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The Promise of 5G at Home


5G is becoming reality with carriers rolling it out in limited markets. Combined with the scaling of the Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI), 5G offers new capabilities beyond enhanced broadband, including the promise of hyperconnectivity. With the added demand of sending and receiving data from IoT devices, ranging from refrigerators to dog collars, people will expect instantaneous gratification with 5G’s increased transmission speeds and amplified bandwidth.

In 2019, 5G will impact gaming, displays and TV experiences. 5G will boost AI — including virtual assistants such as Amazon’s Echo and Google Home. Early applications will include fixed wireless access for the home and connected shuttle services in cities. Ultimately real-time information will let cars talk to other cars, making roads safer and more efficient with always-on connected cameras, sensors and alarms.

The key to 5G lies in “how we take trials and learnings and make them consumable products,” says Igal Elbaz, SVP of wireless network architecture and design at AT&T. 5G will be a game changer in entertainment. It promises to deliver 4K and 8K Ultra High-Definition, 3D and holographic video, as well as augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) applications for gaming and immersive TV.

Immersive Experiences

With 5G, be thoroughly immersed in the comfort of your home as if you were at an events venue with new digital services and content for connected stadiums. For instance, live sports coverage could be broadcast with a 360-degree view from the athlete’s perspective.

In early 2018, Verizon used a prototype 5G network to stream live, 360-degree stereoscopic video from the Super Bowl in Minneapolis to VR headsets in New York City. It provided a virtual in-stadium experience to fans, including high-resolution replays on secondary screens that employed multiple 4K and HD video streams.

In Japan, NTT DOCOMO has hosted “new sensory music live events,’ employing a range of image technologies such as head-mounted displays and 3D-holographic image projection technology to give remote viewers the sense of a live performance. “8K video transmissions are ideal for customers who want a more realistic live experience of sports and music,” according to DOCOMO. “In combination with technologies like AR and VR, it has the potential to change the way we enjoy these things in the future.”

Vicky Coif, CTO at Warner Bros. says, “We’re engaging with 5G because we recognize 5G is going to impact how fans and consumers engage and interact with our content. But not just that — if you look at our production and distribution operation, it’s going to change fundamentally how those work as well. It’s going to improve how our creatives and employees function on a day-to-day basis.”

Connected Screens

Although smartphones will still be used, 5G can deliver video streams to many different displays. Every wall, surface and screen could become an entertainment window, letting consumers enjoy HD video without expensive hardware. Low-cost slim-line screens could remotely access interactive entertainment from cloud-based servers.

In 2020, Foxconn plans to produce 5G-connected displays supporting ultra-sharp 8K. Hollywood is beginning to produce movies in 8K, and Japanese public TV company, NHK, plans to broadcast the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in 8K. Meanwhile, personal 8K video cameras are becoming available from manufacturers like GoPro.

5G is expected to generate new investment across the ecosystem. “By 2035, 5G will enable $12.3 trillion of global economic output and support 22 million jobs worldwide,” says Ronan Dunne executive vice president and group president of Verizon Wireless. “5G is creating the conditions to bring pieces together and harness talent to build new opportunities. It will herald a new Renaissance,” adds Dunne.

Susan Schreiner

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