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5G is the fifth-generation cellular network – and follows on from 4G most recently, and 3G and 2G before that.
Three main points of difference set 5G aside from 4G. These are:
Connectivity is vital, and with 5G enabling faster connections between devices, the technology provides a better connection between you and what’s important. In future, 5G-enabled Wi-Fi routers could bring this next generation technology and all its benefits into your home, creating an alternative to traditional home broadband.
Therefore, 5G has the potential to provide significant benefits across some of the West Midlands’ key growth sectors. At West Midlands 5G, we are actively working to develop new 5G-enabled applications and services within transport, health and social care, and manufacturing.
In transport, we’re helping to drive significant innovation across the West Midlands transport network through several 5G trials, including real-time parking availability, HD CCTV for the region’s tram network and utilising existing 5G infrastructure to count traffic. In September 2020, we announced our support for seven exciting new projects to help transform the region’s transport network for the better.
In manufacturing, 5G is revolutionising the way industries across the region are operating; from improving machinery efficiency through sensor trials, to helping businesses securely and quickly transfer data along their supply chains.
Long before the outbreak of COVID-19, our healthcare system was already under a significant amount of pressure. In the UK and in similar developed countries, the growth in ageing populations and chronic diseases, such as cancer, have meant a sharp rise in the need for more medical and social care. As a result, there is an inherent need to improve our healthcare system – with new technologies including 5G offering critical opportunities to improve patient care and productivity.
In June 2019, West Midlands 5G partnered with BT and University Hospitals Birmingham to trial the UK’s first 5G Connected Ambulance. This demonstration showcased the very latest developments in remote diagnostics. By connecting paramedics in real-time with doctors back at the hospital, they are empowered to diagnose conditions even more effectively at first point of patient contact.
The trial demonstrated how a paramedic was able to perform a remote-controlled ultrasound scan on a patient in an ambulance over a public 5G network. Real-time high definition imagery was fed back to a physician over a 5G video link – something that 4G is not fast enough to support. The doctor in the hospital was able to control the ultrasound scan through a special haptic glove. This meant that the doctor could make a more accurate diagnosis on behalf of the paramedic, allowing the patient to be transferred to the most appropriate hospital to receive the right care.
This practice was made possible by the real-time data transfer speeds 5G enables, meaning that emergency services are now able to perform tasks at rapid speeds whilst on the go, including those that previously wouldn’t have been possible, such as an ultrasound. Healthcare professionals say the technology will save lives and reduce waiting times.
WM5G’s aim is to use 5G to make a real and positive difference to the people, businesses and public sector in the West Midlands. We are demonstrating the endless possibilities of 5G from personal use to industrial-scale operations. If this is something you would like to be involved in, please get in touch.