Breadcrumb navigation

The Flying Taxi Has Landed

How 5G is changing the way we live

Imagine a city of the future. Flying taxis, drones delivering takeaways, getting real-time statistics on your phone while watching a big game at the stadium, doctors performing surgeries remotely, or holographic phone calls – the possibilities are endless. The good news is that with 5G, all these have already become a reality.

How does 5G do all this? Significantly faster than 4G networks, the technology boasts maximum speeds of up to new window20 Gigabits-per-second (Gbps). It can also connect up to one million devices per square kilometre, ten times that of 4G. With 5G networks, sharing information is instantaneous with incredibly low latency.

As of March 2022, new window1,947 cities in 72 countries have 5G networks in place, with more networks coming online at a rate of nearly two a day. new window80% of business owners globally also believe that the impact of 5G will be revolutionary.

So what exactly can we expect from a 5G city? Let’s take a look at some of the innovations that are already changing the lives of urban dwellers around the world.

Transportation of the future

The high-speed capabilities of 5G is set to benefit commuters in ways we never thought were possible. Ooredoo, a Qatar-based telecommunications company, demonstrated the power of 5G with its new windowunmanned flying taxi and opened a world of possibilities for transportation options of the future. Even though we haven’t seen taxis flying around our skies, we are optimistic that this science-fiction creation will soon become an everyday reality.

While car manufacturers have not started selling fully self-driving vehicles, many are already using 5G to help drivers keep in their lanes on highways and park their cars automatically. The EU-funded project new window5GCroCo (Fifth Generation Cross-Border Control) has already begun testing an ultra-precise hazard warning system for vehicles travelling across Germany, France, and Luxembourg. Once this is implemented, drivers can drive across different countries and receive instant alerts on road incidents, without worrying about roaming charges or service lapses.

5G networks also have the potential to provide drivers with information such as congestion levels and weather conditions in real-time to help make driving even safer. Integrated AI technologies can detect abnormalities and signs of crime or natural disasters, significantly improving incident response times and rescue efforts. The network is also able to support autonomous driving systems by sharing and receiving data from sensors on the roads and other cars – all at the same time – helping to avoid accidents even in blind spots.

In May 2022, NEC and Juniper successfully delivered Algeria Telecom's next-generation IP metro network, setting the stage for a more efficient and safer public transportation system.

Smart cities going zero-carbon

5G connectivity can help cities become more intelligent. Streetlights and public lighting can be connected to clever sensors to be activated only when someone is driving or walking past. Tokyo’s “IoT street light system” powered by NEC allows all street lights to be managed on a centralized system, and this significantly lowers energy consumption and maintenance costs.

Waste collection bins can be programmed to alert cleaners automatically when they are full. A 5G-powered city can also clearly monitor its water and electricity use in real-time to help reduce wastage.

The new windowAlnama Smart City started construction in Riyadh in 2022. The zero-carbon city aims to achieve its sustainability goals through various 5G tools such as energy modelling, microclimate analysis, daylight simulations/ analysis and glare control, water efficiency, waste management and waste recycling analysis, sustainable landscaping and urban drainage analysis.

Helping healthcare give better care

With a network that promises to make life better, healthcare professionals are also looking to use 5G to provide even more seamless and responsive care to all urban dwellers.

A 5G ambulance can send a patient’s vital stats and other important information to the hospital’s emergency room before arriving at the hospital to better prepare the staff. Specialists can also remotely supervise paramedics on the scene to provide better emergency care for the patient.

Doctors can also monitor and give consultations to their patients at home with the help of wearable sensors and other health devices. They can even ensure that their patients take the correct medicines daily through video, with technologies such as the new windowPAMAN Medihub. What would be truly revolutionary is ‘telesurgery’, which allows a doctor to connect to robots and perform surgery on anyone across the world.

A truly open 5G network

While corporations and governments move towards greater connectivity, it is also vital that the world moves towards greater openness. Today, NEC leads the way in delivering Open RAN 5G, which are independent systems fully compatible for multi-vendor deployments. A capable system integrator like NEC plays a vital role carrying out the integration of open interfaces across these multi-vendor components.

Top operators in Japan and around the world, including Telefonica and Vodafone in Europe, have all jumped on this bandwagon. In the U.K., NEC has even established a Global Open RAN Center of Excellence (CoE) to help introduce Open RAN worldwide and expand it to large-scale commercial deployments.

A world of possibilities

With so many promising applications, 5G connectivity can also be applied to urban security, waste management, entertainment, manufacturing, farming, construction, tourism, and more – everything to enhance living standards for urban dwellers.

In July 2022, festival-goers got to go ‘on stage’ with their favourite artists at Madrid’s new windowMad Cool Festival. All they needed to do was put on the 5G-powered VR glasses to see themselves beside the musicians during their performances. Now that’s a truly immersive experience.

In other parts of the world, India’s Telecom Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw has announced that the country will start providing 5G services in new window20 to 25 cities and towns by the end of 2022. Other recent adopters of 5G include Brazil, Thailand, and Mexico, with many more countries expecting to join them in the coming months.

Smart cities are no longer a vision of the future. At this rate, we’ll soon be looking at a smart planet.