Remote healthcare and self-management solutions for individuals, whether they have long-term conditions or not, have always been an attractive proposition to support bringing great care closer to home, and to offer more options for individuals to manage their own healthcare. With the advancements in connectivity through the introduction of 5G, these solutions only become more realistic, affordable, and suitable.
The Healthy Living Lab at the Westcott Innovation Centre provides a space for healthcare and technology providers to access the 5G network and co-create technology solutions in a real-world setting. With a range of fully connected vehicles, as well as Care Home and GP surgery environments, the Living Lab can be used to test the resilience and robustness of a connection over a range of networks, de-risking traditionally expensive processes for both healthcare and technology providers.
Healthcare is an area of focus for some of our 5G trials across Milton Keynes, demonstrating the possible uses of 5G to deliver a quicker or remote service to patients.
5G also has huge potential to better enable surgeons using operating robots by cutting latencies and allowing the remote use of robots from anywhere.
The communication between vehicles, especially for the emergency services, has been in development for many years. New advancements in autonomous vehicles has also been a technology focus, with the use of satellite navigation, in-car sensors and cameras, radar and lidar. 5G will provide improved ultra-low latency and ultra-high reliability that will take autonomous vehicles and vehicle communication to the next level, from assisted-driving to cooperative autonomous driving.
A great example of 5G in autonomous cars was demonstrated at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea. Hyundai and the Korean Telecom (KT) Corporation teamed up with Korea’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport to deploy a fleet of autonomous buses to ship guests around the Olympic Village. Buses were 5G-equipped, allowing them to access live information about their surroundings via the local high-speed network. Meanwhile, Hyundai used the Olympics as an opportunity to showcase its driverless Nexo SUV, the first autonomous electric vehicle to be powered with a fuel cell. In February 2018, the Nexo drove itself from Seoul to PyeongChang: a journey of nearly 130km.
During the past decade, the Internet of Things (IoT) has revolutionised ubiquitous computing with a multitude of applications built around different sensors. Vast amounts of activities are seen in IoT based product lines and this is expected to grow in the future.
With most of the issues at device and protocol levels solved during the past decade, there is now a growing trend in the integration of sensors and sensor-based systems with cyber-physical systems and device-to-device (D2D) communications. 5G and IoT are taking centre stage as devices are expected to form a major portion of this 5G network paradigm.
IoT technologies, e.g. machine-to-machine communication, complemented with intelligent data analytics are expected to drastically change the landscape of many industries. The emergence of cloud computing and its extension to fog paradigm with the proliferation of intelligent `smart’ devices is expected to lead to further innovation in IoT. Researchers, scientists, and engineers face emerging challenges in designing IoT based systems that can efficiently be integrated with the 5G wireless communications.
5G is set to pave the way for a new generation of robots, as it will be the first to wirelessly address the need of robotic applications rather than increasing data rates and expanding coverage like previous generations.
This ambitious standard, called IMT-2020 by the global regulators International Telecommunications Union (ITU) will accomplish this by completely revolutionising the way cellular networks are built, the devices they can connect with, the frequencies at which they operate, and the applications they serve.
Some 5G robots will be enabled to roam freely, controlled via wireless rather than wired communications links and exploit the vast computing and data storage resources of the cloud. Armed with these capabilities, robots can be precisely controlled dynamically in near real-time and be connected to people and machines locally and globally.
In short, 5G will fully enable applications such as the “factory of the future” and many, many others that were previously beyond the capabilities of both cellular and robotics technologies.