Last month’s cancellation of the mobile industry trade show MWC 2020 deprived European carriers of the opportunity to show their latest 5G innovations to a global audience, but Finland’s Elisa — one of the world’s earliest 5G carriers — has opened a 5G Showroom in Helsinki to preview next-generation cellular applications to customers. Surprisingly, they’re not just more of the same speed tests offered by rivals; instead, Elisa is focusing on several practical, “never-before-seen” demos that illustrate the potentially transformative impacts of 5G on industry and society.
One of the demos enables users to control a vehicle — here, a tractor — located 150 kilometers away, using a 360-degree 4K camera and a high-security 5G network connection. While multiple companies have touted 5G’s potential for the remote control of heavy machinery, Elisa shows how the low-latency, high-speed connection can be used to offer a remote driver a full real time look at the environment from the tractor’s roof, enabling safe farming without the need to actually sit in the farm.
Another demo provides a tangible sense of how 5G’s high bandwidth and low latency will help in the building industry. Working with Aalto University, Elisa developed a phone application that’s capable of displaying highly complex, multi-gigabyte architectural 3D models streamed from the cloud, switching between multiple angles using local touch input. With photorealistic accuracy, users will be able to access 3D views pertinent to a building’s design, construction, and furnishing stages, which normally couldn’t be stored or rendered using a phone’s own hardware, but will be easily and collaboratively accessible over 5G from the cloud.
A third 5G demo isn’t quite as pioneering, but has obvious practical appeal. Here, Elisa transmits a live 8K feed of 360-degree drone footage from a Helsinki seashore to a pair of VR glasses in the showroom, illustrating how 5G users will be able to witness particularly high-resolution, wide-angle video footage — either from fixed locations, or moving aerial viewpoints. Beyond consumer applications, Elisa suggests that 5G drones will help emergency services perform rescue operations from safe distances.
Six other 5G demos are on offer at Elisa’s 5G Showroom, including traditional 4G/5G speed tests and live demonstrations such as a robotic rock-paper-scissors game, as well as other health and industrial applications. The showroom is now open to the public here.
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