This past week the 5G Techritory event was held in Riga, Latvia, and brought together leading experts on 5G tech. The event focused on how the Baltic Sea region can co-operate to not only implement 5G, but to also find plausible business cases for them.
What is 5G?
5G is commonly considered to be the next in line to provide faster internet. When in reality, it offers so much more. 5G allows for a few main things, including:
- Less data transmission latency;
- Increased data sending speed;
- The ability to connect more devices;
- Connectivity in border areas’
- Energy efficiency and device maintenance cost reduction, and more.
As a result, the 5G network will allow for creating ultra connectivity between devices and is being called the 4th industrial revolution (the first being steam power, the second – production lines, the third – the information revolution). The end result will be the creation of a sort of “digital nervous system”, as it was aptly put by Lorenzo Pengo, CEE Health Lead at Microsoft.
What does it mean for business?
The use cases are endless. Many of them, altruistic in nature. The event focused on three industries; smart mobility, health care, and smart cities.
Take, smart mobility, for example. When there is a multitude of sensors conveying data about roads, and when cars are able to receive this data, 5G comes in bringing along an increased opportunity for road safety. One interesting use case could be emergency aid vehicles. When an ambulance needs to quickly get through, the signal will already be transferred to all other cars on the road, prompting them to give way, even before the human passengers notice them.
The advent of 5G technology will mean that telehealth care will become possible. Healthcare institutions can prescribe the necessary treatment remotely using data from sensors – starting from preventative home exercises, to prescription drugs, which, incidentally, can also be delivered by drone to house-bound patients.
With increased sensors, smart cities will be able to decide which lamp posts to ignite when a pedestrian or car is headed in that direction, thereby saving on electricity. It can also be used to monitor in real-time air and water quality to make educated decisions about the investment of funds.
What does it mean for the Baltics?
A very tangible result that we’ll be seeing very soon is the Digital Baltic Road, which each of the Baltic states took upon themselves to implement through a signed memorandum at the event. The Digital Road will stretch from Finland through the Baltic states, to create a connected road infrastructure for transportation that has to quickly make its way through the region to Central Europe. It will produce a wave of green lights to ensure less stopping, fewer gas emissions, and a faster transportation time for time-sensitive produce, such as salmon. This is set to improve the exporting opportunities of the countries on the Digital Road, by offering new export opportunities. Just one of the many things that are made possible by 5G technologies.
Welcome to the future of 5G – the era or interconnectivity.
The conference was attended by major corporations, all in the process of preparing for 5G. From LMT, the Latvian teleco that has announced turning on 5G in Latvia as of January 2019, to Qualcomm that creates the chips, and Nokia, Intel and Cisco that are creating the network infrastructure to put it all together.
The event, in turn, was organized by governing bodies that are interested in seeing the speedy implementation of 5G in Europe, in order to take up a leadership position in 5G globally. Those governing bodies are the Electronic Communications Office of Latvia, as well as the European Commission, which has been actively supporting 5G all over Europe.
The common denominator throughout the entire event was that no one company, organization or government can successfully implement 5G on its own. It was heavily emphasized that cooperation is necessary, between borders, between corporations, and between governments. Since the name of the game is data sharing – we can no longer afford to be protectionist – we have to share, both knowledge, resources, and data.
The one question that was left unanswered was – who is going to pay for 5G? The expenses necessary to lay down the infrastructure – the sensors, the networks, the systems, the self-driving cars, drones and so much more. It will likely be an interesting combination of everyone involved footing a portion of the expenses, however, a full business case is not yet known.
About the Author
Julia Gifford is a Canadian-born tech enthusiast and writer. She has a passion for getting the word out about deserving Baltic startups. Connect with Julia on Twitter.