Three Engines of Changing Industrial Structure: 5G, IoT and AI
The boom in 5G, AI (artificial intelligence) and IoT (internet of things) technologies seems to mean that the era of intelligent connectivity is just around the corner. This confluence of new technologies has enormous potential to change the way we live and work, but there are still many uncertainties and challenges that need to be resolved before the rosy vision can be realized.
1. Smart Connectivity: Convergence of 5G, AI and IoT
Intelligent connectivity is a brand new concept – in the future, the fusion of 5G, AI and IoT can be a catalyst to accelerate technological development and enable new disruptive digital services. Based on the vision of intelligent connectivity, AI is able to analyze and convert the data information collected by the Internet of Things (from machines, devices and sensors) into easy-to-understand language to present information in a more useful and meaningful way for users. This not only facilitates improved decision-making, but also personalizes the experience for users, ultimately making interactions between people and their surroundings richer and more meaningful.
The Internet of Things is becoming mainstream as artificial intelligence becomes increasingly complex due to rapid advances in computing power, the training of data scientists, and the availability of machine learning tools to create advanced algorithms. 5G represents another missing element that will take these technologies to the next level, enabling the vision of smart connectivity. The ultra-high-speed, ultra-low-latency connection network brought by 5G is combined with the massive data collected by the Internet of Things, and AI technology provides contextualization and decision-making capabilities. The combination of the three can bring benefits to almost all industries and fields. New transformational dynamics that could change our society and the way we live and work.
Smart connectivity is expected to play an important role in five key sectors: Transportation & Logistics, Industry & Manufacturing, Healthcare, Public Safety, Others
1. Transportation & Logistics
In the field of transportation, smart connectivity can improve road safety and the efficiency of vehicle movement, thereby making traffic flow more smoothly. And in logistics, smart connectivity has huge potential to improve the efficiency and flexibility of goods delivery, making logistics faster and cheaper.
Use case 1: AI-based driver assistance and traffic monitoring systems
Leveraging the low-latency nature of 5G networks, rich real-time information can be collected and shared between road users and roadside infrastructure. For example, the position and speed of cars, bicycles and pedestrians on the road, weather and road conditions, traffic jams and other road obstacles, etc… Intelligent traffic monitoring systems and on-board computers based on AI technology will use this information to guide drivers . For example, helping drivers avoid unexpected traffic accidents, or dynamically planning the best route to a destination.
Use Case 2: Self-Driving Cars
The combination of 5G and AI technologies will eventually lead autonomous vehicles to maturity and reliability. AI-based on-board computers will collect data from on-board sensors, roadside infrastructure units and other vehicles (via 5G) to help the car identify its surroundings so that it can adapt to any emergencies. Autonomous driving will also usher in a new model of “Mobility-as-a-Service,” which is similar to Uber but tailored for public transportation in the autonomous era. This model will be more economical than current public and private transportation options because it saves a lot of time and money in training and paying drivers.
Use Case 3: Delivering Goods Using Unmanned Transportation Equipment
5G networks can support a large number of unmanned transportation devices, whether they are flying in the air or running on the ground, such as unmanned Robots and drones, and allow operators to fine-tune their routes of action to avoid colliding with other unmanned vehicles. Collision with a vehicle, roadside building or static obstacle. For example, drones are now a very promising, safe and fast way to deliver goods. If the destination is in a location with complex terrain or congested roads, the advantages of drones are more obvious. This method is less expensive than the current manual transportation system.
2. Industry & Manufacturing
In industry, smart connectivity can help increase productivity and reduce human error, thereby reducing costs and improving worker safety. Smart connectivity can also reduce the need for on-site workers by enabling remote control of Industrial facilities, thereby increasing flexibility in the location of production facilities.
Use Case 1: Factory automation and Remote Control of Industrial Robots
The high speed, ultra-low latency and high reliability of 5G will improve the automation of the production process and enhance the remote control of equipment and machines. For example, machine learning algorithms can use data collected from sensors and cameras along the supply line to alert operators of non-compliant operations in a timely manner, and the system can automatically correct errors in real time. 5G will also enable human operators to remotely monitor and adjust the behavior of industrial robots, and even interact with them in real-time through connected tools including touchscreen gloves or virtual/augmented reality (VR/AR) headsets with haptic/visual feedback .
Use Case 2: Remote Inspection, Maintenance, and Training of Workers
At the same time, haptic web applications powered by smart connectivity can also help workers perform tasks such as remote inspections, remote maintenance and repairs. In inaccessible, desolate or dangerous areas, such as nuclear power plants, oil rigs, mining areas, etc., this approach can not only reduce costs, but also reduce risks. The same tools can also be used to perform and support personnel training, as well as simulate complex situations in a safe environment.
Smart connectivity can also help deliver more effective preventive health care at a more affordable cost, while helping healthcare managers optimize the use of resources. In addition, intelligent connection will further promote the development of remote diagnosis and remote surgery, and even completely change the current situation that medical experts in the medical industry are constrained by geographical location.
Use Case 1: Remote Health Monitoring and Disease Prevention
The high reliability of 5G and the characteristics of supporting a large number of connections will accelerate the popularity of wearable devices. Using wearable devices, medical personnel can easily collect different biometric parameters of the wearer. As such solutions become more commonplace, AI-based medical platforms are able to use the data collected from these wearable devices to determine a patient’s current health status, provide tailored health advice, and predict future potential potential problems that arise. In addition, a clear, real-time view of a patient’s current physical condition will allow healthcare workers to optimize the use of resources and ensure that their clinics always have adequate supplies of medicines, medical tools and equipment.
Use Case 2: Remote Diagnosis and Medical Surgery
Smart connected applications enabled by high-speed, low-latency, and ultra-reliable 5G technology will assist doctors to remotely perform comprehensive medical examinations, and even obtain complete audio-visual and tactile feedback, breaking the physical barrier of doctors providing diagnosis. limit. With 5G and the Internet of Things, doctors can even operate robots to perform remote surgery.
4. Public Safety
By increasing the efficiency and reducing the cost of video surveillance, security systems and emergency services, smart connectivity can help authorities fight crime and make the cities we live in safer.
Use Case 1: Intelligent Video Surveillance and Security Systems
The maturation of 5G networks will catalyze the deployment of numerous security sirens, sensors and cameras, enabling real-time, high-quality video transmissions, which can help enhance remote surveillance and better assess crime scenes. What’s more, the AI-based system automatically analyzes the suspect’s movements, body language and facial expressions to monitor crimes in real time. In addition, by analyzing past crime data, the AI-based platform can predict future crimes to help authorities optimize the use of crime prevention resources.
Use Case 2: Emergency Services
A large number of 5G-based cameras (which may be in fixed locations, may be worn on the body, or may be mounted on drones) will help control and coordinate emergency services operations. Remotely controlled or autonomous robots will replace human operations in dangerous environments, such as finding survivors in collapsed or burned buildings, while drones will be used to survey disaster-stricken areas, patrol coastlines, and in mountainous areas Detect smugglers or other surprises.
5. Other fields
In addition to the above-mentioned applications, smart connectivity can bring unexpected innovations in many other fields.
Use Case 1: The further combination of 5G and AI technologies will enable people to retrieve information, reserve or purchase goods faster and easier through virtual personal assistants.
Use Case 2: Cloud-based game servers allow players to easily enjoy games without buying bulky and expensive equipment, and AR/VR headsets and haptic feedback devices can provide players with an immersive experience experience.
Use case 3: Even if the user cannot be there in person, the user can experience the real feeling of being in the stadium and concert scene through the 3D holographic Display technology while sitting comfortably at home.
In addition, the combination of AI and 5G networks will further improve the ability to collect and analyze data from sensor networks, which will help us use energy more efficiently and reduce waste and pollution when irrigating farmland or transporting goods. The table below shows some of the existing 5G-based trials that will serve as a solid foundation for smart connectivity.
2. From vision to reality
These applications above describe the beautiful scenarios that the concept of smart connectivity is possible to achieve. But some seem far-fetched, and now others may have deployed connectivity technologies other than 5G in some cases, such as LTE, WIFI or fibre. 5G, AI and big data from the Internet of Things provide the best soil for these applications in the future.
Conclusion 1: It is too early to declare that the era of intelligent connectivity is here
Technically, even as the excitement spreads across the mobile industry, the elements that make this vision a reality haven’t really matured. The VR/AR, haptic feedback technology, and self-driving cars involved are still in the early stages of development, and there are a lot of technical and management issues that still need to be resolved. IoT Analytics believes that it will be at least five to ten years before these issues can be resolved before the application scenarios described above may become a reality.
5G is also still in the early stages of deployment, however, mobile operators have also made rapid progress in developing and testing 5G technology over the past few years, and the process of 5G standardization is expected to be completed by 3GPP R16 in 2020. Only after this point in time will the industry actually see the first 5G networks and deliver the promised performance.
Conclusion 2: The main challenge is to ensure that smart connectivity is adapted to the actual needs of the industry and society
From a technical point of view, reaching such a mature technology is not the main problem, its biggest challenge comes from ensuring that these smart connected technologies meet the actual needs of the industry and society. Technology vendors tend to gravitate toward unrealistically aggressive promotion of the technology, risking no adoption.
5G is perhaps the most prominent example. There is no doubt that 5G can empower almost the entire industry. However, operators have realized that there are not enough convincing cases to attract huge investment to build 5G infrastructure, especially in its application in IoT scenarios. Cases of ultra-low latency and ultra-large capacity. But that doesn’t mean we don’t need it, and it’s not enough to justify the cost of investing in it in terms of expected improvements in productivity, efficiency, and return on investment. We have reason to believe that this is the immature performance of the industry under the influence of uncertainty between technology and real demand.
Conclusion 3: Media and entertainment will be the main business case for 5G in the near term
Operators believe that the media and entertainment industry will be the main use case for 5G in the near term, due to the demand of users to watch Netflix and make video calls and upload videos to their Facebook and Instagram accounts anytime, anywhere, etc. These demands all require the network to have higher bandwidth and faster speed, so they can easily become a potential consumer group.
In addition, there is also potential demand in the automotive industry. In the era of the Internet of Things, the Internet of Vehicles will become more and more mature, users will have more needs, and people will be more willing to spend money on related services. But apart from these two industries, there seems to be not much obvious demand in other industries.
We have seen many potential application cases, but there is still a lot of work to be done before the advent of the intelligent age. For example, the technology must be more mature, the policy must be more perfect, and a lot of money must be spent accordingly. However, as long as all parties work together, this goal will eventually be achieved.
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