CEO of BT’s Enterprise unit, Gerry McQuade, added that “over the next 15 years, 5G technologies are expected to contribute 2.2 trillion dollars to the global economy. It will deliver far more than enhanced mobile broadband services for consumers and will have a far bigger impact in the enterprise space, by transforming entire industries. But 5G can’t be viewed in isolation. It needs to be considered as a vital component of a brand-new digital ecosystem comprising the Internet of Things, data analytics, AI, mobile edge computing, content and cloud infrastructure."
In particular, EE, part of BT Group, was the first operator to launch a 5G network in the UK, with Belfast being one of six cities chosen for phase one of the roll out.
The Chief Executive of Belfast Harbour, Joe O’Neill, added that "using the very latest technologies and collaborating with expert partners is a key part of how we will deliver that vision for Belfast. What we’ve seen so far has given us a real appetite to continue exploring how 5G enabled applications will help us transform the Port and Belfast’s waterfront, boost trade and make an even more significant contribution to Northern Ireland’s economy.”
5G can provide ultra-fast speeds and the reliability needed, while Ubimax, the augmented reality solution specialists can provide the software for the headsets. These computing devices can be easily worn by any operational staff working out in the Port.
Moreover, the hands-free headsets which are built to work with personal protective equipment such as hard hats, can be handy in hazardous environments, where health and safety is of outmost priority.
Ubimax CEO Dr. Hendrik Witt, notes that "our xAssist remote support solution will not only support the frontline workers in their daily tasks, using hands-free Augmented Reality and wearable computing devices will also help solve issues faster and reduce downtimes significantly.”
The live demonstrations performed over BT’s public 5G network, for the first time in the country, show two 5G enabled applications that are being explored by Belfast Harbour as part of their vision for creating a “Smart Port” and an iconic waterfront for the City.
Notably, through the demonstration, it can be seen how information can be directly delivered to staff whenever and wherever needed, showcasing how maintenance activities can be simplified and improved.
The first demonstration shows a member of Belfast Harbour’s operations team wearing an augmented reality headset connected to a 5G device. They can be seen inspecting one of the Harbour’s cranes and receiving step-by-step maintenance guidance and remote support through video collaboration with a remote expert, via an application server in the cloud.
The second demonstration shows a 5G immersive experience, demonstrating how virtual reality can be limitless with the use of 5G, allowing participants without the geographical mobility to draw virtual reality content down from the cloud. Thus, participants can all be connected into the same real-time, virtual presentation or training event.
In fact, the VR solution from VRtuoso helps with content creation and event session management. The connectivity needed for the content download and such real time event interaction, can only be provided by 5G.
Francesco Furnari, VRtuoso CEO, adds that “we have commoditized VR production, content generation and usage meaning enterprises can now embed VR and AR in all facets of their business, in a matter of minutes and with no technical experience required."
Immersive experiences have the potential to transform marketing and training activities. They can enable companies with large fixed infrastructures, such as Belfast Harbour, to take the Harbour to the customer, letting them experience the environment and services in a much more captivating and immediate way.
Gerry McQuade, CEO of BT’s Enterprise unit highlighted that
The demonstrations we’ve shown today are a powerful illustration of what 5G can do for business, both here in Northern Ireland and across the UK. They’ve shown that 5G will be the catalyst for a revolution in how technology supports people, enables workplaces and simplifies operations.
In late 2018, the Port of Hamburg Authority along with partners successfully tested an innovative 5G application focusing on fixed-line and mobile communications aiming to contribute to the efficient operation of the port. The app aspiring to enhance the traffic in the port and provide a helpful tool for HPA, was the first of its kind to allow networks to be adapted dynamically and flexibly to the demands of a broad spectrum of applications.
Additionally, Nokia, ABB and Kalmar successfully conducted industrial trials that use the low latency capabilities of 5G to support applications and improve protection and efficiency in smart electricity grid and harbor automation, as part of the Wireless for Verticals (WIVE) research project.