In Part 1 of the 2-part blog series “5G in 2021 & The Rise of the Machines”, a high-level discussion of the wireless connectivity trends is provided, along with a glimpse into how wireless standard convergence is a likely outcome to the drive toward unbridled wireless connectivity. This blog will close the loop and finish the discussion of these trends, with highlights on the progress and potential impact of the Industrial Internet-of-Things (IIoT), vehicle-to-everything (V2X) communications, connecting everything else, and how we can seize the opportunity of a new paradigm of connectivity.
IIoT Continues to Blossom
Though IIoT applications have existed for a few decades already, there has recently been substantial efforts in the factory automation, industrial robotics, and building automation sectors to connect sensors and actuators more effectively at the edge. Upcoming 5G standards are being built around two core concepts essential for modern industrial automation technologies, ultra-reliable low-latency communication (URLLC) and massive machine-type communication (mMTC). With URLLC and MMTC features built into communication standards, wireless connectivity solutions should be more readily available for industrial applications that have historically relied on wired communications or highly proprietary and limited scope wireless solutions.
Though these emerging 5G standards are not yet realized and deployed, the underlying strategy looks poised to aid an explosion of wireless connectivity solutions in industrial spaces. One of the key components of the future 5G standards is the proposed ability to connect a multitude of disparate wireless nodes, each with their own distinct bandwidth, frequency, data rate, power, and timing considerations. Typically, connecting these volumes and diversity of industrial sensors and actuators requires numerous gateways that operate with different standards and often present undesirable characteristics for creating a single seamless network of industrial nodes.
The other consideration is the management and minimization of latency in communication between machines (point-to-point) and between machines and the industrial networking infrastructure. Eliminating the delay introduced by gateways and communication standards translation, as well as minimizing the latency within the network itself, is hoped to result in machines that can autonomously communicate at the rate of production, enhancing efficiency, safety, and reliability.
V2X Is Inevitable
Similar to the transformation that 5G is enabling for industrial machines, consumer and transportation logistic vehicles are also being augmented to benefit from a new regime of wireless communications. For vehicles, 5G is being sought to enable autonomous driving, to enhance the user experience within the vehicle with entertainment and safety features, as well as to increase the efficiency of vehicles interacting with traffic, charging/refueling, and other infrastructure. One such use case is for 5G to facilitate point-to-point communication amongst autonomous vehicles to ensure safe and efficient traffic management. Other use cases include communication from traffic infrastructure to vehicles to manage traffic more efficiently, possibly even preventing traffic jams and delays on high use roadways.
With the ever-increasing pace of consumer vehicle electrification, it is only a matter of time before everyday vehicles are automated and the wireless communication infrastructure exists to make commuting, ridesharing, and deliveries a seamless cloud-driven experience.
The Magic Behind the Rise of 5G Machine Tech
There has long been an information and communication technology divide between urban areas and rural areas. This divide is exacerbated as there is also an underlying technology deficit in poorer areas within impoverished metropolitan areas and in rural communities around the world. The digital divide is also now a divide in the quality of medical care, social services, and economic opportunities for billions.
There is a concerted effort by the massive internet companies to bridge these gaps and provide affordable, fast, and reliable internet services to even the most remote communications. Among these efforts are mega-satellite constellations now dotting the sky, increased government effort to bring fiber internet to more remote communities, and wireless standards able to transmit useful internet connections to homes over miles of distance. There are also grass-roots efforts within underserved communities of building their own networking infrastructure.
5G technology is being seen as a backbone tool to connect even the most distant people and machines, which may be stationary or mobile, to the global internet. It is increasingly being determined by governments of developed nations that internet service is a right. This view has been strengthened by the ongoing global pandemic, as there have been many children unable to receive schooling and working age people unable to work from home. This is where 5G home internet services may provide last-mile service for high-speed internet, where cost barriers would otherwise prevent certain communities from having access.
Moreover, SARS-COVID 19 has accelerated healthcare providers developing telehealth programs, and 5G IoT could completely reinvent the way healthcare is delivered. Examples include 5G wearables that continuously monitor sensory processing devices that can help patients achieve wellness, independence, and decreasing healthcare costs.
Seizing the IoT-5G Opportunity & Making the Net Work
To harness the potential of 5G and unleash the greatest value from “The Rise of the 5G Machines” telecommunications operators and device manufacturers may need to look at the world with a new lens. By breaking away with established patterns of thought, we can start to see ahead to the emerging technological revolution.
This is only one challenge on the road to 5G’s new normal of connectivity, the other challenge is overcoming the RF roadblocks at the heart of every 5G solution. APITech’s thinking framework is the first step to understand how to connect and address these RF challenges and to enable the rise of 5G machines. “Mobile wireless network reshaping is being driven by new applications, cloud scalability IoT automation. APITech is here to help address the challenges of reshaping RF connectivity.”
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