True M2M communication
There is a lot of talk about M2M communications in the industry, but the matter of fact is that true M2M communication has not been possible so far. That changes with the introduction of 5G. Where restrictions were previously in place regarding the connection between machines, and where networks acted as an intermediary, 5G’s low latency allows for direct communication without the involvement of a network step.

The most important takeaway from this development will be efficiency, eliminating human intervention in the network and reducing the cost of interactions. On top of that, this new M2M communication also opens up the possibility of a higher degree of AI within the network. Addressing again the already mentioned application for self-driving cars, a benefit of this better way of communication between machines would be seen in the communication between cars while monitoring other vehicles, the road and the environment. All of the information gathered can then seamlessly be shared between all connected cars on the road, making driving safer than ever before.

Going even further, the traffic information thus collected could then be integrated into a complete smart city relying on the 5G network to keep all its parts connected and communicating with each other. Engineers have realised this potential – it’s estimated that over 25% of cellular smart city devices and applications will operate over 5G networks by 2022.
Developing with 5G – and the future
Beyond the different applications we already know 5G will be used for and was developed to support, there is still everything to play for when it comes to how engineers will take the capabilities of 5G and run with them once it is fully introduced. The opportunities are incredibly varied and extensive – for instance, 5G introduces new opportunities for maintenance management within large machines like planes or mining equipment. Inbuilt sensors can monitor the state of parts within a machine and alert when something needs replacing or fixing. This can now be implemented at the design stage, where integration previously wasn’t possible due to the extreme bandwidth requirements and the low latency that is needed.

However, it is difficult to say just now how exactly development engineers will make use of 5G. Development for this new network is still in its infancy, with so much remaining to be discovered and learned. Without the actual 5G network to work on beyond limited trials, we can only speculate on the way innovation will take shape once engineers start working with it – on their own, and also, more importantly, as a collective shaping each other’s projects and ideas. With time, it will become much clearer what exactly can be done with 5G – and whether it lives up to the high expectations placed upon it.

Author: Michael Jakal, Regional Sales Manager of Central and Southern Europe at Distrelec.

Everything You Need to Know about 5G Technology
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