the world’s energy use. The energy management application of 5G as to how we live in our homes, operate in buildings, could be run much more efficiently using IoT technology. All the services of water, gas, electricity, heating, digital, IoT platforms could provide us with up to the minute costs and comparisons, through much faster data capture and monitoring we’ll able to save energy and reduce running costs.
Baby, You Can Drive My Car
1.25 million people die every year as a direct result of road traffic accidents, according to the World Health Organization. Motor vehicles and roads are dangerous places for humans to be on and around them. Vehicular 5G could be the giant leap forward needed to eliminate some of the unsafe outcomes caused by human-drivers.
Just as you are reading this article 250,000 miles in and around London, has been mapped in preparation for self-driving cars. Buildings, roads, the shop on the corner, the plan is to gather all that information and more, build a digital world of smart maps and signs, every kind of obstacle, where there have been accidents and the different weather conditions that might affect the vehicle. There is also a need to set up a superfast vehicle to vehicle communication systems so that they to learn to avoid each other. Armed with all this information, the car can make a safe course correction in a split second.
This is where the future of 5G5G technology comes alive, autonomous driving could dramatically change the way we move around our cities, making travel safer for both pedestrians, drivers and their passengers. It could reduce congestion and pollution through careful road planning. Imagine plugging the information into your car ‘find me a parking spot’ instead of driving around for ages, frustrated, causing a traffic jam, wasting your time, looking for a space? A 5G enabled car will drive you straight to the parking bay, as it will have pre-booked it for you.
Cities of the future could see an explosion of rideshare services, self-driving taxi’s, autonomous busses, lorries, and other vehicular services! With 5G behind the wheel, the world might be a safer place.
The future of 5G Communication
Is it possible that 5G can do all these wondrous things? Yes, and likely more when it’s all installed. You’ll see a few 5G bits come into the marketplace over the next couple of years, mostly toys. The real problem is that to install 5G is going to take a massive rethink of our present infrastructure and systems in place. It’s not going to be cheap either.
With the world being pushed to its present limits by climate change, an expanding human population and a finite water supply, the future of 5G could just be the technology that could bring about social, cultural, economic and healthcare changes on such a scale, that the new innovations are borne from it, ideas, not known to us now but when they do appear could inspire, push our curiosity into areas we never thought of before. So whilst some of the wonders described here are perhaps a few years off when they do arrive, wow, what a future world!