5G makes its Olympic de­but

The New Zealand Herald - - WORLD -

Some of the the first to ex­pe­ri­ence the fu­ture of wire­less tech­nol­ogy, well be­fore most hu­mans, will be South Korea’s wild boars. That’s be­cause 5G, the fifth­gen­er­a­tion wire­less net­work, is mak­ing its world­wide de­but at the Win­ter Olympics in Pyeongchang.

The tech­nol­ogy is be­ing used to ward off the porcine pests which roam the moun­tain­ous re­gion around the Games, with fast-act­ing sys­tems that ac­ti­vate de­ter­rents, spew gases and emit tiger roars.

That’s just the start of 5G — South Korea’s at­tempt to show­case the firstin-the-world com­mer­cial use of the tech­nol­ogy that is not sched­uled to roll out glob­ally un­til 2020.

At the Games, shut­tle buses run with no hu­mans at the wheel, and 360-de­gree im­ages in real time show com­pet­ing fig­ure skaters as they glide around the ice.

Fifth-gen­er­a­tion wire­less net­works are de­signed to be su­per-fast, about 100 times faster than 4G. At 10 gi­ga­bits a sec­ond, 5G can send a ful­l­length high-def­i­ni­tion movie in sec­onds.

The tech­nol­ogy also paves the way for the “in­ter­net of things”, where de­vices from re­frig­er­a­tors to traf­fic lights to dog col­lars can talk to each other.

The Pyeongchang show­case, en­gi­neered by South Korean tele­com car­rier KT, uses tech­nol­ogy from In­tel, Eric­s­son and Sam­sung. Left out is Huawei Tech­nolo­gies, which is also rac­ing to de­velop 5G tech­nol­ogy.

About 1 bil­lion peo­ple world­wide are likely to be 5G-en­abled within five years, and that will lead to US$12.3 tril­lion in global eco­nomic out­put by t he mid- 2030s, ac­cord­ing to re­searchers from Eric­s­son and IHS Markit.

Due to its speed, 5G opens pos­si­bil­i­ties that even en­gi­neers still aren’t aware of, much like the ex­plo­sion of apps af­ter the re­lease of Ap­ple’s first iPhone.

At Pyeongchang, tiny 5G-linked cam­eras at­tached to bob­sleds will stream live video from the point of view of the pi­lots. The 360-de­gree videos of fig­ure-skat­ing events al­low view­ers to stop the ac­tion to view twists and turns from ev­ery an­gle. Self-driv­ing buses have in­te­rior video screens show­ing live cov­er­age of events in 5G in­stead of win­dows, and use 5G to nav­i­gate the roads.

In the coun­try­side near the Olympic venue, 5G is also be­ing used to re­pel wild boars. Tens of thou­sands of them ram­page through potato and car­rot fields and po­ten­tially threaten the safety of Olympics tourists.

The cur­rent 4G-pow­ered sys­tem cur­rently can’t tell wild boars from deer or hu­mans, said Han Taek-sik, a KT net­work en­gi­neer, con­fus­ing any­thing ap­proach­ing as a threat. The qual­ity of im­ages sent from them is also so low they can’t be an­a­lysed to gain in­tel­li­gence on wild boars and their be­hav­ioral pat­terns.

Once 5G is up and run­ning for good, the up­grade will be able to use 360-de­gree cam­eras and drones, said Han.

“There’s a lot of hype about 5G as a rev­o­lu­tion, but most peo­ple here don’t even know how t heir smart­phones work,” Han said. “They don’t have to know 5G, as long as 5G helps the de­vices that help these peo­ple live bet­ter lives.”

— Bloomberg

Fifth-gen­er­a­tion wire­less net­works are de­signed to be su­per-fast, about 100 times faster than 4G

Pic­ture / AP

At Pyeongchang, 5G wire­less is be­ing used to de­liver real-time video of events.

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