5G networks hit the headlines during the past couple of years for various reasons – from technological issues that threatened to ground aviation to a certain vaccine controversy that we all want to forget ever happening. What news outlets failed to mention is that 5G can significantly speed up not only our internet connection but also the integration of smart city technologies. Let’s talk about 5G and the technological opportunities it brings to the table!
What is 5G?
5G is the 5th generation mobile network, a wireless standard that is created to connect devices at higher multi-Gbps peak data speeds. It is more reliable, with higher availability, lower latency, and with better experience for its users. This new technology will bring together people, devices, even whole industries at scale. With its improved capabilities (compared to previous Gs), it can make everyday life easier in many, sometimes imperceptible ways.
As calculated by Qualcomm, 5G will be a driver for change in all the right ways:
• $13.1 Trillion dollars of global economic output
• $22.8 Million new jobs created
• $265B global 5G CAPEX and R&D annually over the next 15 years
How will 5G impact smart city technologies?
There are numerous ways that this groundbreaking technology could aid in the distribution of smart city solutions across the globe. With its higher data rates, high connection density, and low latency, 5G can help their integration for maximum impact on societies in a shorter time span. Its implementation will enable IoT networks to operate more efficiently (low power consumption, low cost, and using low-frequency spectrum bands), and dramatically improve the reliability of the systems’ communication.
Here are three ways in which 5G will help cities thrive!
Smart Urban Mobility
Transit services in most large cities are already reliant on some form of smart technology – be it automatic fare collection, CAD/AVL or RTPI, their riders expect timely services and timely information. During the pandemic, distancing, crowd control and contactless payments became a necessity and many transit agencies invested in solutions like mobile ticketing to enhance their safety protocols.
As COVID-19 continues to dictate many of our daily activities, transit authorities are trying to balance the increase in the number of riders to pre-pandemic levels with their safety. Integrating 5G and IoT into the mix can help deliver information better, but also is a prerequisite for the implementation of MaaS solutions that offer an enhanced urban mobility experience. Better connectivity will allow people to choose from a variety of transit options in real time via their smartphones, avoid vehicles that are overpacked and choose the best times to travel.
Intelligent Traffic Systems
In the case of intelligent traffic systems (ITS), 5G will be an indispensable and long-awaited upgrade. Its enhanced bandwidth will allow the constant streaming of higher quality video from traffic cameras for real-time analysis. The results can dramatically improve the performance of these systems and even create new uses for them.
Another area that will be impacted is smart poles. While city lighting does not need 5G to operate, smart poles can serve an effective dual function – as lighting poles and 5G transmitters. Depending on the city, smart sensors can be mounted to the poles increasing the strength of the IoT system and all of its uses: air monitoring, temperature sensors, etc. 5G transmitters will be crucial for many more use cases such as autonomous vehicles, too. CCTV monitoring is becoming more and more important to city authorities in the fight against crime and during emergencies. As cameras require large bandwidth to send real-time footage, smart poles with 5G transmitters are a welcome enhancement to existing systems.
These are only some of the applications of the 5G technology – smart buildings, remote working/education, smart metering, and smart waste collection can be added to this list, and we are sure that it will keep growing as the standard rolls out and more use cases are discovered.
What stands in the way of 5G?
As good as it sounds, this utopia of a hyperconnected city is still in the making. The rollout of 5G has been met with a mix of euphoria and distrust, and in an environment of social fragmentation largely driven by misinformation, some cities are finding it difficult to balance 5G’s potential for technological advancement with public opinion. For the aviation industry, there were clearly some compromises that needed to be made. But in other cases, red tape and scientifically unsound activism still stand in the way.
To move to the next step, cities need to act decisively – a smart city is an interconnected one and smaller, local tests are simply not cutting it.
How can we help?
We at Telelink City are committed to working with cities to create their best possible versions. Our smart pole offering can be tailored to the needs of cities of all sizes, so no one is left behind in the race towards the future. If you need a consultation – contact us and we will work together to bring your city up to speed!