How Will 5G Enable Smart Cities?

How to build on the 5G foundation to accelerate the smart city benefits? That’s what we set out to explore in this article. Read further to find out more about the impact of 5G in smart cities. 

5G is among the information and communication technologies that are now being experimented on and implemented in real applications around the world. Alongside other key innovations, such as IoT, cloud computing, geo-information systems, and data analytics, many new application scenarios of 5G within the smart city sphere have recently unfolded.

In this post, we will explore what 5G can contribute to the service layer of a smart city in different areas and its impact on local economies.

5G in Smart Cities

The fifth generation of mobile networks -5G- is estimated to be up to 100 times faster than the current 4G infrastructure and to have the capacity to support up to one million devices per square kilometer. What does this boost of bandwidth mean for the infrastructure, transport, financial and other systems of smart cities? Mainly it translates into better connectivity of the IoT sensors and devices that link different components across the city to deliver better services to citizens.

In other words, 5G (and the generations to come afterward) is a pivotal component for cities to transition to digital economies. A strong digital infrastructure layer to sustain the services is of vital importance to support the growing digital economy. In this context, any loss of connectivity might have catastrophic consequences. Adopting 5G that has the capacity to host millions of devices and support the needs of the IoT is a milestone that no city can jump on its smart journey.

What type of services are improved or enabled by 5G?

A hot topic in smart city development, 5G will enrich technical resources available in a smart city and paves way for new innovative applications. These are just some of the areas that benefit from 5G network in smart cities.

5G in smart cities

In the case of transport systems, 5G facilitates collecting minute-by-minute information about the traffic from sensors across the city and orchestrating the vehicle flows and public transport according to the information available in the network.

Management and maintenance of critical infrastructure. Connecting and monitoring the remote systems installed for the traffic, energy, and water facilities through 5G will help to plan the infrastructure spending more efficiently and unleash the next wave of Smart Grid features and efficiency.

Post and delivery services of a smart city are highly dependent on communication schemes and remote communications. In this sphere, drones and smart vehicles are on the rise, especially after the pandemic.

Smart city financial services rely mainly on card or mobile payments and require high speed connected services and secure communications for transactions

Public safety can be increased with information obtained from real-time surveillance cameras and permit the first responders to assess the locations in high definition pole by pole before arriving at the scene. The same applies to the sensors used in emergency warning systems used to alert about tornados and other life-threatening weather events.

5G will assist the government’s response to achieve smart governance and improve its services from operations to monitoring borders and coastal safety.

Healthcare and emergency interventions: 5G installation would be hugely beneficial for healthcare services and save. For example, drones connected to the network could be used to live broadcast an incident location to the responders or for delivering first aid and equipment, or to perform remote surgical operations.

How will 5G transform local economies?

Facilitating 5G infrastructure, as we have covered above, comes with significant improvements in the city services. But in fact, the impact of 5G will go way beyond that. 5G has the potential to transform local economies. However, its transformative power depends on how the network is deployed locally and put into the service of creating jobs and new industries.

It’s true that dipping into the transformative potential of 5G requires an initial investment from the city, but in all cases, it’s a step that must be made sooner or later. To start with, 5G requires a significantly denser wireless infrastructure than its predecessor 4G. As a solution to that, instead of traditional macro cell towers, small cells should be deployed.

But, all in all, it would be an investment with high returns. According to the World Economic Forum, 5G will be a catalyst for socio-economic growth in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, with an estimated $13.2 trillion of global economic value reached by 2035.

New technological applications enabled by 5G will facilitate many industrial advances and enhance city and citizen experiences. However, the key element to successful 5G deployment, besides the initial investment in infrastructure, will always be the collaboration between stakeholders along with clear methodologies to estimate the social value creation.

Learn more about how 5G could be used to create value in cities and start your smart journey today! 

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