A 5G cellular network will offer faster cellular speeds than 4G and more capacity to support the increasing demand for data on Spark’s network, which is growing at about 40 percent each year | content partnership
Three years after Spark began rolling out its 5G cellular network, the gum is really taking to the streets, and the company’s executive Kaupapa – Hello Tomorrow – embodies its unrelenting optimism about the future, using technology as a vehicle to build an Aotearoa full to unleash opportunities.
The accelerating growth of digital infrastructure and new technologies gives us a glimpse into a diverse and exciting future – from connecting in new ways to helping us be more productive and sustainable. It shows us what is possible in all sectors including energy, arts, transport, food, forestry, agriculture and even robotics…
Take Spot the robot dog. Spot is smart. He can go around an industrial site, over rubble, over a plank bridge. He checks for rust on a pipe, reads a gas gauge, hovers over a pool of liquid on the ground, examines a possible breach in the fence. As he moves, Spot creates a 3D digital version of his location and sends it back to headquarters.
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The problem is that creating this real-time, moving digital image requires a huge amount of data to be transmitted wirelessly between Spot and the office. And that’s not feasible with today’s mobile technology.
In order to transfer all this data now, it has to be compressed, uploaded, sent over and then downloaded at the other end. With 4G, it can take half an hour for someone to access Spot’s information about the construction site.
But with 5G you could do it all completely live. If a remote operator wants to live stream a digital reconstruction of the environment the robot is in, they need a 5G network.
5G is the fifth generation cellular network – and it’s now available in more than 50 locations around Aotearoa, as far north as Paihia and as far south as Bluff.
It will eventually be so widespread that most Kiwis will connect to 5G instead of 4G, which is what the vast majority of us currently use to get our phones – and other devices – working.
5G offers faster mobile speeds than 4G and more capacity to meet the increasing demand for data on Spark’s network, which is growing at approximately 40% each year.
The amazing diversity of 5G
Spot is controlled by the robotics platform that took first place for Spark’s 5G Starter Fund, aimed at showcasing Kiwi innovations and enabling the future adoption of 5G.
Another notable application of 5G is oDocs Eye Care, which has developed a lens-enabled smartphone that turns into an affordable, wearable diagnostic tool for eye diseases. oDocs uses 5G to enable real-time video consultations from health workers in remote eye clinics to specialists in metropolitan hospitals.
Then there’s virtual reality game studio Beyond, which is partially using high-speed 5G to solve the latency issues that allowed remote gamers on their phones to jump into the VR gaming action with their friends.
robots, blindness, gaming. The three applications for 5G are completely different, and the more than 200 companies applying for the 5G Starter Fund demonstrated the amazing diversity of potential applications for 5G, says Mark Beder, Spark’s technology director.
5G not only offers faster internet, but more internet
Spark has already connected more than 50 locations to 5G, including parts of Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin, Hamilton, Wellington, Palmerston North, Whangārei, Tauranga and Kaikoura, with more to come over the next year.
This is where it gets technical. Currently, Spark’s 5G network operates on what it calls “non-standalone” technology — 5G technology layered over existing 4G cellular sites but still utilizing the core 4G infrastructure.
Non-standalone 5G is a big step forward over 4G, but more can be done. The ultimate goal of 5G is “standalone” – where we would deploy an end-to-end 5G network rather than using 4G for the core infrastructure.
Spark began testing the standalone technology in October, conducted two proofs of concepts with technology providers Mavenir and AWS, and intends to continue testing next year.
The technology unlocks a number of new configurable capabilities such as network slicing and multi-access edge computing (more on this below). These features will be rolled out in areas where there is a need and benefit for the services, such as B. Industrial areas.
A future where you can connect to pretty much anything
As 5G gets bigger and better and then standalone 5G becomes available, more and more devices can be connected, not just the kinds of devices we’re used to (e.g. phones and laptops) but many other previously unrelated things .
What if every street light had sensors that would turn off when nobody was around?
Or imagine millions of household appliances that are connected to the grid in real time so they can reduce the load during peak periods – fridges where the temperature has gone up a notch for about an hour, heat pumps that have turned themselves on a bit have shut down .
This is what the Internet of Things (IoT) is all about – intelligent, internet-connected, data-producing machines.
Of course it’s already happening. Food manufacturers connect their cold stores with sensors to monitor the temperature even when nobody is working. The manager of an automated manufacturing plant can keep an eye on production around the clock and check the wear and tear of the machines. A security firm capable of receiving high-quality footage from security cameras in near real-time, as well as alerts when sensors detect something seems amiss.
In the past month, Spark connected the one millionth new “thing” to its IoT network, says Beder.
“The future will be where you can have connectivity with pretty much anything.”
This is where 5G comes in. The 4G network can only handle a limited number of connected devices, says Beder. A 5G network will be able to handle much, much more.
Life and Death Applications of 5G
Another thing that’s going to happen is that standalone 5G will enable “multi-access edge computing.” It’s about bringing the troubled processing parts of the cellular network to the edges of the network.
That means data doesn’t have to travel as far to get to a processing node, which speeds up the connection, frees up storage space on the main network, and greatly reduces what’s known as latency, Beder says.
It sounds technical, but latency is basically delay or delay. Low latency means very little delay. The goal is to make it as close to real time as possible.
For example, in virtual reality games, the lower the latency, the less likely a player is to get motion sickness.
But there are more vital applications.
Health and safety on construction sites is a good example and this was put into practice during Spark’s first 5G Multi Access Edge Compute pilot with EnviroNZ in July. Using computer vision and IoT video cameras, the 5G-enabled hazard detection system identifies and tracks people and excavators within a specific detection zone and calculates the distances between them in a busy resource reclamation center.
To explore the potential of Multi Access Edge Compute in this pilot, the EnviroWaste video feed will be streamed in real-time over 5G connectivity to the cloud-based application hosted at the edge.
The added benefit of adding edge computing to this mix allows for faster transmission of data back to the cloud-based application to the 5G-connected video camera, and therefore faster hazard identification – reducing the likelihood of a serious side accident. site.
A new world of real and amazing possibilities – Hello Tomorrow
As Spark continues to develop its standalone 5G network capability, this will unlock some of the most exciting and transformative features of 5G.
We saw this in August when Spark unveiled New Zealand’s first 5G interactive street museum on the streets of Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin – a co-created series of 5G powered augmented reality (AR) experiences that on unseen life stories of some of our nation’s most celebrated creatives: Parris Goebel, Benee, David Dallas, Teeks and Askew One.
Spark’s 5G St Museum has enabled these world-class creators – artists, dancers and singers – to explore entirely new avenues of expression and, in turn, use the speed and power of 5G to offer their audience a new, immersive way to connect with them occur on scale and in the highest possible resolution.
Another example of what’s possible with 5G is “network slicing,” a way of tailoring the network so that slices can be broken up for specific customers or applications.
There are many organizations for which a sliced network is a godsend.
Take a port – a smart, automated port of the future. There could be autonomous vehicles driving around while loading and unloading. It may have asset-tracking sensors on its containers and high-definition security cameras to monitor security exclusion zones.
This port could use a slice of the 5G network trimmed for maximum reliability to ensure that the internet connection for these critical parts of its business never goes down. But emails from the office and social media logins from the canteen aren’t that important — they could be cheaper.
“5G Standalone could dedicate a ‘part’ of the 5G network to automating critical on-site machines, with ultra-low latency and reliability being the core requirements of the network,” says Beder.
“Another ‘segment’ of the network could be dedicated to connectivity so employees can access email and conduct other business with different and less critical needs.”
Spot the robot dog may seem like something straight out of a sci-fi story to some – but he represents a new world of real and amazing possibilities, channeling Spark 5G to propel New Zealand businesses and homes into the future via a built-in cellular network for morning.
Spark is a founding partner of Newsroom.co.nz