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The healthcare sector is one of the vertical markets expected to benefit dramatically from the introduction of 5G. Healthcare accounts for approximately 9-10% of national Gross Domestic Products (GDP) in Europe (1), and this is anticipated to increase over the next decade due to an ageing population needing further healthcare support.

The containment of budget is one of the biggest socio-economic challenges today and development of technologies such as 5G will be instrumental to wireless efficiency reserves such as assisted self-management capabilities that will enable less qualified personnel to run routine tasks on behalf of more qualified professionals.

5G will also enable the advancements in services such as “Precision Medicine” following a distributed, patient centric approach benefiting from the 5G modular and more distributed. 5G also has huge potential to better enable surgeons using operating robots by cutting latencies and allowing the remote use of robots from anywhere.

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The communication between vehicles, especially for the emergency services, has been in development for many years. New advancements in autonomous vehicles has also been a technology focus, with the use of satellite navigation, in-car sensors and cameras, radar and lidar. 5G will provide improved ultra-low latency and ultra-high reliability that will take autonomous vehicles and vehicle communication to the next level, from assisted-driving to cooperative autonomous driving.

A great example of 5G in autonomous cars was demonstrated at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea. Hyundai and the Korean Telecom (KT) Corporation teamed up with Korea’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport to deploy a fleet of autonomous buses to ship guests around the Olympic Village. Buses were 5G-equipped, allowing them to access live information about their surroundings via the local high-speed network. Meanwhile, Hyundai used the Olympics as an opportunity to showcase its driverless Nexo SUV, the first autonomous electric vehicle to be powered with a fuel cell. In February 2018, the Nexo drove itself from Seoul to PyeongChang: a journey of nearly 130km.

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During the past decade, the Internet of Things (IoT) has revolutionized ubiquitous computing with a multitude of applications built around different sensors. Vast amounts of activities are seen in IoT based product-lines and this is expected to grow in the future with a predicted average of 6-7 devices per person by year 2020 (2).

With most of the issues at device and protocol levels solved during the past decade, there is now a growing trend in integration of sensors and sensor-based systems with cyber physical systems and device-to-device (D2D) communications. 5G and IoT are taking centre stage as devices are expected to form a major portion of this 5G network paradigm.

IoT technologies, e.g. machine-to-machine communication, complemented with intelligent data analytics are expected to drastically change landscape of many industries. The emergence of cloud computing and its extension to fog paradigm with proliferation of intelligent `smart’ devices is expected to lead further innovation in IoT. Researchers, scientists, and engineers face emerging challenges in designing IoT based systems that can efficiently be integrated with the 5G wireless communications.

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5G is set to pave the way for a new generation of robots, as it will be the first to wirelessly address the need of robotic applications rather than increasing data rates and expanding coverage like previous generations.

This ambitious standard, called IMT-2020 by the global regulators International Telecommunications Union (ITU) will accomplish this by completely revolutionise the way cellular networks are built, the devices they can connect with, the frequencies at which they operate, and the applications they serve.

Some 5G robots will be enabled to roam freely, controlled via wireless rather than wired communications links and exploit the vast computing and data storage resources of the cloud. Armed with these capabilities, robots can be precisely controlled dynamically in near real-time and be connected to people and machines locally and globally.

In short, 5G will fully enable applications such as the “factory of the future” and many, many others that were previously beyond the capabilities of both cellular and robotics technologies.

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