Guaranteed bandwidth, guaranteed access and guaranteed availability - an endless parade of opportunities with 5G. Takeaways from the Beltug N-sight: 27 May 2020. VIRTUAL MEETING


5G has been an enigma for a long time - it's difficult to imagine the opportunities that will be unlocked by a technology that isn’t yet here.


During this N-sight, we took a close look at our experts’ use cases, and heard about VRT’s vision of the 5G future for the broadcast industry.  Then we shared the ideas that came out of the 5G Innovation Challenge we set up early March: an afternoon of ideation and brainstorming.


Presentations from the event and a link to the recording of the event, are available for our members (after log-in)



How will 5G accelerate Industry 4.0?


Jeroen Machielsen, Value Proposition Manager B2B at Orange, presented the quintessential role 5G will play in the 4th industrial revolution: the connected industry. Smart factories rely on real-time connections to manage stocks, raw materials, machines and more.


3GPP drafted the specifications for 5G, from which three main use case categories have been derived.  Many real-life use cases will combine components from the different use case categories:

  • Enhanced mobile broadband, for regular users accessing multi-media content, services and data. The main interest here is improving end-user experience.
  • Massive machine-type communications, involving a very large number of connected devices that typically transmit low volumes of non-delay-sensitive data. Generally, this use case requires low cost and long battery life devices. In this use case, you will find (amongst others) Internet of Things devices.
  • Ultra-reliable and low latency communications (slide 13). Some examples include factory and process automation and autonomous vehicles.


Different 5G setups are possible: Stand-alone and Non stand-alone (slide 16). Stand-alone setups in particular, allow for 'slicing'. 'Slicing' creates a tunnel in the network dedicated to a specific application. This could be crucial for some use cases and we will see it again in VRT's presentation.


Potential challenges include scalability, 5G device availability and change management when switching from legacy applications. As 5G is a new communications protocol, the latter can become quite complex.


Our connected world, today and in the 5G future


NTT's presentation started with the Tokyo Olympic Games. Filip De Maeyer, Business Development Manager Enterprise Mobility at NTT, shared the ambition to make these the most innovative Olympics ever. NTT (co-)developed a host of support robots to enhance visitors’ experiences at the Games. Sadly, these will have to wait a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


One of NTT's prime use cases for 5G is the Tour de France, in an official partnership with ASO (organiser of the event). This use case is divided in three big blocks: In the first block data is collected, then sent to the second block, where data is processed and analysed for the third block. This block focusses on storytelling. The collected data is made available to broadcasters, press and other media for disclosure to the audience. NTT has developed some other use cases (slide 15-20) including 'Connected Conservation' and projects in Las Vegas.


NTT is also looking ahead. One of the more futuristic use cases synchronises humans and robots. A potential application would be a remote operating theatre, which could be e.g. set up in a disaster-struck area, enabling surgeons to operate from a distance. Driverless vehicles form another use case: more the remote-controlled type rather than autonomous vehicles. Machines could be used in environments that are inhospitable to humans. Remote-controlled machinery would also cut down travel time for operators, as long as the connectivity is up to standard.


5G in the broadcast industry


Jonathan De Bolster, System Engineer at VRT took us on a journey to see how broadcasting works today and what advantages 5G could bring to it. Jonathan works for the team that implements, amongst others, mobile solutions for live audio and video. He explained how VRT today relies on both fixed and mobile access. The fixed access can be the modem in a person's house or a fixed fibre connection. Of course, they have a range of mobile solutions, such as the ubiquitous satellite trucks. But these come at both a monetary as a usability cost.


VRT also has a number of portable devices relying on 4G connection. The downside is that 4G does not offer any guarantees for availability or capacity – which are both crucial for live broadcasts.


That is why VRT is looking towards 5G, and more specifically the possibility of 'slicing' (which was discussed in the Orange presentation). The 'slice' would provide the guarantees needed for specific broadcasts. Both pre-booked and on-demand 'slices' are potentially interesting; the latter in particular could be mission-critical for VRT NWS.


Jonathan's conclusions:

  • For the broadcast industry, guarantees are the most important aspects of 5G 
  • 5G will mostly be used in mobile setups (cycling races, music festivals, moving reporters, news gathering)
  • 5G will change the way we work, once the technology is ready (telco infrastructure, modems, encoders, people, etc.)


Beltug Innovation Challenge


Danielle Jacobs, our CEO at Beltug, rounded out the presentations with a debrief on the 5G Innovation Challenge that took place just before the Covid-19 lockdown (10 March).


Quite a few of the ideas related to emergency services (slide 5), although we also saw numerous ideas for monitoring (slide 6) and anomaly detection (slide 7). There were plenty more ideas to share: Beltug will soon draft an overview from the brainstorming afternoon.


Danielle discussed both the opportunities as the challenges for 5G that were identified during the session. She also touched upon the public health debate that accompanies the 5G roll-out.


Danielle concluded with the actions Beltug is planning on the topic of 5G (slide 9).

















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