Assessing 5G use cases in Europe

5G means more use cases – doesn’t it? Well, yes it does, but are they commercially viable and therefore a good private investment? Or are they socially beneficial, and therefore a worthwhile public investment? Or is there a case for public and private to work together? 

We are often asked to apply our techno-economic skills to potential 5G use cases. Our work for the 5G MoNArch project on the business case for 5G in Hamburg port, for example, highlighted the ways in which 5G could improve onsite connectivity and support automation, resulting in identifiable cost savings and revenue enhancement. 

But what about less clearly defined business cases? 

For example, can 5G be a viable way to enhance remote health monitoring, emergency situation notification, diagnostics, intervention and ambulance routing? 

What about airport parking management, video-enhanced ground-based moving vehicles and emergency airport evacuation? 

Or how about an augmented tourism experience, telepresence, a robot-assisted museum guide and high-quality video service distribution? 

These are some of the use cases across the three testbed locations that we assessed for the EU project 5G-TOURS, an acronym, of sorts, for smarT mObility, media and e-health for toURists and citizenS. 

5G-TOURS is trialling these use cases in three European cities with a lot of help from, among many others, Samsung, Ericsson, Atos, TIM, Orange, Philips, Nokia – and Real Wireless.  

The fundamental feature of the 5G-TOURS concept is the dynamic use of the 5G network to seamlessly provide different types of services adapted to the specific needs of individual use cases. 5G-TOURS will therefore enable different capabilities such as network slicing, virtualisation, orchestration and broadcasting.  

The key for the three use cases I mentioned –broadly defined as health, airports and museums – is slicing and delivering private network services. The main Real Wireless responsibilities are threefold. Firstly, we have examined the potential benefits of the use cases. Then, in work that is ongoing, we are discussing performance and customer willingness to pay. Finally, we plan a cost analysis. We will then put benefits and willingness to pay alongside costs to answer, is it all worth it? 

There won’t be a simple set of answers of course. Unlike Hamburg, these three scenarios may not have an obvious attraction for private investors. But they may be justifiable targets for public financing or public-private partnerships. 

To get closer to at least some of the answers, however, is our job – and you can assess for yourself just how close we have got in our new paper* on the subject. 

We certainly feel our insights will prove valuable to the TOURS project. They could even inspire a whole new understanding of the potential of 5G. But even then, it may take some time to bring together the business models, technology and partnerships that can make that potential a reality. 

Related resources

*Click to access ‘Assessing the commercial case for 5G use cases of tomorrow: the role of Real Wireless in 5G-TOURS‘. 

Also you can see a 5G-TOURS use case in action – ‘The Garden of Forking Paths – 5G-TOURS Itinerant orchestra‘.

Plus, the educational TOURS use case won a Gold Award at the recent Educational Leaders Awards.

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