I have been watching 5G demos at MWC for many years and this is the first time that one seems useful to me

I have been watching 5G demos at MWC for many years and this is the first time that one seems useful to me
I have been watching 5G demos at MWC for many years and this is the first time that one seems useful to me

I have had to wait for MWC 2024 to find use cases for 5G applied to our daily lives

MWC 2024 has come to an end and it is time to take stock. Whoever signs these lines has quite a few editions behind him (I won’t say how many…) and, if there is something that I have been able to verify in recent years, it is that 5G demos They happen everywhere.

There is no self-respecting operator that does not bring to its stand different use cases related to the virtues of the fifth generation of mobile networks. And not only since 2019, when Vodafone commercially launched 5G NSA in our country, but long before.

But something has changed this year. 5G technology has matured and is now fully implemented in society, which has caused the demonstrations, finally, to not be focused only on the industrial field. Now 5G serves the average user. And this year’s MWC is the best proof of this.

Augmented reality is going strong

We are not going to fool ourselves. Years ago, 5G use cases became a common evil among operators, a kind of epidemic that suffered its annual peak at the MWC in Barcelona. And yes, I emphasize the word “suffer” because journalists in the sector have had to suffer a lot.

Who most and who least will remember those demos with drones, whether as a surveillance system from the air or for the maintenance of electrical networks, among other examples. We have also seen use cases to promote reforestation, avoid accidents, efficiently manage a hospital or a smart city, control industrial robots remotely…

Not forgetting OpenRAN, the Open Gateway projects and the famous metaverse. There was also no shortage of video games, where the ultra-low latency of 5G plays a fundamental role. Precisely games, along with 5G applications related to tourism, were one of the few things that, until now, could be interesting for private users.

We repeat: until now. This year was when I finally found use cases that can really help us in our daily lives. Or, at least, that they show an important advance compared to what we knew until now.

Vodafone, for example, has introduced HyperRealityHub, a platform that outsources much of the computing and computer sensors of AR/VR equipment to make it lighter, more comfortable and more affordable. You don’t need a helmet anymore, now glasses are enoughso that virtual reality can reach more people.

Speaking of glasses, Telefónica has shown a real case of the Copa del Rey ACB basketball game that I have been able to enjoy in an immersive way, similar to what I experienced a long time ago with a soccer game at the Cívitas Metropolitano. It is something that the teleco has been testing for a few years, but now it is much more polished.

On this occasion, I was able to stand on the Martín Carpena court in Málaga and, with VR glasses, enjoy an immersive 180º or 360º perspective. From home, the ‘Quality of Demand WiFi’ (QoD WiFi) API allows you to optimize the quality of the WiFi at home, while the ‘QoD Mobile’ API takes care of optimizing the quality of the mobile network in the stadium.

And more sport: the Vodafone use case with the Irish rugby team. It consists of a mobile unit with a series of cameras and drones connected to a private 5G network that capture video streams in real time, analyze them together with the data from the players’ biometric sensors and send the reports to the coaching staff. They describe it as “next-level sports analysis.” And boy is it.

A range of possibilities in medicine

At the stand that Vodafone set up this year at the MWC, I also learned about its HealthTwin platform, which manages medical records and IoT (biometric) data while comparing them with large medical databases.

And not only that, but with augmented reality glasses, it allows you to see a virtual 3D model of the human body with its different biological systems, such as the muscular, cardiovascular and nervous systems. Very useful for both doctors and patients.

But if we talk about medicine and health, we have to highlight the virtual operating room demo carried out by Telefónica. In it, they connected live with the Germans Trias i Pujol hospital during the course of a real operation with the da Vinci robotic system.

From the stand, through a 3D tablet or VR glasses, we could remotely access three different views of the operating room of the hospital: a stereoscopic camera of the robot, a directed camera with zoom and a 360 camera. All this thanks to the zero latency of 5G. It was really impressive.

Another demo from the Spanish telecom that I especially liked was the spatial computing experience for holographic meetings which he has developed together with Matsuko and NVIDIA. After testing it on , I firmly believe that this solution, in the short term future, will make us forget about video calls.

On the occasion of Telefónica’s Centennial, there was also an event in which Chinese pianist Lang Lang played a holographic piano while a digital representation of himself played a real piano. The concert also started with 36 drones forming the company’s logo, all of this under a private 5G network deployed by Ericsson and Telefónica.

In short, this year I have been able to see how the advantages of 5G, whose coverage is already much more widespread in our country, can benefit sports, medicine, work meetings or entertainment, all aspects very present in our day to day. It’s a shame that for many of the use cases we need glasses that, at the moment, are not exactly cheap.

Cover image | Xataka

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