Tiziano Albani, the head of VIA Europe, recently shared his thoughts with the prominent Italian website Ceotech.it on how 5G wireless technology will accelerate innovation across industry, healthcare, education, and a host of other sectors.
Here are the highlights of the interview. The original version can be found here.
What does 5G promise us?
With its higher speeds, lower latency, and greater reliability, 5G promises to open up a wealth of new innovations in all key economic and social sectors including autonomous driving, industry, healthcare, smart cities, and education. By facilitating the transmission of high-resolution video, for example, 5G will enable manufacturers to automate quality control and equipment monitoring processes while achieving much greater levels of precision than is possible with the human eye. 5G will also enable manufacturers to automate the management of complex, large-scale industrial facilities over their own private clouds and accelerate the deployment of robotics and autonomous vehicles to boost efficiency and safety across their operations.
Perhaps even more importantly, 5G has the potential to become a catalyst for the digital transformation of enterprises, schools, universities, hospitals, and other organizations by facilitating the deployment of AI, AR, VR, IoT, Cloud and other new technologies to enable new forms of collaboration and creativity. The Covid-19 pandemic has already triggered the adoption of remote working models across virtually every industry as well as services such as telemedicine, online classrooms, virtual events, and home deliveries. As 5G rolls out at scale, innovations like these will proliferate at an even faster pace.
What are the essential innovations?
It is only a matter of time before 5G is rolled out on a global scale. Already networks are available in many of the world’s largest cities, and they will be extended into other areas over the next few years. Organizations need to think carefully about what kinds of new applications and services they can create to leverage its increased speed and lower latency to boost the efficiency of their internal operations and to meet the evolving needs of their customers. We have customers in China, for example, who are looking to enhance the safety and productivity of their logistics and warehouse operations by equipping their forklifts with our AI-powered VIA Mobile360 Forklift Safety System and connecting it the cloud using 5G so that they can make sure operators follow health and safety procedures and track the utilization of their assets. Other customers are planning to use 5G and AI camera systems to monitor the condition of their pipelines so that they can identify problems such as corrosion before they become serious. The potential for innovation is limitless in virtually any organization.
How are these innovations realized?
The key is to take a holistic approach towards innovation. That means identifying the potential use cases for the innovation and determining the hardware, software, AI, and connectivity pieces that will be required to implement it. One of the biggest challenges many organizations face is finding the right internal and external resources required to manage and implement such projects. We often find, for example, that many of the companies we talk to, particularly in traditional industries, lack the technology expertise to deploy cloud-based AI systems because their IT departments have traditionally been focused on maintaining their internal networks rather than developing new applications. Organizations need to identify the new knowledge, expertise, and skillsets they will need to develop internally as well as the right partners to assist them.
What obstacles are there to achieve them?
The biggest obstacle for many people is changing their mindset. Digital transformation may sound like a cliché, but it reflects a fundamental truth that the world is changing at a faster rate than it ever has in history. Rather than trying to deny this, all of us need to take time to reflect not just on the threats it poses to our business but the new opportunities it opens up. We cannot afford to bury our heads in the sand!
How do you see the world in 10 years from this point of view?
I am very optimistic despite the current challenges we are facing with Covid-19 and the uncertain geopolitical environment. The great digital transformation has only just started and will result in greater levels of prosperity than we have ever seen before.