Trends & developments in digital society: 5G

Ubiquitous Digital Infrastructure

5G will be faster, smarter, more stable, and more secure than 4G. TNO is working intensively on this next generation of mobile technology, which will make an important contribution to solutions for major social challenges. For example, better healthcare, security services, more efficient food production, industry, and optimal public transport. This is what our society will look like with 5G.

5G in society

Better decision-making in the ambulance thanks to 5G

In an emergency, it is crucial to quickly assess the urgency and location for treating the patient. More and more ambulance services want to further improve this pre-hospital triage.

Thanks to a high-quality video, audio, and data connection with an ambulance, an ambulance medical manager or specialist can remotely observe, diagnose, and advise. This allows paramedic ambulance staff to make more efficient decisions and reduces the risk of patients being taken to a specialist hospital unnecessarily.

In the coming years, TNO will work together with its partners on the further development of this application in the 5G HEART project. For example, we are working on the development and application of TNO's 5GSP (pdf) (5G Service Platform) to be able to set up high-quality connections for ambulances in the 5G network.

Better quality with less labour in the agricultural sector thanks to 5G

Over the next 30 years, we will have to grow 70 per cent more food to feed the world's growing population. This can only be achieved through the use of new technologies. For example drones for crop inspection, a sensor network for water quality measurement, a hoeing robot, and cows with 5G collars. TNO is involved in many of these projects.

However, large-scale application of 5G technology is still pending. The deadlock has nothing to do with the technology itself, but with the fact that there is no global coverage yet in rural areas that are important for agriculture. To get 5G innovation off the ground with the major agricultural manufacturers, TNO is working on collaboration between various parties.

Avoiding a 5G implementation deadlock in the agriculture sector (pdf) (pdf)

5G ensures sufficient capacity for railways

Starting in 2030, global railway organisation UIC will switch to 5G. With the Future Railway Mobile Communication System (FRMCS), the rail sector will then have a future-proof communication infrastructure.

This transition poses considerable challenges. Should the rail sector set up its own 5G network? How do you make such a network reliable and secure? And what innovative business models are emerging thanks to 5G? Read more about the opportunities of 5G for railways in our report (pdf).

5G has much to offer the rail sector, such as optimal reliability and security for operational services. Thanks to gigabit communication services, travellers will benefit from a fast internet connection while travelling, and there will be optimal connectivity for on-board systems. Data collection through a variety of sensors will simplify equipment management and maintenance, while allowing accurate measurement of occupancy.

Collaboration between different stakeholders is essential to fully exploit the potential of 5G. That is why ProRail and TNO are working together on a 5G roadmap for the rail sector.

5G makes virtual reality even more realistic

5G will have a major impact on the roll-out of Virtual Reality (VR) applications. For example, TNO is researching '5G edge computing': servers that can quickly process and transmit data and images. This technology will continue to improve and optimise the VR experience in the coming years.

We will see more and more applications of 5G in the VR world, allowing for realistic, holographic images. Through VR or AR (Augmented Reality), two people can interact as if they were really together in a room. For example, TNO is doing pioneering research in the field of Social XR, linking VR or AR to a communication platform. In this way, even if a physical visit is not possible, the elderly can still maintain virtual contact, for example with family members.

The holographic connection can also be useful at work, for remote advice for example. If a machine breaks down in Taiwan, it can still be repaired quickly thanks to a holographic phone call with a remote expert.

Introducing the 5G Service Platform from TNO

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