5G connectivity: Four real and practical use cases

Nacho Palou    22 March, 2023

According to data from GSMA, collected by the publication Redes & Telecom, by the end of 2022, over one billion 5G connections had been surpassed worldwide; this figure will reach two billion in 2025, providing coverage to a third of the population in Europe.

5G connectivity is experiencing progressive deployment that is faster than its predecessors, 3G and 4G.

Real use cases for 5G connectivity

At Telefónica Tech, we are already implementing solutions to transform sectors such as industry by launching different projects that successfully leverage the advantages and enormous potential of 5G connectivity, such as:

  • Gestamp: The smart factory of Gestamp is based on a digital twin. A digital twin consists of a virtual model of the factory that optimizes production and helps with decision-making. The physical elements of the plant are connected via 5G to generate a virtual copy of the entire factory that allows industrial processes to be validated, different scenarios to be tested, and decisions based on data to be made.
  • APM Terminals: One of the largest operators of ports, maritime and land terminals in the world uses 5G connectivity to coordinate port traffic and improve safety through the deployment of 5G coverage at the APM Terminals terminal in the Port of Barcelona. The provision of 5G connectivity in cranes, trucks, and mobile staff allows all active actors to be located and visible in real-time, whether they are in motion or not, within the terminal. This helps reduce accidents among facilities, workers, vehicles, and goods.
  • Navantia: The Spanish company of reference in the manufacture of advanced ships uses 5G connectivity to remotely assist maintenance officers through Augmented Reality (AR) glasses. It also uses 5G to support the shipbuilding process, including processing 3D scanning in real-time, thus optimizing its production processes.
  • IE University: It has an immersive teaching center on its Segovia Campus that uses 5G connectivity in its implementation of virtual classes through streaming and from personal devices. This way, it can incorporate new educational resources such as Virtual Reality (VR), which allows specialized classes to be taught through immersive experiences for its students.

5G Connectivity: Key Advantages

The three key advantages of 5G connectivity are its transmission capacity and speed, imperceptible latency, and high concurrency of devices connected simultaneously in specific geographical areas.

  • Capacity and speed: 5G can reach download speeds of up to 10 gigabits per second (Gbps), allowing for the transmission of large amounts of data in less time.
  • Latency: Latency is the time that elapses from when a connection or request is initiated on one end until a response is received from the other end. For example, it is the time that elapses from when an industrial robot requests instructions to operate until it receives those instructions. With 5G, latency can be as low as 5 milliseconds, allowing for almost real-time communication.
  • Concurrency: The high capacity and concurrency that 5G allows make it possible to connect multiple devices simultaneously, including IoT sensors and actuators: 5G supports up to one million connected devices per square kilometer.

5G technology is up to 90% more efficient in terms of energy consumption per unit of traffic.

Because of its characteristics and advantages, 5G connectivity also has significant implications for other new-generation digital technologies, including Big Data, the Internet of Things (IoT), and Artificial Intelligence (AI).

  • IoT (Internet of Things): 5G enables the reliable, secure connection of numerous devices without sacrificing its low latency.
  • Big Data: Thanks to 5G’s high data transfer capacity, it is possible to send and receive large volumes of information almost in real-time.
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI): 5G connectivity enables automated systems to respond almost instantly.