Exploring the Verticals of 5G Across Industries

Posted by in Business & Entrepreneurship, Science & Technology

5G is the next generation of the current 4G communication network that can provide more features such as high speed, capacity, and network scalability. Standards, capabilities, and technologies vision for 5G is still under consideration and discussion. International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in 2015, presented their roadmap for 5G in term of ‘IMT-2020’. ITU has defined a few parameters, which can be considered vital for 5G technology:

  • The requirement of low latency must be supported (1ms or less than 1ms),
  • 10Gbps to 20Gbps data rate must be achieved in different scenarios and conditions,
  • The high dense network must be supported and enable massive machine-type communication,
  • High mobility (up to 500km/h) must be achieved in the network.

5G will be a complete game-changer for not only the telecom industry but also every other sector that connects to it in one way or another. It is designed to connect millions of devices per square kilometer, high data rate, extremely low latency, higher reliability, and mobility. These qualities enable 5G to support various applications from nearly every vertical, from agriculture to automation. It will contribute to business growth for a wide range of companies and boost the economy. Although it influences every sector, some industries that will benefit from it are automotive, media and entertainment, healthcare, transportation, smart city, and public safety applications.

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5G technology will play a transformative role in our daily lives and bring a myriad of new applications and services to us. It can handle big data and cloud computing much better than the other similar wireless standards and in a much cost-effective way. 5G in vertical industries enhances efficiency and productivity.  The demands of emerging new technologies are much more than the usual services we have; 5G is the perfect fit for all such applications as it is designed by considering all those existing and emerging applications. 5G will optimize various vertical industries’ performance as its reliability, security, latency, and bandwidth standards benefit the industries in a scalable and economical way. 5G supports various business models enabling vertical industries to rapidly deploy their services as it supports a larger number of applications. The broadband services have now beyond basic internet access, and it will grow with time. Media and entertainment services require high bandwidth as user demands high video resolutions; the sensors share a large amount of data continuously, which needs to be transmitted by hundreds of megabytes per second. This demand for high traffic and usage scenarios with a large population such as in large cities, universities, and rail networks expect services anytime. On the other side, rural and remote areas also need to stay connected. The satellite network can support implementing the 5G services in many scenarios to support the terrestrial network. It will accelerate 5G deployment and create new and growing market opportunities. Many vertical industries, such as transport and logistics, rely on ubiquitous coverage that can be achieved via satellite. Support of the satellite communication network will help the terrestrial network by offering additional bandwidth resources. Satellite network can help save the infrastructure installation cost of terrestrial 5G, and it is also less exposed to earth surface-bound incidents and conflicts.

The above discussion shows us how 5G can help change our lives and open new business opportunities across different verticals. Now let’s have a closer look at some of the verticals that will benefit from 5G.

Role of 5G in Automotive and Transportation

5G is becoming the future of autonomous vehicles, with its millisecond latencies, high-bandwidth, and network slicing capabilities. The arrival of 5G presents incredible new revenue opportunities for many stakeholders in the automotive ecosystem, from the automakers themselves to new entrants creating innovative services. It truly is an exciting time.

The automobile industry is at the start of a transformation that will take 15 to 20 years to realize. Billions of dollars are being invested in advanced vehicle technologies that will introduce new safety and efficiency systems, and ultimately, driverless cars. These future generations of automobiles will require sophisticated wireless telecoms to communicate with one another, with local traffic control systems, with manufacturers and third-party service providers.

Vehicle communication and information sharing about road infrastructure, traffic patterns, pedestrians, and other road activities will assist the automatic driving service. The High connectivity of 5G with reliable service will improve road safety and enhance traffic management. Connectivity and data exchange for sensors will help improve coordination among vehicles and adapt to traffic conditions. Operating vehicles from a remote site, providing high definition mapping services with high accuracy to detect the surrounding obstacles, cooperation and exchange of information with vehicles in surroundings can reduce the probability of accidents and help in situations like traffic jams, etc. Coordinating the trajectories of vehicles near each other in real-time and precise positioning information, all these services can be provided with 5G technology because the existing technologies cannot support the services they require.

The automotive industry can benefit from 5G in different ways, enhancing this vertical performance by providing extraordinary reliable services. Situation awareness like icy roads or blocked roads, informing nearby vehicles in emergencies, these all can be achieved through 5G. Providing infotainment services for passengers without any streaming problems and interruptions will make it more pleasant. 5G technology will enable many different unique services in the automotive industry, like platooning of vehicles. One of the vehicles to be formed as a leader and other vehicles in the group follow the leading vehicles. These examples help demonstrate the potential of 5G to boost the realization of highly automated driving. 5G offers substantial advantages and new capabilities that 4G-LTE is not offering. Besides the massive advantage of additional bandwidth brought by 5G and the expected comprehensive coverage facilitated by using different parts of the frequency spectrum, 5G also offers advanced features, which will improve customer mobility and customer experience.

5G satisfies the requirements of the automotive sector by providing high levels of reliability and availability. Low latency makes a timely response, as the automotive vertical calls for low latencies for stable performance and safety requirements. Seamless connectivity is essential for safety applications, and real-time communication is necessary because outdated information of maps or other related information can compromise safety or lead to other consequences.

The most critical factors for 5G to meet its full potential in cars are:

  • High mobile connectivity capabilities, quick connection to devices, and the maintenance of a stable connection at high speed,
  • Low latency for critical road information and potentially dangerous high-speed situations,
  • High device-density capability, as many devices will be connected at the same time in (or passing through) a small area,
  • Security, hacking of vehicles, and interception of sensitive data is a growing problem, and thus we must make the communication between devices as secure as possible,
  • Extreme reliability is critical, especially for autonomous steering and navigation.

Many experts agree that for autonomous car technology to be unlocked, large-scale adoption of 5G is required. The current 4G network is fast enough to stream full HD content and play online games, but it can’t support safer and smarter autonomous cars.

Nokia’s Jane Rygaard, in a recent interview with the BBC, said that: “We need to look at how long it takes for the message to be transmitted between sensors and then get to the computer in each car, and then how long it takes for the computer to make a decision, and all of this has to be in less time than a human would take to make a decision — 2 milliseconds. We need a network supporting this, and 5G is that network.”

The current 4G network is not fast enough to provide the capability to give autonomous vehicles human-like reflexes that may have prevented the Uber vehicle fatality. Driverless cars are just one of the many incredible technologies that are likely to be ushered in with 5G. Virtual reality and artificial intelligence are two more examples of the breakthroughs that we can expect once the data network catches up with technological advancement.

Evolution of the Networks

The wireless data network has advanced steadily over the past 30 years, and some life-changing technologies have been hot on its heels. The modern evolution began in the early ’80s with the introduction of the first-generation analog cellular system. Though cell phones were still relatively rare, people could finally talk to each other on the go.

By the early ’90s, second-generation and 2.5G mobile systems enabled people to send text, but it wasn’t until the new millennium that people had access to broadband-speed internet through 3G. Phones evolved from devices for making calls to a tool for multifaceted communication, entertainment, shopping, and much more.

4G is the latest evolution, and it offers enough bandwidth and speed to allow real-time information- and location-sharing. This evolvement enabled the sharing economy and helped give birth to companies like Uber and Lyft. However, it’s still not fast enough to support technologies that require the speed of human reflexes. That’s where 5G comes in.

Why 5G is Crucial for Autonomous Cars

The fifth-generation wireless technology is expected to connect almost everything around us with an ultra-fast, highly reliable, and fully responsive network. 5G will allow us to leverage the full potential of advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and the Internet of Things (IoT).

Self-driving cars use hundreds of sensors to make vehicles faster and smarter. These sensors generate unprecedented amounts of data, much more than any other IoT adoption would. Handling, processing, and analyzing this amount of data requires a much faster network than the existing 4G technology. Autonomous cars require incredible data processing capabilities and speeds needed to mimic the timing of human reflexes.

According to Dr. Joy Laskar, CTO of Maja Systems, future autonomous cars will generate nearly two petabits of data, equivalent to 2 million gigabits. “With an advanced Wi-Fi connection, it will take 230 days to transfer a week-worth of data from a self-driving car, and that is why we need much faster ASIC processing technology and products,” Laskar said. 

The world’s leading semiconductor companies, such as Intel and Qualcomm, are advancing toward an ASICs revolution, combining sizeable available bandwidth at 5G frequencies with new innovative digital radio and antenna architectures. Simply put, these companies are creating chips to turn autonomous vehicles into mobile data centers, allowing driverless cars to make real-time, complex decisions. 

Market watchers say that 5G, when adopted at the full scale, will offer internet speeds up to 100 times faster than 4G. It will present exciting possibilities for the automobile industry used for vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-everything (V2X) connectivity. Furthermore, the technology’s low latency will make these vehicles extraordinarily safe and reliable on the roads, safer than vehicles today operated by people.

Edge Computing Powered by 5G

Offering a range of advantages, edge computing is recognized by many experts as one of the latest significant enterprise trends. Edge computing refers to infrastructure that allows data processing as close to the source as possible, enabling faster processing of data, reduced latency, and overall better outcomes. When it comes to edge computing, there are many challenges in terms of network reliability.

With autonomous cars comes the responsibility of managing the infrastructure, which processes massive amounts of unstructured data and privacy protection when collecting sensitive data at the edge. Edge computing will allow lightning-fast response time because 5G promised lower latency, the ability to offload computing tasks, and better location awareness.

Remote Pilots

Another key reason why 5G is crucial for autonomous cars is the inclusion of specific vehicle safety measures. For example, suppose a self-driving car fails to navigate due to a traffic jam caused by a road accident. The autopilot feature might hand the reins over to the driver. However, it would not be possible in the case of an elderly or a disabled rider. For this reason, many tech companies have been testing remote pilots, who are trained drivers sitting miles away in a simulator that can take over instantly. However, to achieve it, a stable and fast connection offered by 5G would be crucial.

Additionally, 5G will provide passengers in self-driving cars with high-quality infotainment services. It will make communications service providers an essential partner for autonomous cars, whether for data analytics, safety, or entertainment. Further opportunities for 5G technology to enhance self-driving car technology exist. These opportunities are yet to be explored by regular examination of the safety performance of autonomous vehicles.

If you are concerned about driverless cars on the road, think about smartphone devices’ evolution over the past few decades. At one point, you probably couldn’t even imagine being able to make a call to someone on the other side of the world from a pocket-sized device. Today, you can’t imagine a day without the ability to connect to friends, family, and colleagues around the world using your mobile phone. Technology and network evolution bring incredible and useful advancements to society. 5G’s promises to bring safer and smarter self-driving cars would be one of the most remarkable developments of our time.

The real-time exchange of information between vehicles will be a breakthrough in road safety. Using additional WBAN (Wireless Body Area Network) for drivers, especially in large vehicles, will continuously monitor their health parameters. The results of such monitoring and analysis may have a crucial impact on road and railway safety. In the future, in the era of the 5G communication network, ITS will construct the architecture of multi-network access and integration, multi-channel Internet access. The new V2X communication mode based on D2D technology, and the characteristics of low delay and high reliability, efficient utilization of spectrum and energy, superior communication bring historic opportunities for the development of ITS. There is no need to deploy roadside infrastructure separately and share billing with mobile communication functions. It will develop rapidly and be applied in many environments, such as expressways, urban blocks, etc. Vehicle sensors collect information and send data to the cloud center through a 5G high-speed connection. The cloud center isolates the data (for network security), distributes the data to different departments for processing, and uses them for traffic control. Depending on the 5G high-precision location service, roadside signs can even be removed. Some navigation systems will be integrated with the mainstream traffic management and control system to enable vehicles to obtain the system’s instructions and recommendations quickly. When the navigation system calculates the path, it will calculate according to the driver’s preference. The 5G-based ITS not only contains information exchange between vehicles and transportation infrastructure but also can be applied in the commercial field. 5G communication terminals will be deployed in stores, fast restaurants, hotels, gas stations, 4S shops to realize efficient and fast communication between terminals and promote the emergence and development of a new largescale business operation mode. Traditional on-board perception/decision/control based on single intelligence will evolve to collaborative perception/decision/control based on Networked intelligence. In the future, 5G communication technology will fuse radar, video sensing, and other technologies and combine with new technologies such as artificial intelligence and big data to further enable ITS.

Unloading Scheme and Resource Allocation Strategies: Under the latency constraints, unloading the computing task into the MEC server can save energy consumption and improve computing capacity. Due to the rapid movement of the vehicles and frequent BS switching, in the design and calculation of the unloading strategy, it is overarching to track the moving vehicle to ensure no interruption during the uninstallation. Also, since there are differences in computing power, data size, and priority of the MEC server, it is necessary to allocate appropriate communication and computing resources for different computing tasks

Identity Authentication and Privacy Protection Strategies: To support the increasing data traffic, large capacity, and efficient security, new mechanisms are demanded in the 5G wireless communication network. More frequent authentication is required between the users and different access points to prevent fake terminals and middlemen’s attack. Since the data transmission of 5G-IoV users and vehicles is generally performed via the vehicle units, mobile terminals, and BS(s), effective measures should be designed to ensure the security of communication and integrity of data.

How 5G Will Transform the Media

The Media sector can immensely benefit from 5G technology as it will drastically increase the bandwidth and reduce latency. The average monthly usage of a person in the modern world is increasing day by day, and soon it will come to a point, which cannot be supported by alternative wireless broadband services. Emerging applications like interactive media live audio and video streaming, professional content production, machine-generated content, ultra high definition content, smart education, and others can be identified as use cases for 5G in the media sector. The media production and delivery require high-speed service for its functionalities. In today’s digital world, it is very common that people record ongoing events on their smartphones and broadcast them on their social media. The needs of this live broadcast can be fulfilled by 5G. Other scenarios that have emerged with time are the demand for high-quality videos and delivering this video content to a broadcasting center or a remote control room where this recorded event needs to be analyzed or edited or used for any other purpose. 5G technology provides seamless connectivity and supports high bandwidth and low latency and synchronization.

Virtual Reality (VR) games are also getting popular, and the interaction of multiple users involves transmitting and receiving data simultaneously. 5G technology provides high location accuracy to the headset of VR, low latency, and bandwidth support to share high pixel resolution. Latency and throughput are essential in VR games, and to meet these standards, 5G is the perfect fit. Another application that will benefit from 5G is the smart campus, online education. The 5G will play a vital role in improving education quality by facilitating the students and teachers. Dynamic allocation of resources is required here to carry different educational activities, as the number of people engaged in the activity can vary.

5G Empowering Smart City

A smart, sustainable city is an innovative city that uses information and communication technologies (ICTs) and other means to improve quality of life, the efficiency of urban operation and services, and competitiveness while ensuring that it meets the needs of present and future generations concerning economic, social and environmental aspects.

Smart cities use the Internet of Things (IoT) to collect real-time data to understand better how demand patterns are changing and respond with faster and lower-cost solutions. Digital city ecosystems are designed to run on ICT frameworks that connect several dedicated networks of mobile devices, sensors, connected cars, home appliances, communication gateways, and data centers.

There are already many IoT projects that use other connectivity options, but the arrival of 5G promises to help to combine individual projects into a more interconnected whole. IoT sensors generate massive volumes of data that need to be communicated back to city planners and urban authorities to analyze it and make informed decisions about changes they need to make. 5G is compatible with many diverse types of sensors and monitoring devices. What’s more, the higher capacity and throughput over 5G also makes it possible to process data much faster than on current networks while decreasing bandwidth and reducing energy consumption.

Cities are the hub of business activities and have the most number of users or connected objects than any other situation. Many new applications to facilitate the government and citizens are included in the smart city. A huge number of 5G cells are deployed in cities connecting millions of objects. Different sensors and actuators related to different services require connectivity and data sharing facility. An example of a smart city-related application can be the video cameras installed for monitoring and surveillance. When a violation is detected, notification or alarm with location and time stamp is sent to the concerned authority. This system’s requirements can be fulfilled by 5G by using its localization feature, low latency, ubiquitous connectivity, and high throughput. An intelligent public lighting system is another smart city project where the lighting system is operated remotely and efficiently managed. It can also share the history of energy consumption and notify the maintenance issues. 5G supports the IoT for smart cities because of its high connectivity feature for millions of devices. Another use case of how 5G impacts the smart city sector is the monitoring and investigating people’s mobility and traveling pattern. Using context information of connected people for a wide range of applications through advanced localization techniques. This technique helps to track the movement of citizens and also can be used for providing location-based services. It also includes real-time AI-powered personalized shop recommendations through an application based on user/shop locations and user profiles and preferences. Other complementary services may include navigation instructions, video sharing on promotions, and so on. The smart city provides multiple economic and societal benefits by using 5G capabilities and improving citizens’ lives. Traffic management, parking detection, waste collection, air monitoring, etc., are some of its other applications.

5G is the subject of intense technological (and business) activity with several major initiatives underway. 5G aims to address some of the fundamental future needs of smart cities with higher bandwidth, delivery and performance guarantees, adaptability, energy efficiency, and real-time capabilities. 5G is still an evolving space, with considerable discussion on its long-term goals and technologies.

While the high-speed and low-latency of 5G networks empower them to bring new layers of connectivity – this natural increase in devices communicating with each other is also a problem. Regardless of the purpose, every new connected device adds to the number of entry points in a network that can quickly turn into a cybersecurity liability if not managed properly.

5G technology is secure by design and has several enhanced security capabilities, but security should never be taken for granted, as the adoption of 5G by multiple industries would increase the attack surface multi-fold and create greater risks. To help combat this, 5G security considerations must be carefully managed, especially in a hybrid environment where 5G and legacy technologies such as 4G and LoRA would operate alongside each other. The connectivity landscape for IoT and smart cities is quite heterogeneous and fragmented, hampering the IoT vision. 5G is expected to mitigate this by becoming the unifying technology fabric. The importance of this cannot be understated for smart cities, where the stakes for critical infrastructure failure couldn’t be any higher. Critical assets and network services must be safeguarded from cyber threats to ensure safety and peace of mind for the populace.

These threats have different origins, from more advanced attacks from educated cybercriminals to more straightforward human error cases. Generally, the rise in modern cyberattacks is strongly connected to the public internet’s open access paradigm/architecture and vulnerability. A vast amount of highly sensitive data is channeled through weak networks and clouds not designed to protect data from sophisticated threats. That’s why there is a growing need for private networks isolated from the public internet to identify and manage assets in a secure way within their environment.

How 5G Will Impact Healthcare

The healthcare sector also has a lot to benefit from 5G networks and will help enable a number of innovative applications. An example is a 5G connected ambulance for rapid response with medical equipment and paramedics on board with real-time video streaming of the patients in an emergency. Paramedics wearing 5G enabled device sharing live video of the patient with a doctor in the hospital can lead towards the effective remote treatment of patients in critical conditions. It will save lives and improve health services for the citizens. Another example of a modern health service that can use 5G is wearable smart devices to monitor health issues. It can predict any unusual change in the body like an increased heartbeat or blood pressure and in an emergency, notify the nearest hospital and the family by generating an alarm and sharing the user’s location. The system can decide which is the best emergency team to deploy, considering the location and the accident’s needs. Low power consumption characteristics of 5G and remote monitoring capability with low latency all these features are included in 5G. The 5G technology solves the connectivity issues for smart devices and traffic flow and bandwidth problems. Reliability, latency, and location accuracy-related KPIs are of utmost importance in this scenario.

5G communication also supports surgeries conducted by a surgeon from a remote place over the wireless network. High-quality video streaming augmented reality and extremely low latency is required to serve this purpose, which is possible with 5G. Innovative healthcare applications are expected to provide essential services to citizens. Their operational environment has, however, some demanding requirements. 5G networks can meet these requirements using network slicing, edge computing, advanced 5G NR capabilities, smart network management, accurate location awareness, dynamic service chaining, and guaranteed QoS.

Applications for 5G networks in this context include:

  • Telehealth services – including the provision of remote diagnosis and advice via video link,
  • Personal health monitoring – using body area sensors to manage individuals’ health, including monitoring and smart medicine administration,
  • Assisted living/home care automation – combining insights from cloud analytics with sensors and actuators to manage and manipulate the care setting automatically,
  • Asset management – using wireless technologies to track and monitor equipment,
  • Remote surgery – enabling surgeons to conduct operations remotely, using video feeds and robotics, and in the future using augmented reality,
  • Commercial wearables – devices bought by consumers to track their health or monitor their activities or behaviors.

These solutions will all rely on wireless networking availability or will be enhanced with access to 5G networks. 5G networks could support e-Health service provision. Specific networking requirements depend upon the application.

  • Latency – Remote surgery is very latency intolerant. According to 5GPPP, real-time connections will be needed between the surgeon, local sensors, robots, backend systems, and other health professionals. End-to-end latency tolerances for communications between these end-points will need to be as low as 20ms.
  • Speed – Remote surgery would also be very demanding in terms of bandwidth. The bandwidth requirements range from Mbps to as much as Gbps for some parts of the process.
  • Coverage – Health monitoring solutions must provide 100% coverage within their targeted service area. By offering access to services with a range of frequencies and building mobile coverage cells around individuals, 5G can offer better coverage than other technologies.
  • Availability and reliability – Health systems all need maximum possible availability and reliability. 5G infrastructure can offer slices of the networks with guaranteed SLAs and traffic prioritization in emergency scenarios. 5G networks can ensure that health services keep running.
  • Security – Security is paramount in Health environments. 5G networks can offer dedicated virtual network resources designed to prevent unwanted system access.

Challenges in 5G Healthcare

Achieving Interoperability is the capability to interconnect two or more than two different devices and networks for data exchange. The smart healthcare network consists of various IoT devices with different domains (i.e., remote health monitoring, remote surgery, and ECG). Interoperability plays a significant role by providing a platform of connectivity to various devices with different communication technologies. However, due to a lack of universal standards communications technologies, the interoperability between multiple domains is a significant hurdle for IoT success. Therefore, a critical, intelligent approach is required to check interoperability at different levels and allow for millions of devices in the network to communicate with each other. Like oneM2M and FIWARE, different organizations work in collaboration with various standardizations, like ETSI, OMA, and 3GPP, to sort out the interoperability issue.

Analysis of Big Data In a smart healthcare network, big data analysis is a dominant research direction. The future smart healthcare network will consist of millions of devices that will generate an enormous volume of information and data for analysis. These data contain private user information (i.e. Data of Patient) and the patient’s surrounding environment information (i.e., Heartbeat rate, ECG, etc.). Therefore, intelligent algorithms and approaches are needed for data analysis. For instance, the information that is generated by local devices in the network must be efficiently analyzed with the help of machine learning algorithms. The main concerns that must be addressed are:

  • For data analysis, privacy must be provided to the user data,
  • For sensitive data, secrecy must be provided,
  • For data collection and analysis, a well-defined infrastructure must be provided,
  • For information extraction, computation power must be provided.

Performing IoT Connectivity The smart healthcare network can consist of millions of devices in the future. The concept of this network can only succeed if connectivity is provided to every single device. These devices can provide information after sensing. In this network, any existing communication technology can be used by IoT devices, such as a cellular network (i.e. 5G and LTE), Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi. However, there are many challenges to guaranteeing connectivity to each device in the smart healthcare network, such as:

  • Guaranteeing connectivity to the devices with high mobility (i.e., moving patient, high-speed ambulance) in the network,
  • Providing connectivity to every device deployed in the network with both short and long-range.

Achieving Security, Trust, and Privacy In a smart healthcare network, security is an important challenge due to different IoT devices’ connectivity. It is challenging to implement complex security algorithms and protocols due to limited battery life and processing power on IoT devices. In the future, most IoT devices will be at risk of attacks. This can lead to different types of threats and attacks in terms of privacy and security. The following issues must be taken into account to design a successful 5G based smart healthcare network.

  • A secure and straightforward communication must be delivered between smart healthcare devices and cloud database center for data authenticity and integrity,
  • A well-defined approach must be provided for risk assessment to detect upcoming and present attacks,
  •  A strong privacy policy must be provided for new user approval and trust.

Privacy protection issues

A telemedicine session video recording may contain personal information that the patient would like to disclose only to the doctor. Also, automated contact tracing applications aggregate sensitive location data without the owners’ knowledge. Sharing such sensitive user data with unauthorized parties such as third-party advertisers is a severe privacy violation. In addition, privacy protection is a legal requirement posed by various legal frameworks. Possible solutions to address the privacy challenges, solutions like Privacy by-Design, software-defined privacy must be deployed with 5G health applications already at the design phase. Privacy-by-Design relies on the notion that data controllers and processors should be proactive in addressing the privacy implications of any new or upgraded system, procedure, policy, or data-sharing initiative, not at the later stages of its life-cycle, but starting from its planning phase. The developed e-health solutions in 5G should consider the entire life cycle of health data when protecting them. To protect privacy, access control methods managing how different parties access information are necessary. Edge computing helps minimize data transmissions through different network elements and enable local processing, improving privacy aspects. Furthermore, e-health technology users should be made fully aware of what they consent to regard data sharing and processing when using such digital solutions. Similarly, transparency in informing users about potential privacy risks is effective to improve the adoption of e-health solutions.

Security challenges & Possible solutions

Attempts by adversaries to attack the databases containing sensitive information pose security risks. The importance of e-health systems exacerbates the impact of attacks on the availability requirement. The integration of Massive IoT (MIoT) increases the security risks of healthcare systems. Such low-end devices are comparably easy to hack and vulnerable to Denial-of-Service (DoS) attacks. A massive amount of connected devices increases the number of entry points for attackers to perform unauthorized operations, i.e., Increases the attack surface on the healthcare system.

Lightweight and scalable security mechanisms must be designed to secure MIoT. Adequate security mechanisms are crucial to address the limited capabilities of constrained sensors and the additional vulnerabilities if part of the security functions is offloaded to the cloud. Electronic health services, widespread automation, data analytics, and smart control require ML and AI techniques in 5G systems. Encrypted data transmission and distributed security solutions such as blockchain can prevent attackers from gaining access to the network and protect the collected user data of different premises. The employed security mechanisms and algorithms should support continuous updates with minimal effort to adapt to discovered vulnerabilities and emerging security threats.

Scalability and QoS provisioning in massive connectivity regime & Possible solutions

Rapid deployment of new healthcare applications will add extra traffic and increase the number of 5G users who access such services. This will lead to increased network congestion. As an example, AR-based applications used in telemedicine require high bandwidth and low latency. However, a congested network fails to satisfy the service levels for such applications. Moreover, it is challenging to manage billions of MIoTs. When a large number of IoT devices generated ad-hoc data transfers, the network should be scalable to cope with the increased number of traffic events. The small data characteristics and intermittent connectivity of IoT encumber the medium access and physical layers of access networks serving e-health applications.

Network Slice (NS) in 5G with dynamic scalability is a possible solution to address this problem. The slices serve similar services and can be made adaptive based on the various parameters such as the service’s priority, present network traffic, available network resources, Quality of Service (QoS) requirement, number of IoT devices presently connected. Deployment of virtual NF based on demand at the Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC) servers will solve the congestion caused by a sudden increase of localized demands. For improving scalability, edge computing systems and distributed clouds can perform visual processing on extensive computational capabilities like GPUs and transmit the audiovisual outputs enriched with analytics results to mobile e-health devices. In this way, device limitations are elastically minimized while congestion towards the core network is also mitigated. Regarding the physical layer, PHY techniques such as full beamforming technologies using a large number of antenna elements increase scalability, high-frequency utilization efficiency, and high-speed communication.

5G deployment and limited connectivity challenges

Network operators need to deploy these 5G based solutions as soon as possible. The limited deployment of 5G networks and 5G devices’ limited availability will be an immediate problem for many countries. Undoubtedly, the 5G proliferation is expected to be gradual in terms of network connectivity and capacity. The complexity and implementation issues of 5G devices, including power consumption due to high-frequency transmissions as well as multi-band support of upper and lower frequency bands, complicate the device cost and production challenges. Possible solutions Governments and network operators should push forward their deployment plans.

Moreover, small-scale 5G deployments such as L5GO networks should be encouraged to use in hospitals, manufacturing plants. Purpose-built IoT devices with smaller but targeted capabilities for e-health use-cases can alleviate the complexity and cost issues regarding the deployment and commissioning of 5G systems. From the business perspective, offering a discount to mobile operators bidding in spectrum auctions for an improved coverage commitment can expedite the 5G deployment. For improving coverage in poorly served areas, some spectrum bands can be shared by different network providers. From the cost minimization perspective, Radio Access Network (RAN) sharing allows multiple operators to use the same radio access infrastructure and enables an easier coverage expansion for 5G.

Societal issues and the human factor & Possible solutions

Incidents such as destroying the cellular base stations due to conspiracy theories linking new 5G mobile networks and the COVID-19 pandemic disrupt connectivity affecting the applications. However, network connectivity and service continuity are critical for connected e-health solutions. 5G solutions may require the user to possess a sophisticated level of technical literacy. However, many people lack such a level of technical literacy. The provided ease of use is an essential factor that supports or inhibits the implementation of e-health systems. Health personnel is deterred from or resistant to using such new systems with additional complexity to their workflows or requiring additional effort/time. Furthermore, 5G devices are significantly more expensive, leading to a cost burden on users.

Experts and media have the responsibility to clear out these inaccurate social beliefs with civil society and governments’ support. The applications can be made easier to use and to execute on average hardware and devices so that everyone can afford them and use the services. For e-health solutions supporting physician-patient interaction, an effective clinical decision support system must minimize clinicians’ effort to receive and act on system recommendations. This requirement is extended to include ease of use for patients and their family members and other service users, or even health professionals besides clinicians, such as nurses.

Legal and regulatory dimension & Possible solutions

Solutions for remote monitoring and contact tracing will result in legal issues unless sensitive personal data is not handled correctly. Examples are contact tracing after the patient has recovered from COVID-19, collecting, and storing unnecessary personal devices. Since access to healthcare is a right if the technical solutions prevent people from obtaining timely healthcare or cause wrong diagnosis/treatment that is an issue concerning fundamental rights. 5G-enabled smart devices for e-health will have a far-reaching impact on manufacturers, service companies, insurers, and consumers. Such a situation could also lead to legal issues.

Adhering to the policies defined by standardization and policy bodies such as the EU statement on contact tracing prevent legal issues. Standardization and regulation must cover the whole healthcare technology chain from medical device technologies to software technologies, including sensors. Obtaining legal advice before the deployment of different applications would also prevent future legal issues. The traditional product liability limited to tangible personal property should be extended to the correct functioning of networks and services in e-health solutions. This is more challenging due to the complex environment of 5G. Therefore, root-cause analysis techniques and pervasive monitoring functions are essential.

How 5G for Public Safety Could Save Lives

Disaster relief operation is also a very critical sector, which will benefit from 5G technology. In any disaster where there is a large public gathering like airports, schools, malls, or similar areas, a proper evacuation plan can be planned using 5G services. 5G provides reliable services for a large number of connections. An advanced Radio Access Network can achieve high reliability, with diversity mechanisms considered in frequency or the spatial domain. The strict requirements of latency enforce to implement the public safety operation in time. The localization capabilities of 5G will help in obtaining real-time data in any region, and a rescue operation can be conducted based on the data; in addition to the cost reductions that the 5G network can bring to verticals, reliability, latency, and location accuracy-related KPIs are of utmost importance in an evacuation scenario.

Drone services for disasters and emergencies can hugely benefit from 5G capabilities. 5G provides high data rates, ultra-reliability, and low latency to conduct this operation effectively. 5G offers new opportunities to develop innovative communication, surveillance, and remotely operable robotic solutions in this domain. Public protection and disaster relief application and services require the fast and dynamic reconfiguration of network resources and higher capacities that only 5G can offer. For public safety, the benefits that novel security and advanced localization schemes could bring in this vertical sector need to be explored.

5G will also significantly enhance Smart City services related to public safety and security. Real-time analytics of video recordings of public venues coupled with biometric software will automatically identify dangerous situations and automatically alert authorities in car accidents or terrorist attacks. Unlike the CCTV systems today, 5G-enabled equipment will be updated over-the-air, and data management platforms will interconnect various services. 5G connected equipment will also be deployed anywhere with mobile network coverage eliminating the need for fixed wiring and extending to mobile form factors such as drones and robots.

Agriculture and Food

The agriculture and food sector also benefits from the services offered by 5G networks. The continuous monitoring and management of a site to optimize crop production or fish welfare can be good examples. Monitoring water quality using sensors and monitoring the farms using images are also among the new technologies used in the agriculture sector. State of the art solutions for remote and autonomous operations for crop management and cultivation also enhance production. The agriculture and food sector uses advanced 5G techniques with cameras and remote operations.

Conclusion

The terrestrial 5G will use the existing infrastructure, which has limitations, as users will expect services anytime and anywhere. Satellite communications can support it in a cost-effective way for all these vertical industries. SatCom will accelerate the 5G deployment and create new business opportunities for all stakeholders in the 5G ecosystem. Satellite infrastructures are far less exposed to earth surface-bound incidents like natural disasters or human-made conflicts and terrorist attacks, thereby offering high reliability and security levels. These are fundamental properties for emergency services and as a backup for terrestrial infrastructure in cases of disruption.

As discussed in this report, 5G networks can satisfy the new needs of end-users, including different verticals, by providing a wide range of qualities. Multiple models are required to be designed for all these vertical industries to take the best services from the 5G. Several milestones have been achieved, by still, many challenges need to be solved. There is a strong need for research and innovation activities for the evolution of communication networks.

A close collaboration between the communication operators, vertical industries, and researchers is essential to integrate business and technology to support the vertical domain applications. A digital transformation is required in all the sectors mentioned above, which will open up new business opportunities. Integrating satellite communication into 5G is feasible to support the 5G roll-out fully. It will increase the capability of 5G to develop innovative solutions in vertical markets. The rising demand from various (vertical) applications demands a 5G infrastructure market and standardization.