5G networks open door to improved AR, industrial automation opportunities

by | Feb 11, 2020 | Biz/Tech, Campus News

Ryan Wanzala, Biz/Tech Reporter

As 5G makes its mark in Canada, Humber is currently looking at ways to develop new opportunities for students and faculty using the new communications standard.

Commonly known as the “fifth generation” of mobile wireless communications, 5G was designed to accommodate the increasing demand for mobile broadband and to allow large scale Internet of things implementations.

The Canadian government is estimated to invest $199 million over five years to upgrade the existing communications infrastructure to the new standard.

“5G will enable augmented and virtual reality technologies that can create immersive learning experiences, providing faculty and students with innovative ways to teach and learn,” said Andrew Leopold, director of Communications at Humber College.

“One of the pillars of our current strategic plan is to prepare students to be career-ready citizens. Every day, we work to prepare students for changing work environments by teaching and engaging them in new digital technologies,” Leopold said.

Average consumers of 5G will notice a significant increase of download and upload speeds compared to the current 4G network, typically peaking at gigabits per second.

“I think 5G does present some interesting capabilities in terms of speed for connected devices, and things like that, but also, security,” said David Weisz, director of Humber’s storyLAB.

Beyond low latency and speed, 5G will see its use in industrial automation, augmented reality, and 4K video.

As the standard continues to develop, Leopold wishes to see it as a substitute for WiFi and wired ethernet connections.

“5G could also be a substantive way to extend broadband internet to distance learners and under-served communities,” he said. “This would increase access to online education and more opportunities for local, national and global learning.”

The University of British Columbia was the first post-secondary institution to roll out a 5G “hub” throughout its Point Grey campus. In a partnership with Rogers Wireless, the university planned to use the hub to “solve present and future societal challenges.”

UBC’s projects include early earthquake detection and smart transportation.

“We’re excited by the opportunities it provides to use our campus as a living lab to help develop the next generation of 5G applications,” said Gail Murphy, vice president of Research and Innovation at UBC.

“Ultimately, 5G can provide a new platform for innovations, some of which we are able to collaborate on developing through this partnership like autonomous cars, automated garbage cans and smart traffic lights that contribute to improved mobility and road safety,” Murphy said.

Humber will provide updates on a 5G hub as an implementation plan is developed.