We’re about to break the next barrier in connectivity by building a 5G world, but this requires a revolution — in thinking, planning, and implementation and, so far, thinking is not yet mature.

Every revolution needs a focal point, and we believe there’s a role waiting for CGI.

Moving far beyond the Smart City

It’s predicted that approximately a million devices per square kilometre will connect to the UK’s 5G network in cities, as opposed to the 10,000 to 20,000 devices you currently find connected in the average city environment. This step change gives a hint of the wide-ranging effects of the creation of 5G Urban Connected Communities (UCC). They’ll go far beyond today’s vision of what a Smart City can achieve, embracing instead the concept of the city-as-a-platform where everything in a city is connected and can exchange data to drive outcomes that meet needs in ways that, up to this point, have only existed in the realm of science fiction.

Connected like never before

So what will the world of 5G look like? Imagine walking down a street where there are sensors on every lamp post and bus stop, as well as on the side of buildings, all using the fibre at street level to create an infrastructure around the city that means you’re always connected to your environment. In rural areas, satellite technology and other access technologies will connect more isolated communities to the ‘network of networks’ so that, wherever you go, you always have a seamless connection that you’ll take for granted.

We’re only at the beginning of working out what we’ll be able to achieve with 5G, but what’s clear is that we need to dream big to reach far. A myriad of use cases is emerging, spanning industries as diverse as transport, retail, healthcare and agriculture. Here’s just a taste of what we could achieve…

Environmentally, 5G technology could monitor pollution and congestion in real time, directing traffic away from badly affected parts of the city and maximising traffic flow through busy areas. 5G’s constant, guaranteed connection could make autonomous cars a reality, and drones could become a regular delivery method.

5G has the potential to change healthcare dramatically, relieving pressure on primary and acute care through virtual medical consultations and making remote surgery a possibility with doctors controlling medical robots from across the world. Wearable devices could transmit information about us to medical monitoring systems, enabling people to leave hospital much earlier to convalesce at home. Social care, too, could see big changes. Wearable tech and data from the connected home could alert carers to any changes in movement habits that could signal that a person needs help, allowing older people to live in their own homes for longer.

Widespread augmented reality could help people to shop, learn and explore wherever they are — from immersive educational experiences to smart mirrors that enable you to digitally try on clothes before ordering garments that are bespoke to your measurements. What’s more, 5G will be a carrier technology that facilitates other technologies that haven’t yet been able to reach their full potential such as virtual reality and the Internet of Things. So, for example, your fridge could track your milk consumption and order more before you run out. And with a sensor on every package, you could track your order across its journey to you, even if it’s travelling internationally.

Step forward a service integrator

So what’s the next step to make 5G a reality in the UK? We believe the UK government needs to appoint a UK-based, systems integrator to bring the ecosystem of consultants, network operators, equipment vendors, politicians, cloud providers and end users together. With a reputation for delivering mission critical complex projects, we recognise that building the next generation of infrastructure and networks with 5G technology will be challenging, and we’re ready for it. We have experience bringing together the big players necessary to create 5G, and have a thriving partner ecosystem poised to support the collaborative effort that will be needed. We’re already trusted with Government contracts and have a breadth of experience in every area 5G will incorporate, from space, defence and intelligence through to satellites, telecommunications and security.

We’re ready. Let’s get started.

For more information, visit www.cgi-group.co.uk/5G or contact me at andrew.palmer@cgi.com

About this author

Picture of Andrew Palmer

Andrew Palmer

Communications Subject Matter Expert

Andrew has more than 30 years of experience in IT, Telecoms and TV and Media, having worked in various roles for IBM, AT&T, Ericsson, Motorola and Arris. Andrew’s present role is to leverage existing CGI capabilities that match the needs of our clients in the ...

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