Five 5G Enterprise use cases
Among other benefits, private networks provide ultra-low latency, reliability, security, and resilience. These capabilities enable a host of applications that have been gaining ground in the recent years. In this article, we explore five 5G Enterprise use cases, ranging from video analytics for production and maintenance to 5G-enabled in-stadium experiences.
Along with increased control, security, and reliability, adoption of private 5G networks is driven by the ability to augment connectivity-enabled use cases to drive enhanced business outcomes and better performance.
For this article, we have picked five 5G Enterprise use cases that range from video analytics to in-stadium experiences. While some of the use cases are more futuristic, private 5G is also well-suited to enhance existing use cases such as push-to-talk communications.
Below, we explore each of the 5G enterprise use cases in detail, highlighting how they work, the industry verticals for which they are relevant, as well as real-world deployment examples. The role of private 5G in enhancing or enabling these 5G use cases is to provide secure, reliable and ultra-low latency connectivity to support a variety of functions e.g. real-time data analytics (data coming from the a video feed, sensors or other sources), high-quality communications etc.
1. Video analytics for production and maintenance
How does it work?
The first 5G use case is video analytics for production and maintenance. Data generated from video cameras is analysed with the help of AI, analytics, and machine learning to detect and pre-empt production errors, machine breakage and defects. The system is set up to trigger automatic command functions connected to the production line and equipment, or ERP systems. Monitoring video feeds and detecting production defects without human input will help eliminate human error as well as reduce labour costs and raw material waste. Additionally, video analytics-enabled equipment maintenance will minimise downtime by diagnosing issues more accurately.
Deployment example: Nokia provided industrial-grade 5G standalone core for a Finnish test mine
“Nokia has partnered with Sandvik, a Swedish tool manufacturer (mining division) which will use the cellular network as a springboard to test and develop prototype mining solutions. A press statement from the two companies lists its use for industrial automation, and specifically for remote control of deep-underground machinery from a surface control centre using 4K video links.”
2. Push-to-talk communications
How does it work?
The next 5G use case on the list is Push-to-talk (PTT) communication. PPT applications allow for people to communicate with one another in a group, particularly in mission-critical situations, regardless of location/coverage. Traditional PTT works (Land Mobile Radio) like a “walkie talkie”; a button is used to switch users from voice mode to transmit mode.
Enterprises need to be able to communicate on PTT using video and messaging as well as voice, but this is sometimes expensive to do using traditional technology. LTE/5G (private or public) can do this across a higher range of devices and remove the need for the enterprise to operate its own network.
Deployment example: Nornickel successfully completes testing of private LTE/5G at Skalisty mine
“Nornickel has tested a private LTE/5G network in cooperation with Nokia, Ericsson, Huawei, MTS, and Megaphone. The testing was conducted at Nornickel’s Skalisty Gluboky, the deepest mine in Eurasia, at a depth of 875 m using 1.8GHz—2.6GHz frequencies for LTE and 28 MHz for 5G. The private LTE/5G technology has proven effective in ensuring robust and safe high-speed data transmission and communications (push-to-talk, two-way talk) in difficult mining conditions underground.”
3. In-stadium experiences
Live events including concerts, performances and sporting games have been revitalised after a long pause due to the pandemic. Private 5G and other emerging technologies such as edge computing have a big potential to augment the in-stadium/venue experience for audiences. For example, it is possible to organise multi-angle, immersive backstage viewing with virtual reality. Additionally, viewers can watch live action or replays due to high-speed connectivity. Private 5G can also enable crowd density analytics to help avoid over-crowding.
Deployment example: The 5G Stadium lab in France’s National Velodrome
“Nokia equipped a local stadium with a robust and ubiquitous 5G private wireless network — in partnership with the city of Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines in France. The National Velodrome serves as the host arena to the 2022 Tissot UCI Track Cycling World Championships. The event will provide enhanced viewing and entertainment experiences for everyone from fans and athletes to organizers and broadcasters.”
4. Automated guided vehicles
AGVs autonomously carry loads along a factory floor/facility and don’t require a human operator. A mix of sensor and software-based systems direct their movements & help them navigate with real-time instructions for routing logic e.g. stop, accelerate, start, reverse etc.
Manned vehicles are subject to high labour costs and human error. As a result, companies are looking to replace these with AGVs. Using AGVs can help not only improve efficiency, reliability and accuracy but also reduce labour costs, eliminate human error and increase workplace safety.
Deployment example: Brussels Airport innovates with Private 5G Network
“Brussels Airport Company built a 5G-ready network at the airport in collaboration with Finnish Nokia and Belgian operator Citymesh. As one of the first sites in Belgium with 5G technology, the airport is able to speed up its operational efficiency and support further technological innovation.
A private 5G-ready network offers a more efficient, more reliable and faster connectivity than WiFi or public 4G across the airport grounds. Thanks to the higher capacity of 5G, the airport will be able to deploy additional technologies, such as IoT (Internet of Things), automated vehicles, mobile safety systems or track & trace technology. This increases the operational efficiency and at the same time the reliability of the systems at Brussels Airport.”
5. In-hospital patient monitoring
In-hospital monitoring is done to enhance health outcomes and provide timely care for patients who need it. Monitoring devices collect important patient data that needs to be handled securely and analysed in real time to send notifications to healthcare teams to flag unusual trends, sudden changes in vital signs etc. Private networks are well-suited to enable this 5G use case given that, by design, they are extremely secure and reliable. This creates significant resource efficiency for clinicians, increasing productivity and decreasing cost per patient
Deployment example: Virgin Media O2 and Nokia deploy private 5G network for NHS hospital in UK
“The business arm of Virgin Media O2 (now being abbreviated as VMO2, we are informed) in the UK is working with Finnish vendor Nokia on a private 5G deployment for an NHS hospital in South London, to variously support remote patient monitoring, remote maintenance assistance, medicine storage and tracking, waste and air quality monitoring, and space mapping and management. The trials are investigating the efficiency, safety and security benefits of using smart, 5G-connected technologies in NHS hospitals – including IoT, AR, and AI… Expected benefits range from better connectivity to save clinicians time and improve patient records, to reducing medicine waste and improving air quality.”
Author: Ani Keshishyan is a Consultant at STL Partners, specialising in edge computing, 5G, and innovation.