• At Mobile World Congress Americas and at the AT&T Business Summit, Verizon, Sprint, and AT&T showcased their latest (or their splashiest) planned 5G use cases.
• While many of these applications are still in trial mode, they demonstrate the kinds of use cases key operators envision will be possible and compelling as 5G become ubiquitous enough for enterprise adoption.
At recent events, including Mobile World Congress Americas and the AT&T Business Summit, operator booth demos were dominated by 5G use cases, probably because they make the splashiest demos and point to the future of what may be possible rather than the more sedate set of offerings in the market today.
The use cases from the operators show distinctions in how they view the 5G opportunity. Sprint is focused on the technical capabilities of its Curiosity IoT platform, which is essentially access agnostic. 5G will be a powerful add-on/enabler. Verizon remains focused on its target markets for 5G, including manufacturing and retail, but solutions for core target markets for IoT, including transportation, public safety, and smart cities/communities, also made compelling demos. AT&T has expanded its use cases from last year’s Summit, with a wider set of verticals and more established and concrete service initiatives; it had the advantage of showcasing solutions at its own show, where it had a whole stage with multiple booths in which to show a broad range of AT&T Business solutions.
• Sprint and Nokia demonstrated a throughput rate of more than 2 Gbps using split-mode Massive MIMO technology, along with a VR soccer demo focused on latency.
• An interactive augmented reality experience let visitors explore scenarios in which the Sprint network and Curiosity IoT and other Sprint products can help people, businesses, and organizations.
• Visitors were shown how Sprint Curiosity IoT and Ericsson are applying technology to drive meaningful outcomes fueled by 5G, IoT, and AI. The demo included a real-world application in which ABB, a large global industrial manufacturer, is using the Curiosity platform for accessing and managing NB-IoT connections for the connected panels on its power trains.
• Visitors Interacted with a CloudMinds XR-1 robot and learned about future low-latency command and control operations with Sprint 5G.
• Visitors could also view new small cells that Sprint is adding to improve the indoor experience in homes and small businesses.
• A demonstration of how potentially dangerous situations such as zero visibility fires are made safer through an AR environment with simultaneous localization and mapping. AR headsets allow fire fighters to identify (and save) objects and people and essentially see through smoke and fire.
• A demonstration of 5G XR shopping experiences where customers can get information about ingredients in their food especially important for food allergies. Storekeepers and pharmacists can also use AR for inventory management and to ensure the right medications are provided to customers.
• A demo using a 5G volumetric scanner which creates recreations of accidents and crime scenes, internal architecture of building and 3G analysis of objects were shown as solutions for smart city projects.
• A 5G enabled immersive learning environment in which schools can share VR experiences and conduct classes. In the demo classes were about start formation and the evolution of planets and star systems, using VT experiences to create images.
• Condition-based maintenance, intelligent asset management, and 5G digital objects displayed on smartphones were showcased for use in manufacturing environments.
• 5G home applications for streaming, gaming, video chat and power management were featured.
• Fleet management: demos showed how cargo on an electric Daimler truck uses embedded modules to collect and analyze data from sensors measuring temperature, weight, movement, whether doors are opened, etc. The customer can use a “Virtual Technician” to determine if and when parts can be repaired; driver behavior analytics are provided to determine if the driver is behaving safely.
• Retail: Robots in retail stores can “sense and adapt” to the customer, using 5G-enabled AR to alert staff, provide shopping insights and preferences, and offer frictionless payment. Personalized ads and promotions/coupons are sent to the customer’s phone, leveraging collection of facial analytics and profile information based on what the customer looks at in the store.
• Healthcare: Connected Ambulance – 5G and FirstNet were featured in demos that showed IoT sensors for collecting vitals on a patient before they get to the hospital. Images such as MRIs/X-rays can be provided remotely while medical suggestions, diagnostics and orders are provided by doctors to EMTs.
• Finance: demos included an interactive 5G-powered ATM with a video center for full service banking and loan applications; facial recognition provided personalized digital signage while customers wait for service; while a drone used video for property and casualty insurance claims analysis.
• Manufacturing: AT&T showed MEC technology along with 5G access, with a connection to an Azure public cloud three miles away, for empowering AR/immersive training for equipment servicing (via Magic Leap headsets). Equipment inspection was provided via 3D holograms or video, which provide evidence of defects. A remote advisor can see what the technician in the field sees.
As 5G becomes ubiquitous enough to have use cases that have only been imagined (or haven’t yet been imagined), mobile operators will have ever-more dramatic applications to show at industry events.