How 5G is Transforming APAC
Ten case studies highlighting the utility and versatility of 5G technologies
As 5G matures and becomes more versatile, it is transforming many different processes across the economy. With the rollout of private 5G networks and standalone 5G, introducing cloud-native core networks, operators are able to provide organisations with the ultra-reliable connectivity required to automate critical operations. At the same time, edge computing is being used to reduce latency and support the real-time usage of image recognition and other AI-based applications, while the deployment of 5G mmWave networks is delivering a step-change in capacity and throughput in demanding locations, such as airports and sports stadiums.
Bringing capacity to crowded places
As this report highlights, 5G is proving to be invaluable in bringing reliable connectivity to places where a large number of people gather, such as transportation hubs. At Hong Kong International Airport, China Mobile Hong Kong and Huawei have implemented a private 5G network, consisting of mid-band indoor radio units, mid-band and mmWave outdoor units, and high-power radio units. This configuration is designed to ensure seamless indoor and outdoor coverage throughout the airport, enhancing operations and providing a better experience for travellers. The network is being used to support the deployment of autonomous vehicles, robotics, and a wide range of IoT applications.
Similarly, at Bangkok’s Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal Station, a private 5G network, supported by edge compute, is delivering multiple benefits to hundreds of thousands of rail passengers daily. The network is enhancing operational efficiency, safety and security, and the overall passenger experience. For example, a 5G-based security and safety system captures video images from more than 120 cameras to proactively detect emergencies, incidents, and security threats, leading to prompt responses and improved passenger and staff safety.
Private 5G networks can also support heavy industry. Telekom Malaysia has deployed a private 5G network for oil and gas giant PETRONAS, with guaranteed 99.9% network availability, well ahead of the 95% ‘best effort’ delivery of public networks. The increased network reliability and stability is vital for critical operations, such as remote live monitoring of operations via high-definition video. At the same time, the 5G network is delivering the broad coverage required to facilitate transmission over large stretches of water, enabling PETRONAS to connect offshore operations. The implementation marks a key step towards enabling unmanned operations in the oil and gas sector, and other potentially hazardous workplaces.
In Singapore, 5G has demonstrated it is capable of reliably delivering smooth mobile video streaming at major international sporting events attended by hundreds of thousands of people. By partitioning its 5G standalone network, Singtel was able to grant specific customers priority access to radio resources, ensuring a smooth mobile streaming experience in crowded areas. Crucially, the radio resource partitioning is sufficiently dynamic to ensure that capacity isn’t being wasted at any point in time.
As well as connecting vast numbers of people at major sports events, Singtel is illustrating how a standalone 5G network can support multiple logical networks with different configurations to suit the traffic characteristics of different applications.
Making production more efficient and safer
Manufacturing is another sector where reliability is absolutely crucial – downtime means lost production and revenues. In Thailand, auto parts maker Somboon Advance Technology is using 5G to enable a robot to monitor two camshaft production lines concurrently, improving productivity by 1.25 times, as well as enhancing quality. 5G is also enabling the company to use unmanned automated guided vehicles (AGVs) to transport goods and materials across the factory floor, reducing the risk of accidents and associated costs. The materials delivered to the warehouse by AGVs are now stored automatically by a 5G-enabled system. Somboon says these 5G-enabled solutions have boosted the factory’s earnings by 60%, while reducing operational costs by 30%.
Indeed, 5G is being deployed in factories across Asia. LG Uplus, a mobile network operator in South Korea, is seeing strong demand for its 5G-enabled smart factory solution, which is now being used in more than 250 domestic and overseas plants.
To help manufacturers employ 5G to enhance precision and flexibility, ST Engineering, a global technology, defence and engineering group, has developed Heterogeneous Integration (HI), which is designed to provide optimal 5G connectivity in a highly compact footprint. HI solutions are composed of several integrated circuits enclosed in one or more chip carrier packages, connected internally by fine wires bonded to the package, that can be stacked vertically or tiled horizontally.
Making inspections faster and more cost-effective
Supported by edge computing, 5G networks are now responsive enough to relay high-resolution video in real-time wherever it is needed. The use of 5G-enabled drones by Hong Kong Telecommunications to inspect cell towers points to how valuable this capability can be. The telco has found that the combination of 5G and edge compute is two to three times more responsive than 4G connections. The 5G network also provides five to eight times higher uplink bandwidth capacity, which makes it straightforward to relay 4K video from a drone back to the pilot/inspector. The solution has improved the operational efficiency of field service visits by 30%.
In a similar vein, Keppel Offshore & Marine Ltd is using an augmented and virtual reality smart eyewear solution, supported by a 5G standalone network from M1, to make inspections of its shipyard more efficient and effective. The business benefits are substantial: Keppel expects to lower the manual hours required for inspection by 50% from 16,000 to 8,000 each year.
More broadly, 5G devices, equipped with 4K cameras and augmented reality software to provide digital labels, could be used to deliver remote assistance across a wide range of industries, including healthcare, manufacturing, logistics and utilities.