While 5G is talked up at MWC, consider this IoT use case

by | Feb 27, 2018

Yes, internet of things (IoT) is where 5G’s biggest promise lies. 5G and IoT could together spawn a next generation of applications. While speed also gets a bumps-up, 5G isn’t about speed alone. After all, of what good is speed if there are not enough applications to make use of it!

Even ahead of the ongoing Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona this year, some 5G gear makers and operators had flashed their 5G or comparable offerings. These players demonstrated and talked up their 5G capabilities at the MWC itself.

As per a media release by networking gears maker Huawei, Vodafone became the first operator globally to test a 5G call. Huawei said it provided the equipment for the test network. The call was initiated on a 4G network and employed a test network comprising the 5G new radios.

Elsewhere, at the Winter Olympics in South Korea, mobile operator KT showcased perhaps the first large-scale test deployment of a 5G-speed technology. Intel and Ericsson gears were used for the deployment. Notably, KT is likely to launch a ‘5G network’ as early as next year.

What applications could a blend of 5G and IoT spawn?

Numerous IoT possibilities exist that could make effective use of 5G networks. For example, think of IoT applications that could trigger specific actions based on real-time surveillance data. In fact, 5G could give some real teeth to women-safety measures in the cities.

Consider a scenario where a person attempts to assault a woman in an urban alley. Earlier, a nearby surveillance camera would have just recorded that assault and the recording would have, at best, served as an evidence against the assaulter. With 5G, things could get radically dynamic. The surveillance camera not just records the incident but also sends the live data to an analytics server in real time. The server instantly recognizes the incident as an assault and triggers a siren attached to the surveillance camera at the spot of the crime. At the same time, the server also sends out the footage to the nearest police patrol as well as to the concerned police station.

While the siren alerts other people in the locality, it also acts as a deterrent for the assaulter. Most likely, it prompts him to leave the woman and run for his own safety. Even better, a profile of the assaulter is streamed to all the surveillance cameras so that the route on which he is fleeing could be traced. All relevant information is also shared with a surveillance drone. The drone now starts following the culprit while hovering over him persistently. This enables the police to zero in and apprehend the culprit in practically no time. Best, a potential assault on the woman gets averted.

The promises that 5G holds for IoT

It goes without saying that 5G promises a humongous data carrying capacity and a native ability to connect to a mesh of IoT-enabled devices. A massification of surveillance cameras, drones, etc. would make such applications possible.

5G use cases would be many, across different fields, industries, and demographies. Indeed, the industry would need to work in cohesion to build such references.

Businesses and governments ought to be constructing such use cases as per their focus segments and application areas. These, along with any existing case studies, would help chipset companies, gear makers, and app developer better align to the potential requirements.

South Korea’s KT has already talk about such an application that would protect farmers’ crops from rampages caused by streams of wild boars. The better recognized application areas include self-driving cars, delivery of goods using drones, and so on.