MWC Keynote 2 Recap: Showing Innovation in Action
“[5G] is the innovation that makes other innovations possible,” said Verizon Chairman and CEO Hans Vestberg in his opening remarks at the second keynote of MWC Barcelona.
And innovative use cases were on full display throughout the session, where executives from Verizon, Amazon Web Services and Qualcomm shared examples of how they’re pioneering mobile industry advancements with 5G.
Example 1: Robotics
One of the most eye-catching examples during the keynote were Verizon’s autonomous mobile robots, named “Gigi” (after 5G) and MEC (for multi-edge computing). Verizon is working on 5G as a means of enabling robots to connect and communicate with each other.
“From the beginning, one of the motivations of robotics was to do work that was too dull, dirty and dangerous for humans,” said Verizon’s Chief Strategy Officer Rima Qureshi. “Today, robotics are autonomous and can be used indoors and out for a wide variety of tasks.”
Qureshi named several industries the robots could be used in, such as mining and manufacturing, as well as locations like warehouses and ports.
“We are seeing a growing demand for systems that can handle production or distribution traffic safely and efficiently,” said Qureshi.
Example 2: Connected Cars
President and CEO-Elect of Qualcomm Cristiano Amon explained how 5G positioning is complementing satellite-based positioning to help vehicles become autonomous. 5G V2X communication helps vehicles “talk” to other cars and devices.
“That can lead to real benefits like improved efficiency for transportation and increased safety for people on the road,” said Amon.
Amon said Qualcomm is also showing how V2X is complementing wide area 5G for applications like navigation with high-resolution 3D maps.
Example 3: Drones
On the MWC stage, Verizon’s Qureshi also showcased footage of a 5G drone use case. With current connectivity, they need to land frequently to download data, which wastes time and battery power.
Not so with 5G. 5G-connected drones have many more useful applications and can be used over much longer distances.
“Once you connect [drones] to the network, the flow of information can become as fast as the network itself,” said Qureshi, explaining this increases the ability to collect and act on data.
Qureshi shared how connected drones were used to transmit live aerial footage of a Washington wildfire to an incident management team 1,600 miles away in Alaska. The air quality was unsafe for humans and visibility was poor. The drone was able to transmit video over 4G/LTE. With 5G networks, drones will be able to stream 360-degree, 4K video.
Example 4: Edge Computing
Vestberg explained that Verizon’s vision is to provide a multipurpose network that combines the mobility of 5G with the immense storage capacity and computing power of the cloud. And MAEC (multi-access edge computing) will bring “the power of the cloud right to the edge of the [5G] network itself.”
“We see several business opportunities on the same multipurpose network for 5G: mobility, fixed wireless access and MAEC,” said Vestberg.
According to Vestberg, Verizon was the first company to launch MAEC in partnership with AWS Wavelength. Incoming AWS CEO Adam Selipsky explained that AWS is helping service providers deploy services at the edge.
“There’s such a need for low latency and the very high throughput and massive connectivity,” said Selipsky. “Putting the compute and the AI and the ability to really run microinfrastructure all the way out at the edge is starting to unlock brand new services.”
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