Smart cities, Internet of Things (IoT), autonomous vehicles, artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality (AR), industry 4.0 … This sophisticated terminology has been with us for some time now, in the news and increasingly in our shopping lists. They all point towards a better tomorrow, but are they really possible today? If the answer is no, which it is, then what is needed in order to see them implemented widely? The answer does not lie in suitable devices but in the channel, in the ecosystem where they can operate. There are more and more prepared devices available, but we still lack a channel that can enable all these sensors, objects and smart vehicles to operate, talk to each other and fulfil their potential.

Massive, secure communications

Massive, secure communications
The solution is easy to say: 5G. This term that most of us have heard mentioned is the fifth generation of mobile devices, a new telecommunications standard that can support a larger number of mobile bandwidth users while enabling machine-to-machine communications that are safer and massive. This would make the real deployment of Internet of Things (IoT) technologies possible for many smart city apps, not to mention autonomous driving, which requires powerful connections that are faster, safer and with low enough latency to be viable and effective.

Among the main features of 5G are:

  • Data rates of dozens of megabytes per second for dozens of thousands of users
  • 100 megabytes per second data rates for metropolitan areas
  • 1 Gb per second simultaneously for many workers on the same floor of the office
  • Many hundreds of thousands of simultaneous connections through wireless sensors
  • Significant improvement in the efficiency of the radioelectric spectrum in comparison with 4G
  • Better cover
  • Improved signal efficiency
  • Significantly reduced latency in comparison with LTE

2.3 million jobs

The implementation of 5G has become a strategic target for many institutions such as the European Union (EU), which has set 2020 as the date for implementing the new standard in its territories. The EU calculates that the development of 5G technology will generate economic activity of around 130,000 million euros per year and 2.3 million jobs in 2025. This has prompted the European Commission to launch the 5G-PPP initiative, financed with 125 million euros, to set up research projects in this field that will enable Europe to take a leading position.

In Catalonia, financing has been obtained to take part in 22 of the 37 projects set up in Europe, and Barcelona recently presented its credentials to act as one of the testing grounds for this new technology.

In this context. Huawei announced on 12th February that it would be investing 644 million in R+D for 5G in 2018, and that it would accompany this spending with the launch of a full range of 5G equipment including wireless access networks, bearer networks, central networks and devices.

5G at the MWC

“Creating a better future” is the slogan of the Mobile World Congress (MWC) that starts this week. It is a declaration by GSMA of the role that mobile technology must assume in the near future. There are 8 different themes in the congress of 2018: The 4th industrial revolution, the provision of services in the future, digital consumers, technology in our society, Artificial intelligence, Innovation, Content and the media as well as 5G, obviously.

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