Faces of the 5G World: Dreamers and Innovators for the Common Good

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We are at the dawn of the fifth generation of wireless technology and the horizon is seemingly limitless. Today’s smartphone-enabled marvels, which we often take for granted, offer just a hint of the transformations ahead in the 5G world.

5G technological advances are ushering in what Professor Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, sees as the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The First Industrial Revolution occurred in the 18th and 19th centuries as work migrated from farm to factory. Railroads, cars, and telephones, along with advances in production, moved us into the Second Industrial Revolution in the 50 years leading up to World War I. We have been living through the Third Industrial Revolution, often dubbed the digital age, for the last 40 years.

Like earlier transformations, the Fourth Industrial Revolution should completely change the human experience. Extraordinary technological advances are merging the physical, digital, and biological worlds. Our challenge is to harness the exponential changes taking place in computing, robotics, artificial intelligence, and other fields in the service of humankind to create a better world. 5G technology is essential to this endeavor.

Just ten years ago, state-of-the-art 4G technology enabled our texting, internet access, and video streaming. Today our cars, homes, and devices interact with the physical environment and make choices for us in how we shop, travel, and communicate. We stream on-demand, ultra-high-definition videos. The state-of-the-art has changed and the equipment and technology must keep up. 5G represents both the gateway and the transport to the world we are already building.

If you are driving on the highway at 70 mph and spot a potential hazard, you will need about 315 feet to react. This is based on the human reaction time of about 200-300 milliseconds. At 70 mph, a mere 40 feet can make the difference in whether an accident happens. Now imagine roads abundant with autonomous vehicles. For this to be safe, these cars will need to process massive amounts of data and communicate vehicle-to-vehicle with much faster reaction times. This is what 5G enables

In healthcare, 5G can open new frontiers in remote surgery, records management, and diagnostics. With integrated networks, data clouds, and devices, annual physical exams and visits to the doctor’s office may become unnecessary in many cases. Instead, wearable devices and home sensors could provide near-constant monitoring and facilitate timely treatment when necessary.

The virtual and augmented reality experience can be transformed with applications that go beyond gaming and entertainment and revolutionize areas such as education, manufacturing, workplace training, and medical diagnostics.

Drones operating with 5G technology can bring tremendous precision and new applications to agriculture, help improve the capabilities for law enforcement authorities and first responders to ensure public safety, and help enable a fleet of machines to deliver goods and products to homes across the world.

As Verizon and other wireless companies race to deploy 5G broadband networks in communities across the country this year and beyond, Faces of 5G is a new platform that will showcase the amazing potential of 5G use cases, innovations, and aspirations throughout all walks of life. To start:

  • Boulevard is bringing art to life using virtual, augmented, and mixed reality.
  • Street Smarts VR is using virtual reality to train law enforcement and first responders to be ready for the life-or-death situations they could encounter.
  • Silicon Harlem is a social venture designed to transform Harlem into a technology and innovation hub and hopes to see 5G’s capabilities narrow the digital divide.

These and the many other initiatives that Faces of 5G will be showcasing in the future demonstrate that our 5G future is about much more than incremental improvements to our gadgets. It is central to our economic future. 5G networks will help give rise to products and technologies that will sustain the virtuous cycle of innovation and creativity, ensuring that the United States remains the world leader in technology.

3G and 4G technology helped turn science fiction into daily life in the course of a generation. 5G will help enable us to achieve whatever we can conceive. Welcome to the revolution.

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