Multimedia Reporter

5G is fast becoming one of the most anticipated technologies for businesses and consumers alike. Touting wide coverage, high bandwidth, and low latency as its key features, various markets are eager to explore how they can utilize it in their respective industries.

Highlighting the technology, Huawei held its annual Asia-Pacific Innovation Day last September 3 at the Waldorf Astoria Chengdu in Sichuan Province, China. Experts discussed the progress of 5G development and deployment, its current applications, and its impact on industry and economy.

Taking strides

South Korea was the first country in the world to launch large-scale commercial services of 5G. Since it rolled out in early April this year, its 3 mobile carriers have amassed more than 2 million subscribers in total.

Carriers from North America and Europe have also been taking strides to commercialize 5G. Players like T-Mobile and Deutsche Telekom are working on setting up infrastructure and developing services for different markets.

In China, however, the development of 5G has established a strong foothold. On Huawei’s end alone, it has resulted in an investment of USD 4 billion since 2009. Construction of infrastructure is also going steady, with 5G networks set up in Chengdu, Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen

Across the pond, more than 50 commercial contracts have been inked with partners in the Asia-Pacific, the Americas, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. As a result, the company has shipped more than 200,000 5G modules hinging on Massive MIMO technology.

5G in the “real” world

Massive developments have given birth to several interesting applications. With speeds reaching as high as 1 Gbps, citizens are able to enjoy live broadcasts in 8K definition and cloud gaming (wherein games are accessed click-to-play on a cloud center and will no longer need to be installed on a device).

The serviceability of 5G goes beyond media and entertainment. For instance, remote ultrasound can be done between 2 doctors 100 kilometers away from each other, allowing them to inspect images at real time without any delay. This is greatly beneficial to rural areas which may not house the adequate and expert manpower in their hospitals.

5G may even be used for firefighting. Manually-operated drones that can break windows and release agents to help contain fires may be dispatched to burning buildings. This way, firefighters can do their jobs just as efficiently without having to endanger their own lives as well.

These are just some of various industries experimenting with 5G to help improve their operations. Others include transportation, energy, and environmental conservation.

An intelligent world

All of these innovations are working towards Huawei’s vision of an intelligent world. “In the intelligent world, all things can sense, and sensors will transform the physical world into digital signals,” said William Xu, Director of the Board for Huawei and President of the Institute of Strategic Research. “Networks will connect all things and all data will be online; and applications powered by big data and AI will make all things intelligent.”

The company has laid out specific goals for the next decade in this respect:

  • Increase communications, computing capabilities, and storage density by a factor of 100
  • Extend sensing capabilities so that they are 100 times better than a human’s sensory limitations
  • Achieve the fifth level of autonomous driving
  • Increase battery density of devices tenfold
  • Reduce the number of maintenance staff that telecoms operators require by 90%.

Through open innovation and inclusive development, Xu believes that such metrics are achievable.

“We will make this possible with initiatives like funding university research, building labs, and making technological investments along multiple paths. We need to consider industry challenges and academic insight, and also the confidence of venture capitalists to conduct joint innovations.”