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5G: Next-gen User Experience

Sumit Kumar

The emergence of next-gen technologies with next-gen user experience largely depends upon the successful implementation of 5G network infrastructure. 5G networks are expected to usher in a major transformation to the current 4G networks by connecting everything to everything (X2X), enabling smart applications, and providing total experience (TX) to the customer by taking advantage of the IoT revolution backed by edge computing.

5G differentiates network requirements by network slicing and provisioning network-as-a-service (NaaS), thereby optimizing its usage according to individual requirements. Open Radio Access Network (O-RAN) will help in the interoperability of multiple vendors, while 5G value chain will encompass low latency mobile ecosystem with higher network capacity to provide a unique network experience to customers. Hence, 5G networks will bring the desired business and social transformation across different domains.

Various companies have collaborated to work on indigenous 5G solutions. 5G trials and network testing have already begun in India, which will be followed by spectrum allocation in the coming months.  Accordingly, companies have started customizing their products in the lines of 5G requirements. India is at the forefront in this telco transformation with its diverse demographic market.

Smart cities: 5G infrastructure will play a critical role in India, where various smart city projects are underway to transform the lives of the people. 5G networks can facilitate the concept of connected vehicles, cloud-connected traffic control, and intelligent parking system with blind-spot detection to ensure safer mobility and minimize road casualties. It can deliver real-time video feeds at high resolution, thereby ensuring emergency services are provided promptly. 5G-connected glass can provide information about the surroundings. Google has already created products like Google Anthos, a multi-cloud open-source platform, by leveraging its cloud computing expertise to help customers easily migrate their enterprise data centers. Microsoft has acquired Metaswitch Networks and Affirmed Networks to deliver on the promise of 5G with the convergence of cloud and virtualized communication.

Smart work: 5G-enabled precision agriculture will provide farmers with the right inputs to customize their farming needs. The emergence of 5G networks will greatly improve disaster risk management as natural calamities like Tsunamis or earthquakes can be predicted with much precision. 5G networks and equipment are energy-efficient and can drastically reduce energy consumption across a range of industries, reduce carbon footprint, and contribute to the fight against climate change. In crowded spaces like stadiums or auditoriums, a good network speed can be achieved as 5G works like a dedicated Wi-Fi connection. Small changes in the stock market can also be tracked in real time. 5G networks can provide reliable connectivity and enhanced security to employees working from home. They can share larger amounts of data faster than ever. Hence, work from home would not have been sustainable in the absence of optimum network speed.

Smart homes: Connected appliances at home and just-in-time solutions enabled with AI will change the way we live.  Who would have imagined the refrigerator at home can be connected to the food supplier’s system to put up requests for the required food item or the remote-controlled air conditioner or CCTV camera can be operated from anywhere. Movies and web series on OTT platforms are already driving customers crazy with binge-watching. With the coming of 5G networks, high-quality content with reduced latency could be available to OTT subscribers, which will in turn tremendously increase the customer base and soar the advertising business. Gaming on cloud has become a reality. Thanks to 5G technology, one does not need to have a play station or download any games as they have instant access to the cloud marketplace.

Smart factories: Massive internet of things (IoT) and internet of behavior (IoB) systems are going to transform the logistics and supply chain infrastructure. The plethora of connected IoT devices with edge computing for smart manufacturing will greatly reduce the production and transportation lead time. Microsoft, Amazon, and Google will proactively customize their cloud offerings in view of IoT and edge computing. Telco companies will collaborate with cloud service providers and deploy 5G and data centers closer to the edge. Delivery drones are now becoming a reality as 5G network ensures seamless communication with drones for a completely automated delivery process. The concept of a fully digitalized factory can be realized with thousands of sensors being connected to enable IoT over 5G.

Smart healthcare: In addition to opening the door for remote surgeries and video consultations in rural areas, 5G networks enable healthcare providers to monitor patients remotely and gather real-time data. With help from 3D medical imaging, pattern recognition, and augmented reality – extended reality (AR-XR) capabilities, the right diagnosis can be arrived at, and a cure can be provided before acute symptoms arise.

The full-blown 5G infrastructure and broadening of the network could pose many cybersecurity risks.  Milli Meter Waves (in 5G) has the risk of fading due to obstacles in the line of sight of propagation. However, every limitation is an opportunity. They pave the way for more innovation in the booming mobile connectivity space. This is how we have evolved from the 1st to the 5th generation of technology and continue this journey to reach 6G and beyond. 

About the author

Sumit Kumar
Sumit Kumar is an engagement manager with TCS’ HiTech business unit. Currently, he manages delivery and client relationships for key account portfolios for the HiTech business unit. He is a certified project management professional (PMP®) and has a proven track record in project management. He has around 16 years of IT experience, having begun his career as an SAP consultant for several of TCS’ customers. He has also been recognized as a Contextual Master and is professionally active at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), UP chapter. He has presented multiple papers at industry conferences and written articles on various emerging technologies.