Will 5G technology really revolutionize your company? The experts gathered by the Valencia 5G Revolution Forum within the Vodafone Business University Program are convinced of this and demonstrated it with their success stories that have already become a reality. As a prelude to the day, the first deployment of drones in urban airspace controlled and coordinated by this 5G connectivity was carried out.
welcome to the future
With these words, Jesús Suso —Territorial Director of the Vodafone Business Valencian Community— presented the 5G Forum, adding that that same day he had been surprised, despite his experience in telecommunications, of what is already being done with 5G: “this morning we have been in Benidorm and we have made the world’s first flight of a drone in an urban area piloted entirely by the 5G network, with all the security parameters and the possibilities that this entails”.
Vision, Immediacy, Capacity
To continue delving into the technology and its uses, Daniel Jiménez —General Director of Vodafone Business Spain— took the stage and compared 5G technology with Quantum computing. According to Jiménez, both technologies will come together at some point in the near future, perhaps giving rise to a 10G network. He is convinced that quantum physics and computing resemble 5G in three respects. The first is the common vision: “it is about breaking the previous paradigm and exponentially providing many more possibilities to the systems we have”; the second is speed : “quantum computing wants to solve 10,000-year problems in seconds and we at 5G want to solve in milliseconds transmitting information that used to take minutes”; YFinally, the effects of this immediacy: “ we are seeing that immediacy is changing many applications, medicine, drones…”
Never before has a technology grown so fast
After the introduction, it was the turn of Beatriz Fernández —Innovation Manager at Vodafone Group— who has witnessed the first trials and has participated in multiple innovative 5G experiences. BetarizHe broke down the steps that 5G technology has taken to become the reality that it is today and how its different milestones have been. Back in 2015 the first 5G chipsets began to appear but, according to Beatriz, “the terminals were authentic washing machines, with wheels, but washing machines” and today they are normal terminals. The evolution has been quite fast thanks to the fact that in March 2017 the standardization gurus decided to advance it a year and the first call could be made. When we repeated the call with a smartphone, you could already choose between multiple manufacturers.
Countries like China already have 120 million customers on their 5G network and for Beatriz Fernández, as soon as the mid-range terminals arrive, around €300, it will be the new boom. And it is expected that by the end of this year they will already be on the market.
Not only the users will have to change terminals, for the operators there have also been many necessary changes such as “acquiring a new spectrum, the rights, changing the little boxes, adapting the transmission —says Fernández— and of course a new software. We have been the first, we continue to innovate”.
The keys to 5G explained with simple examples
When explaining how it works and why its benefits increase, Beatriz Fernández made a comparison with a road. “4G is like two lanes, in 5G it is 100 lanes. This increases the capacity x 4”. We also changed the radio. “Imagine that I am a light bulb and I illuminate everyone equally, but I lose energy from behind or from other areas. And other light bulbs interfere with me.” —She demonstrated with a powerful flashlight— “What does 5G do? They are going to be beams that are going to follow users. They move with it and can adapt it to their needs.” This directionality of the signal achieves that there is no interference and increases the capacity again by 4.
The next feature he explained was what is known as Network Slicing , that is, being able to give everyone what they need. It’s like a travel agency that had a closed package and now you take the package according to your needs and adaptability, choosing each part of the tour.
Another of the most immediate applications will be in connected vehicles and not only autonomous , but those that already install driving assistance systems. Thanks to the immediacy of the almost non-existent latency: “the reaction of a human is 300 ms and in 5G we speak latencies of 2-3 ms, while you have not started to react to an unforeseen event, the car has already spoken to the traffic light, with the car next door, with the police… and you haven’t even noticed”.
A race led from home
Carlos Becker —Director of Large Companies and Public Administrations of Vodafone Business— revealed that Vodafone has the network development center for the whole world in Spain, and that allows us to carry out tests and real cases first. “This is happening and you have to have the illusion and zero fear. You have to have the ideas for it to go ahead.” With these words, he encouraged the attendees to participate in the business developments and new applications that 5G already allows and in which co-creation will be essential. And Becker insists that it is already happening “It is the first time that customers call us to inquire about a new product or service.”
5G is already an operational reality in Europe. Especially in Spain where there is already network coverage in the main cities.
The initial case was made in the UK with the first holographic call in which a female Manchester City fan was able to talk to her favorite player. Then came the connected, autonomous tractor with a drone that controls what it is doing (smart farming).
Germany is the great autonomous car laboratory. And everything around to make it work. It has created a mobility hub that tries to see all the dilemmas when moving around a city, from elevation changes, passing ambulances or any accident.
In Italy, rehabilitation is already being carried out by VR and in Spain , in collaboration with red.es, 32 use cases are being developed with 29 clients and 11 Administrations in the largest 5G innovation ecosystem that exists. The important thing about this project is the co-creation to know the usefulness in each use case: “For the Digital Agenda it was necessary to demonstrate that it was essential beyond a case”, explains Carlos Becker.
The role of operators
5G changes business models. Now the operator enters management models and shared deployment. He must face the challenges of frequencies, manage sites, something he already knows how to do, but it is a change of model. “The operators are not going to be pure traffic, we have the opportunity to provide services on the network itself,” Becker anticipates. Sell IoT connections with guaranteed capabilities. See how we make the network a platform for developers to bring applications to their businesses”.
Closing the event, we listened to Enrique Martín —Director of Business Development and Innovation for companies at Samsung— for whom 5g closes the cycle of the three great limits: electronics that “for Apollo XII they needed several rooms and today this device far exceeds that ability”. Thus, for him electronics ceases to be a problem. The second, the cloud: “The costs you needed did not allow you to set up a company and today with €100 you can start with everything in the cloud and development is not a cost”. Now, for Martín, 5G completes the limit of the network: “it eliminates the delay, the things that you could connect in one place, even a carpet, now you can afford it.”