Connected everything - 5G is coming to change our lives

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Dive into what experts from around the world discussed at the 5G Techritory conference in Riga.

Some may think that 5G stands for faster internet, when in fact it means so much more. Speakers and attendees of the 5G Techritory forum, which took place in Riga on September 27-28, have no doubt - the 5G technology will change lives and create new industries that we can't possibly imagine yet.

The 5G Techritory is one of the leading conferences devoted to the 5G technology in Europe and gathered over 60 top influencers in the field as speakers, including Roberto Viola, Director General of DG CONNECT at the European Commission, Peter Karlstromer, Senior Vice-President of Cisco, Jennifer Esposito, General Manager, Health and Life Sciences at Intel Corporation, and many more.

In two days, speakers and panelists discussed the 5G technology from several angles, but the main takeaway is: the 5G technology will bring endless possibilities and a significant impact on businesses and individuals.

The start of a new era and smart cities

A new era of connected everything is coming, and with ''everything'' we mean every single thing from your shirt to your espresso machine and car. Such interconnectivity has the chance to transform industries and infrastructures for better - the low-latency connection to the cloud that the 5G technology is about to ensure will allow us to build smart cities, provide fully personalized healthcare, and make manufacturing safer and more efficient.

For the general society, smart cities with autonomous cars will be one the most obvious innovations made possible by the 5G technology.

''By 2050, additional 2.5B people will live in cities, but we will still want clean air and fewer traffic jams. For that, we'll need that everything is connected and better organized. Autonomous cars are a part of the solution, but it won't solve everything - we need to make sure that the entire city infrastructure is able to communicate,'' notes Steen Noerby Nielsen, the Nordic CEO for Siemens Mobility.

In other words, smart cities won't be just autonomous cars that communicate to each other, but an infrastructure where everything from cars to traffic lights is able to connect and transmit information. That will ensure more coordinated traffic, make cities safer and even save lives.

''Over 1.2M people die due to traffic accidents, and half of these people are pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists,'' Wassim Chourbaji, Qualcomm’s Senior Vice President and Head of Government Affairs for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, outlines the problem of today's cities. According to Mr. Chourbaji, the 5G technology will make it possible to save these lives - connected to the city traffic, your phone will be able to detect a car approaching when you're about to cross the road and notify you right there, right then, and without a second delay.

A challenging road ahead

The implementation of the 5G technology is a challenging and costly road, and according to Gabriela Styf Sjöman, Vice President Deputy Head of Global Services & Operations and Head of Group Networks, at Telia Company, ecosystems and partnerships will be fundamental in this process.

The 5G success depends on how many industries, organizations, and startups will get onboard to creating ''connected everything''. The more connections, the more we'll be able to make use of and benefit from the technology.

At the moment, one of the biggest challenges is data. According to Ms. Styf Sjöman, that's probably the most difficult part of being ''smart'' - data is crucial for developing predictabilities. For that, we need more startups that test and employ the 5G technology, and more mathematicians and analysts that can process the data and help to create smarter solutions.

Baltic implications

From a Baltic perspective, there are specific and tangible outcomes of 5G technology. For one, LMT (Latvijas Mobilais Telefons) plans to activate 5G in Latvia as of January 2019. Second, the Baltic States signed a Memorandum, committing to the development of a Digital Road that will stretch through the three Baltic states, connecting Finland, through the Baltics, to Central Europe. The Digital Road will ensure a corridor of green traffic lights, which in turn will mean a faster delivery of perishable goods, fewer gas emissions from stop-and-go traffic, and a lower cost for transportation logistics. An additional bonus of a connected Digital Road will be the increased safety of all of the vehicles, drivers and passengers.