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Antti Kauppinen: New 5G technology makes everyday life safer and simpler

The biggest benefits of 5G will not be visible on your mobile phone screen but, in transport, energy production and emergency services, for example, wrotes Antti Kauppinen, CTO at Erillisverkot Group.
5G iot public safety

The debate over 5G technology remains focused on mobile phones and their applications; however, instead of gazing at the screens of our mobile phones, we should be looking at society on the whole. The benefits for citizens and consumers are primarily related to safe everyday life and well-functioning society.

Constantly evolving broadband technology allows authorities and public safety actors to take advantage of real-time video, augmented reality applications and artificial intelligence.

For example, police officers or rescuers may, in the future, receive additional information projected directly on their augmented reality glasses or visors. Does that sound like science fiction? It says something about the maturity of the technology that the U.S. Armed Forces and Microsoft recently signed a ten-year, $20 billion contract for the supply of more than 120,000 augmented reality wearables.

Platform for the operating society

By the end of the decade, the 5G network will be the platform on which our entire society functions.

Our dependence on technology involves both risks and opportunities. A good and concrete example of the significance of 5G technology to society is the development of transport. In the future, self-driving cars will need a 5G network to communicate with other vehicles and traffic infrastructure. If, for some reason, the network were not available, chaos would ensue. At higher driving speeds, disruptions can be dangerous.

Our dependence on technology involves both risks and opportunities.

Another sector that will benefit from 5G services is the energy sector. In the future, the power grid will consist of multiple sources of renewable energy. Households can be electricity producers, and electric cars can serve as energy buffers. Our energy production, which is rapidly becoming more complex, requires control automation and intelligence, and that can be achieved with 5G technology and artificial intelligence solutions.

Health technology is another field of application. In hospitals, as well as in home care, the state of health will be monitored at least partly via the network. The 5G network with its fast real-time connections enable the use of various sensors to monitor vital signs, for example. We are also seeing more and more care robots in places like nursing homes, which means human nursing staff can be directed to where their physical presence is essential for patient safety.

Public safety in progress to broadband

The biggest benefit of 5G technology for different public safety actors is not the ultra-high data transfer speed.

Some of the most important 5G applications are based on a distributed architecture. In such an architecture, the servers and services are located closer to the user than in the 4G architecture. In practical terms, this means a shorter delay between the server and the device using the wireless connection. The shorter delay benefits in particular autonomous and remotely controlled devices, as well as various solutions based on augmented reality.

Finland has been known as a world leader in the development of technologies that enable smooth and secure cooperation and communication between the various safety and security organisations. The Finnish public safety network “Virve” is going broadband as 4G and 5G service are taken into use.

This year will see a transition to a prioritised 4G service.

Earlier technologies had no prioritisation functions to ensure continued provision of safety and security services in the event of network congestion. This year will see a transition to a prioritised 4G service, which will significantly improve the situational awareness capabilities of safety and security services. They will have at their disposal a wireless system that works even in the event of network congestion.

Most important ict-project in Finland

The broadband Virve is Finland’s most important information and communication technology project in the 2020s in terms of citizens’ safety. Now that we can reliably verify the technical solutions, there are no boundaries with respect to developing future tools for the safety and security sector.

5G technology will have an impact on everyone’s life and will benefit us all; however, the most important thing will not be visible on the screens of our smartphones. The benefits of this new technology will be best appreciated, for example, when help reaches people more quickly at the moment of need.