future view

What will your life look like in 5G?

12 October 2018 • 2 min reading time

A minor technological revolution – that is the promise of 5G. The network of the decade after 2020 will affect how our food is produced, how we live our social lives, and how we travel from A to B. TNO is helping to make these applications happen.

About once every ten years the world is introduced to a new generation of internet technology. Just as 3G made it possible to use the internet on a mobile phone, and 4G greatly improved the stability and speed of mobile data traffic, 5G is the next step in our digital future. Its social impact will be huge. Developments will accelerate rapidly, with some futuristic effects on society as we know it.

Agriculture and 5G

Sensors form an important part of 5G. Most of these sensors are almost invisible, but their impact will be seen everywhere. One of the sectors in which they already play a vital role is agriculture. In the past farmers would try to keep expanding tilled land or herd size, and were at the whim of the weather; today, sensors underground, on the land and in the air help them to continue maximizing yields.

“TNO has built the country’s first 5G network in Groningen”

With the motto Meten is weten (to measure is to know), TNO in Groningen has built the country’s first 5G network. In Groningen we use 5G for a variety of commercial applications, including agriculture. The low latency with which 5G sensor information can be delivered makes it possible to automate many processes in this and many other sectors, such as industry.

Virtual and augmented reality

Among other things, the application of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) will make it possible to watch a football game from the centre spot, to take part in a meeting from a remote location, and to visit your family – who may live at the other end of the country – from the comfort of your own sofa.

“In preparation for the 2020 European football championships, every country will have made one city 5G-ready”

If you want to use VR/AR to look at your surroundings and to communicate with others, you need photorealistic, ultra-high-definition moving images. The data processing requirements alone represent an enormous technical challenge. At the same time, any delay between turning your head and seeing the corresponding new images must be very short. The 5G standards that TNO helped to define in 3GPP, the pilots we are working on today and the policies we helped to develop have made this possible. The first 5G applications are already being seen; for instance, in preparation for the 2020 European football championships, every country will have made one city 5G-ready.

Making self-driving cars safer

Confidently handing over the steering to a self-driving car – whether you’re on a motorway, manoeuvring through busy city traffic, or searching for a parking place: this future scenario is getting closer all the time, provided vehicles can access the right information on time, networks do not get overloaded, and information exchanges are secure.

“We are working on innovations that will make self-driving cars better and safer”

5G plays a significant role in collecting information, and TNO is working on several innovations that will make self-driving cars better and safer. In Helmond we are running pilots to find out under which conditions a technology works or does not work. Because we included satellite communications in 5G standardization, we are also helping other countries, in which mobile network cover using terrestrial transmitters may not be adequate, to successfully introduce connected automatic driving.

This TNO project supports the following Sustainable Development Goals

Your life in 5G

Are you curious about the practical applications of 5G? Go to the website Life in 5G and discover how life might look in 5G.


Identifying high-risk factors for diseases while preserving privacy

16 Sep '21 - 8 min
Machine learning algorithms are widely used to improve health care, for example to identify risk factors for diseases. These algorithms require a lot of data, often... Read more

A targeted, yet privacy-friendly approach for battling poverty

16 Sep '21 - 8 min
It is estimated that half of the Dutch retired citizens entitled to AIO provision are not using it. Targeting and encouraging this group to apply for AIO provision... Read more
future view

Cybersecurity and DevSecOps to a higher level: how major banks and an insurer collaborate

22 Jul '21 - 4 min
Banks and insurers are constantly working to lift their security measures to a higher level. Until recently, it was rare for the responsible cyber security specialists... Read more

5G deadlock in global and Dutch agriculture

8 Jul '21 - 6 min
The latest generation of telecommunications 5G will be widely used in the future, there's no doubt about that. However, a global application of this technology in... Read more
future view

Advanced data linking without breaching privacy

8 Apr '21 - 4 min
The idea of parties working in partnership to obtain valuable information from data without concessions to privacy sounds like a contradiction. However, thanks to... Read more


Stay up to date with our latest news, activities and vacancies

TNO.nl collects and processes data in accordance with the applicable privacy regulations for an optimal user experience and marketing practices.
This data can easily be removed from your temporary profile page at any time.
You can also view our privacy statement or cookie statement.