The late-autumn was a period rich in events for 5G-Blueprint’s partners Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management and KPN: here are some of the takeaways and highlights from their recent participations.
Networld Europe’s webinar on Smart Ports
The Networld Europe’s webinar on Smart Ports – which took place online on 16th September – raised concerns about organisations’ potential role in the 5G-port landscape, and intertwined their roles as investors or regulators, which are also important concerns for 5G-Blueprint. All the three port-cases presented (Guangzhou, Livorno and Yara Porsgrunn) are aiming for (private) 5G-networks in combination with other technologies that complement a (potential) absence of 5G, with the presented examples including abundance of fiber and sensors (in combination with) 5G NSA and Wifi-6. Ongoing quests for port authorities are to decide whether to focus on regulations, CAPEX or OPEX investments.
Interesting is also the difference in the selection procedure for choosing 5G SA in combination with other technologies: it was observed that the spatial environment and operational workflow guided the quest for 5G-solutions and therefore the motivation of parties to (or not to) invest in particular 5G-solutions. For instance, the explained sub-case of Nansha in the Guangzhou port, which is itself a port laying at some distance from the coastline: the port authority felt the urgency to fasten logistic operations in that area because the multimodal system of river-sea-rail benefits with an assumed 30/units per hour at the customs, 70% less workers required on the current total of 1100, and 95% less incidents with humans. That resulted in 10 5G base stations and 8 4G base stations (it has been mentioned that 1 driver can operate 4-8 rail cranes with 5G remote operation).
In the case of Yara Porsgrunn (Norway), the port authority faces indoor-outdoor 5G-issues, so they opted for 5G SA outdoor in combination with sensors indoor (which application was not disclosed). The Guangzhou and Livorno use-cases showed linkages with Digital Twins creation, used to identify where 5G-issues can occur during the logistic process.
It’s relevant to mention that all described cases only focus on private property, vessels and (mobile) cranes and not on public roads and trucks, for example.
one6G Summit 2022
Through the participation to the last one6G Summit – which also took place in virtual form, on 10th November – it’s evident that while (small-scale and) large-scale deployment of 5G-networks is still not a reality and that much (academic) research still needs to be carried out, the promise of the innovative technology 6G is to deliver faster telecommunication services than 5G does. The observation, ultimately, is that 5G’s inability to fulfil the necessary requirements for all use cases in all geographical areas (cities and regions) makes 6G needed.
At the moment, several consortia are indeed developing technology, policy frameworks and handouts for businesses and governments to incrementally adopt 6G. These consortia are mainly driven by global organisations, but need regional and local cooperation for use cases, knowledge and research and development: based on this notion, non-terrestrial 6G-networks are therefore seen as an interesting option for initial R&D.
Hive Live – held in-person in The Netherlands on 17th November – saw the participation of Edwin Bussum of KPN as speaker, offering an overview of 5G’s recent past and future developments: in the past decades, telecommunication providers have experienced a significant increase in the number and variety of clients, from the initial primary focus of using communication via (mobile) phone directly as a device to enable human contact.
This scope has radically changed. Telecommunication providers are not solely responsible for enabling the exchange of verbal words anymore: the goals are more diverse and more intense; let’s consider, for instance, precision agriculture using drones on a 5G-network. In order to be able to comply with the diversified and intensified demand, providers are reconsidering and innovating their business models and business strategies, with slicing and on-demand as key offerings.
In this landscape, the burning issue (and challenge) at hand for 5G is represented by the fact that the balance between demand and provision (investment and operational costs) is not viable and in some regions will probably stay as such.
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