For some people in Nigeria, 4G connectivity is still a mirage, but as the world looks ahead and prepares for 5G, MTN Nigeria, collaborating with Ericsson, held a public demonstration of 5G in Lagos last week, and what possibilities are to be expected in the near future.
Sean Cryan, country manager, Ericsson Nigeria, at the 5G trial highlighted some use cases like fixed wireless access, and connected ambulance, which demonstrated how 5G can help improve healthcare in Nigeria. Ericsson, which is MTN’s technology partner for the 5G trial in Lagos, is providing the radio infrastructure network.
In one use case, the chaos Lagos roads represent may become a thing of the past. Using 5G enabled interconnected traffic lights; flow of traffic across the state can be monitored from one location. Here, an operator can with the click of a button, give priority to the flow of traffic in some places, in order to decongest certain areas of the state.
During medical emergencies, the possibilities of 5G in healthcare delivery by saving lives through swift diagnosis and treatment were also demonstrated. When an ambulance is called to evacuate someone in need of medical attention, it is equipped with IoT devices that communicate across a 5G network.
With cameras providing live streaming from the ambulance, the use of Active Gloves, and using other medical devices connected to 5G, live signals are sent instantaneously to more experienced doctors, who could be far away from the location, from where they conduct the actual diagnosis and give directions on what should be done.
When a diagnosis has been connected for such a patient over the 5G network, it could be determined that such a patient needs urgent surgery, but perhaps cannot be provided at the hospital where the ambulance is headed. Still using 5G, doctors can transfer the patient’s medical record to another hospital, where the ambulance can be redirected to a team of doctors already provided with all the information to proceed with surgery. In such a case, the risk to the patient’s life that could come from delayed diagnosis, or even travel times when being moved from one hospital to another, is completely eliminated.
Also, for industries, a 5G demonstration showed how precise troubleshooting can be done inside various equipment running in a factory, to determine when any part needed to be replaced. With IoT capabilities, diagnostics can be run without the need for trial and error to know where exactly any reduction in efficiency is coming from. It perhaps even get better, as an entire factory could run by itself, with very minimal human interference. Complete production processes can be controlled over a 5G connection, running a factory seamlessly with the touch of a button from a remote location.
From factories made to run seamlessly with little human intervention, medical procedures performed much faster, life-saving decisions made quicker, and factories remotely controlled over 5G, the possibilities appear very exciting. With time, it will be seen how much of these will become realities in Nigeria, and in scale.