We spoke with Raja Shah, Senior Vice-President at Infosys (lead international sponsor of GovHack), responsible for a cluster of industries at Infosys across the Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa, including Communications, Media, Technology (CMT) as well as (SURE) which stands for Services, Utilities, Resources and Energy.
Over the past 20 years, we’ve seen the evolution of networks from 2G, 3G, 4G – increasingly more reliable, faster and cheaper, however, never before have we been on a transformational tipping point that 5G is poised to be — the technological advancements that come along with a fully developed 5G network will be life-changing.
But why is everyone from technology pundits to politicians and thought leaders talking about 5G? What are the characteristics that make this network innovation significantly different than before? And how can the community benefit from the technology?
The reality behind all the hype is that 5G is a high-speed network with massive bandwidth – theoretically 20 times faster than 4G. This high speed complemented with ultra-reliability, low latency, and network slicing make its applications pervasive across industries.
Can you imagine a world where a doctor from Los Angeles can robotically operate on a patient in Sydney?
This is only possible because of the ultra-low latency capabilities of 5G. Latency is the time delay required for information to travel across a network. With current networks the latency is approximately 100 milliseconds – which is incredibly fast, but makes it difficult to communicate in real-time. With 5G the latency is expected to be reduced to 1 millisecond making communication possible in near real-time, reducing the dependency on proximity.
5G will re-imagine the way we learn in Australia. Today content is still consumed through text, audio and pre-recorded video. With low latency, the virtual classroom experience will be as immersive as a real-classroom. A student from Australia could be part of a virtual classroom broadcasted live from say a university in the US, with class mates and peers from around the world – the future of learning powered by 5G is stimulating.
“One of the most innovative aspects of the 5G architecture is Network Slicing, where multiple virtual networks can be created on the same physical infrastructure – each network slice isolated end-to-end for a specific purpose”.
As an example the Healthcare industry has good applications for emergency situations. The network needed for a remotely conducted robotic surgery can be completely dedicated for the service under 5G, which would not be possible in the 4G networked world.
To complement Network Slicing, 5G will also allow more simultaneous connections, which is especially important as 5G will further enable development of autonomous technology, connected machinery, and dense IoT networks.
Will the price of bandwidth come down?
“It’s early stages for the technology. From an infrastructure standpoint 5G would not be a routine upgrade from 4G, as 5G will require extensive infrastructure set-up, and as the technology matures and becomes more widespread we should expect the technology to be more cost-effective”.
How are you helping customers to prepare?
“I meet with leaders across industries every day, and through every conversation I can see tremendous opportunity for Infosys to help partners, accelerating the chip to cloud integration enabled by 5G”.
Infosys launched the 5G living lab in Melbourne earlier in June, which is one of the five global locations selected for the 5G living lab. The global network of living labs will enable a co-creation environment for their partner ecosystem, including clients, academia and government. Infosys’ unique technology and consulting capabilities are well-suited to help operators adopt and deploy open source solutions complemented by global strategic partnerships.
“Infosys is the digital transformation partner for the Australian Open, and in partnership with Tennis Australia we’ve developed interesting use cases where a person can experience the game of tennis live in the comfort of their home. You can choose to play a set against your favourite tennis star in a high bandwidth environment, seeing real-time statistics or enjoy an immersive virtual shopping experience.”
Raja Shah thinks that most cities and surrounds will have 5G coverage depending on the population, which could include remote places if there’s an application for it.
“A lot of things will go from lab to life with 5G”.
Story by Peter Marks for GovHack