5G broadband could be the ticket for even smarter smart cities

Wed, 2015-11-11 06:00 -- SCC Staff

Blazing fast 5G wireless technology is generally expected to be available in the U.S. by 2020, although it may come sooner. Hopes are high for the new technology because of its speed and bandwidth. And several companies are working together to make 5G available sooner than 2020.

While 4G LTE has a download speed of roughly 15 Mbps, 5G will probably have 50 times the throughput.

But what 5G will mean for our increasingly connected world may be more interesting than how fast it is. Erik Kruse, director of communications company Ericsson's Networked Society Lab, spoke about it with International Business Times UK -- and we're sharing some of his thoughts and observations.

Self-driving cars and connected cars will be able to communicate with each other. One scenario would be a car close to an accident can warn the other cars behind it on the road. Also, they would be able to determine a better route in bad weather conditions or traffic congestion. 5G, Kruse believes, also will make communication between buses and bus stops and buses and operators possible, which would make service more responsive to how much or how little service is needed.

Smart home appliances will be connected and able to communicate with each other and monitor energy use as will electronics such as TV and computers.

Emergency services will be more effective — and safer. Firemen will have helmets that stream video in realtime which can be transmitted back to supervisors who can advise the responders on how to handle particularly risky conditions.

Companies working to make 5G available sooner than expected
Those are just a few of the possibilities, and Ericsson is far from the only communications company anxious to see 5G become reality. In September, Council Lead Partner Verizon announced it was working with Lead Partners Qualcomm and Cisco as well as Ericsson, Nokia, Samsung and Alcatel-Lucent to make 5G available sooner.

Verizon will field-test 5G in 2016 and anticipates having at least some part of a 5G network operational in 2017.

The company is already bringing out a combination of three smart cities solutions which could benefit greatly from 5G: intelligent video, intelligent lighting and intelligent traffic management. Considering that the annual overall cost of traffic congestion is roughly $121 billion, cities will likely welcome the solutions as well as others that can help them integrate their various systems and operations to make them run more smoothly, efficiently and with a lower cost.

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Verizon teams with partners to accelerate 5G advances
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Smart cities = connected cities