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India Is On The Cusp Of 5G Adoption: Here's Why It Could Change The Country's Future – Forbes

India Is On The Cusp Of 5G Adoption: Here's Why It Could Change The Country's Future – Forbes

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A&nbsp;man stands in the 5G tunnel at the Intel booth at CES International in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

Not many years ago, the use of technology to monitor our vital stats and recommend exercises, sounded surreal, but look around you today – many people, including you, perhaps own wearables that determine this information, and more. The time will soon come when technology will enable such data to be shared with our doctors automatically and periodically, so that any deviations in our health parameters are tracked, and attended to, immediately.&nbsp;Taking this one step further, think of a world where our smart devices will liaise with the neighborhood store to ensure the ingredients of a suitable diet are delivered straight to our homes; Amazon Go has already started the journey in that direction with its checkout-free grocery stores.

To support these use cases, and a broad set of other use cases across autonomous driving, governance, retail, entertainment, and beyond, there are three primary requirements: massive M2M communications (for IoT applications), ultra-low latency (enabling life-saving car-to-car connectivity), and gigabit speeds (high bandwidth mobile broadband). This is where 5G will act as a heterogeneous network that integrates 5G, 4G, Wi-Fi, and other wireless technologies. Compared to the&nbsp;today’s fastest average LTE speeds, 5G networks will be up to 600 times&nbsp;faster, reaching speeds of up to 10 GB per second.

It&nbsp;is the technology that will enable individuals, governments and companies to remain in sync in real time. Contextualize this to India, where the government has already taken several steps to build out this technology, including the 2018 budget, where the Finance Minister announced that the Department of Telecom (DoT) will support the 5G test bed at IIT Chennai.

However, even before this commitment was made, work has been progressing. Take the example of the Smart Cities Mission, as a part of which Nokia recently showcased over 60 different 5G use cases for India, including video analytics of real-time city surveillance, a public safety service that can be deployed at railroad crossings, and a smart parking service that India’s urban centers desperately need.&nbsp;With passenger vehicle sales in India crossing the 3 million mark in 2017, smart solutions that fully automate the parking process, including tracking parking hours and billing, will only serve to make the experience swifter and smoother.

Surveillance cameras deployed at various public locations will provide crucial real-time inputs to the policing authorities, and help with data analysis to identify traffic and usage patterns. According to the&nbsp;Bureau of Police Research &amp; Development,&nbsp;in 2016 the country was short of half a million police officers, forcing existing officers to spend excessive hours monitoring law and order.&nbsp;This is just another example of&nbsp;why India must leapfrog many other countries to implement&nbsp;5G – it’s obvious that there is a clear social need to transform our nation through technology. We can expect healthcare, agriculture, and transportation to provide similar, relevant use cases as well.

Security personnel monitor various locations in a video surveillance room on December 12, 2017 at the city hall in Bordeaux. The mayor of Bordeaux, Alain Juppe, has announced the ability to fine via video surveillance to almost all 105 active city cameras, and plans an extension of video surveillance with a new monitoring center with a capacity of 167 cameras. (MEHDI FEDOUACH/AFP/Getty Images)

More on Forbes:&nbsp;Xiaomi Vs. Samsung: The Battle For India’s Smartphone Market Heats Up

Globally, countries such as the U.S. are already running 5G trials, as are digitally-mature Asian economies like Korea and Japan. India too is targeting an early rollout – aiming for 2020. Though defined standards for 5G are still unclear, a cloud-like architecture along with software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) are to play key roles in its deployment.

Both SDN and NFV help enhance network capacity in a cost-effective manner while allowing more flexibility. The 2018 Olympic Winter Games being held in Pyeongchang, South Korea are a great example of what 5G can do, as they capitalize on a world of connected devices and data to present viewers with unprecedented experiences. Think of&nbsp;5G stations to track cross-country skiers, dozens of cameras inside an ice arena, and a live virtual reality experience of the Winter Olympics&nbsp;for the first time ever where viewers can control the time, target, even the angle of what they’re viewing – and that is only the beginning of what 5G can look like.

The opportunity to enable these amazing experiences do face some roadblocks. For instance, fiber is indispensable to running 5G applications, but costly to implement, so how should that investment be split between all stakeholders? Then there is the challenge concerning regulatory policies and investments in infrastructure that needs to be solved, especially in India,&nbsp;which is characterized by diverse geography, disparate populations, and&nbsp;unequal economic distribution. There is no doubt, therefore, that operators will struggle to apply uniform practices across different telecom circles. The growing complexity of network architecture for 5G, coupled with an exponential growth in devices makes rural penetration a challenging proposition. Telecom operators will then need to work out a solution that enables them to scale up network capacity without overshooting expenses.

India is actively involved in the compliance and testing of 5G standards that are likely to be finalized this year. Many large service providers have already launched partnerships with hardware and software manufacturers&nbsp;to further their plans for testing 5G technology, LTE connectivity, and its use cases. Ericsson&nbsp;is globally working towards&nbsp;accelerating the development of 5G&nbsp;applications&nbsp;in collaboration with&nbsp;the telecom industry, while Nokia is focusing on its 5G&nbsp;Acceleration Labs in the U.S. and Finland&nbsp;to test the commercial readiness of wireless network technology for the world.

The&nbsp;conversation now needs to shift to newer business models derived from 5G use cases that have the potential to transform industries, and encourage newer start-ups based on 5G services and applications. The thriving AI ecosystem in India, comparable to the U.S. and China, is already the focus of much academic research, evaluating new business ideas that can accelerate on the back of a well-established 5G infrastructure in the country.

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A man stands in the 5G tunnel at the Intel booth at CES International in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

Not many years ago, the use of technology to monitor our vital stats and recommend exercises, sounded surreal, but look around you today – many people, including you, perhaps own wearables that determine this information, and more. The time will soon come when technology will enable such data to be shared with our doctors automatically and periodically, so that any deviations in our health parameters are tracked, and attended to, immediately. Taking this one step further, think of a world where our smart devices will liaise with the neighborhood store to ensure the ingredients of a suitable diet are delivered straight to our homes; Amazon Go has already started the journey in that direction with its checkout-free grocery stores.

To support these use cases, and a broad set of other use cases across autonomous driving, governance, retail, entertainment, and beyond, there are three primary requirements: massive M2M communications (for IoT applications), ultra-low latency (enabling life-saving car-to-car connectivity), and gigabit speeds (high bandwidth mobile broadband). This is where 5G will act as a heterogeneous network that integrates 5G, 4G, Wi-Fi, and other wireless technologies. Compared to the today’s fastest average LTE speeds, 5G networks will be up to 600 times faster, reaching speeds of up to 10 GB per second.

It is the technology that will enable individuals, governments and companies to remain in sync in real time. Contextualize this to India, where the government has already taken several steps to build out this technology, including the 2018 budget, where the Finance Minister announced that the Department of Telecom (DoT) will support the 5G test bed at IIT Chennai.

However, even before this commitment was made, work has been progressing. Take the example of the Smart Cities Mission, as a part of which Nokia recently showcased over 60 different 5G use cases for India, including video analytics of real-time city surveillance, a public safety service that can be deployed at railroad crossings, and a smart parking service that India’s urban centers desperately need. With passenger vehicle sales in India crossing the 3 million mark in 2017, smart solutions that fully automate the parking process, including tracking parking hours and billing, will only serve to make the experience swifter and smoother.

Surveillance cameras deployed at various public locations will provide crucial real-time inputs to the policing authorities, and help with data analysis to identify traffic and usage patterns. According to the Bureau of Police Research & Development, in 2016 the country was short of half a million police officers, forcing existing officers to spend excessive hours monitoring law and order. This is just another example of why India must leapfrog many other countries to implement 5G – it’s obvious that there is a clear social need to transform our nation through technology. We can expect healthcare, agriculture, and transportation to provide similar, relevant use cases as well.

Security personnel monitor various locations in a video surveillance room on December 12, 2017 at the city hall in Bordeaux. The mayor of Bordeaux, Alain Juppe, has announced the ability to fine via video surveillance to almost all 105 active city cameras, and plans an extension of video surveillance with a new monitoring center with a capacity of 167 cameras. (MEHDI FEDOUACH/AFP/Getty Images)

More on Forbes: Xiaomi Vs. Samsung: The Battle For India’s Smartphone Market Heats Up

Globally, countries such as the U.S. are already running 5G trials, as are digitally-mature Asian economies like Korea and Japan. India too is targeting an early rollout – aiming for 2020. Though defined standards for 5G are still unclear, a cloud-like architecture along with software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) are to play key roles in its deployment.

Both SDN and NFV help enhance network capacity in a cost-effective manner while allowing more flexibility. The 2018 Olympic Winter Games being held in Pyeongchang, South Korea are a great example of what 5G can do, as they capitalize on a world of connected devices and data to present viewers with unprecedented experiences. Think of 5G stations to track cross-country skiers, dozens of cameras inside an ice arena, and a live virtual reality experience of the Winter Olympics for the first time ever where viewers can control the time, target, even the angle of what they’re viewing – and that is only the beginning of what 5G can look like.

The opportunity to enable these amazing experiences do face some roadblocks. For instance, fiber is indispensable to running 5G applications, but costly to implement, so how should that investment be split between all stakeholders? Then there is the challenge concerning regulatory policies and investments in infrastructure that needs to be solved, especially in India, which is characterized by diverse geography, disparate populations, and unequal economic distribution. There is no doubt, therefore, that operators will struggle to apply uniform practices across different telecom circles. The growing complexity of network architecture for 5G, coupled with an exponential growth in devices makes rural penetration a challenging proposition. Telecom operators will then need to work out a solution that enables them to scale up network capacity without overshooting expenses.

India is actively involved in the compliance and testing of 5G standards that are likely to be finalized this year. Many large service providers have already launched partnerships with hardware and software manufacturers to further their plans for testing 5G technology, LTE connectivity, and its use cases. Ericsson is globally working towards accelerating the development of 5G applications in collaboration with the telecom industry, while Nokia is focusing on its 5G Acceleration Labs in the U.S. and Finland to test the commercial readiness of wireless network technology for the world.

The conversation now needs to shift to newer business models derived from 5G use cases that have the potential to transform industries, and encourage newer start-ups based on 5G services and applications. The thriving AI ecosystem in India, comparable to the U.S. and China, is already the focus of much academic research, evaluating new business ideas that can accelerate on the back of a well-established 5G infrastructure in the country.

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