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There is always an advantage of arriving first. For instance, reaching a popular restaurant before everyone else gives you the option of choosing the best table and ideally enjoying the atmosphere there. Although slightly far-fetched, the analogy manages to help visualize the benefits of exploring the untapped use cases of 5G early on.

By now we have an idea about the advantage of the high-bandwidth, ultra-low-latency, and lightning-fast connectivity of 5G to transform societies, industries and essentially usher us into the metaverse––­a virtual environment enabled by IoT, artificial intelligence, blockchain, and other evolving immersive technologies. To that end, it seems like the right time for telcos to take a dip into the hitherto unchartered use cases of 5G.

Saving Energy

There is no denying that with 5G connectivity the energy consumption owing to its usage will jump exponentially. As with every new generation of cellular technology, the issue of increased energy consumption has always been there, and 5G is no exception. However, with 5G, the chance to reverse the energy consumption trend is possible as 5G will not only enable energy-efficient technologies, but it is the most energy-aware standard to date.

The push toward energy efficiency is gaining momentum across industries. In reality, the ICT sector only contributes 1.4% of the global carbon emissions compared to other industries known for their high CO2 footprints. Having that said, 5G has the potential to enable a 15% reduction in other sectors, such as energy, industry, and transport. The good news is that apart from enabling technologies, 5G networks themselves can be more energy-efficient, with a minimal carbon footprint. Telcos, vendors, and system integrators must come together to deliver high-performing network solutions, combined with world-class energy efficiency to scale up 5G whilst drastically reducing total energy consumption by 2025 and further on.

Quantum Computing and 5G

With its inherent capacity for instant detection, analysis, integration, and diagnosis of distributed volumes of data, quantum computers are set to revolutionize computer and IT architecture as well as corporate structure soon. Currently used key-exchange protocols––mechanisms to secure end-to-end communications over insecure networks using secret keys to protect transmitted data––will be vulnerable to breach with the advent of quantum computing.

In the age of 5G technology, where access to data has become of great value, the theory of quantum cryptography will play a vital role. Quantum computers can crack many of today’s encryption techniques exposing the threat surface weakness of organizations. Computer experts say that in the future, quantum computing would create hack-proof replacements. Close monitoring of the developments in quantum computing could prove beneficial to CSPs in the long run as they are the first line of defense for creating secure digital ecosystems.

Urban Aerial Mobility, Autonomous Driving, and 5G

Yes, it is ultimately happening. From comic book pages to touching ground at physical logistical hubs, aerial mobility is no more a futuristic wonder. Investment in electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aerial vehicle technology hit $2 billion in 2021 with several advanced cities in the world, including Dubai, which plans to launch air taxi services by this year. Some estimates show that investments in this sector can quickly grow to $4 billion.

To make urban aerial mobility (UAM) a reality in Dubai, the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) and Dubai Air Navigation Services (DANS) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to exchange expertise on autonomous air vehicles. Under the arrangement, they plan to collaborate on areas such as legislation; testing programmes; identification of vehicle air routes and take-off and landing sites; and safety and security relating to urban air mobility.

Conversely, Vodafone and Nokia are already working with Vehicle-to-Everything (V2X) specialist Commsignia alongside Zenic, a company accelerating the self-driving revolution in the UK to deploy a pilot installation across the testbed. V2X specialist Commsignia is working with Zenic, an organisation dedicated to accelerating the self-driving revolution in the UK, and technology companies like Vodafone and Nokia on the project, which will assess the current state of play of the UK’s V2X landscape and deploy a pilot installation across the testbed. Collaboration and coordination between road operators, mobile network operators and vehicle OEMs will be necessary for UAM and V2X services to move towards deployment.

5G connectivity is set to occupy the center stage in all of the above developments. Indeed, there is no need to invent the wheel all over again; however, innovative planning and timely decision making will make all the difference for the ICT sector in the neck-breaking race to technological efficiency in the 5G era and beyond.

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