Mobile communications strategy and 5G network expansion

The six research initiatives of the 5G innovation programme

From Hamburg to Eastern Bavaria, universities and companies are carrying out research into 5G. In respect of this, the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure has announced a number of research initiatives. Experts are carrying out on-site tests concerning the practical usage of 5G – from home care to navigation inside buildings.

5G4Healthcare

Using the name “5G4Healthcare”, Ostbayerische Technische Hochschule Amberg-Weiden (OTH) is researching the issue of healthcare in rural areas. 

The three-year project looks at how 5G technology could be used to improve healthcare in the countryside. Away from the large cities, healthcare provision is particularly challenging. Doctors, care providers, pharmacies, health insurers and family members are separated by long distances and cumbersome communication, often by post. Supplying medication and healthcare aids is even harder, and ambulance services have long distances to cover. Innovative 5G solutions could boost efficiency in all these areas, to the benefit of patients. 

5G4Healthcare is looking at two application examples: integrated care and home care. In so-called Living Labs, the project is collaborating with regional partners to examine how digital solutions and 5G can be applied. In concrete terms, this means, for example, that doctors will work with digital files and patients will visit virtual care centres. In these centres, specialists from a variety of disciplines, while not actually present on site, can be linked up with remotely. In the very long term, this even envisages robot-assisted operations. 5G will also make it possible to exchange much larger volumes of data seamlessly. 

This will also be tested in the field of home care. Various involved parties will be connected on a digital platform, and those requiring care will likewise receive devices connected to the Internet. The objective of the test is to enable scientists to find solutions that work everywhere – from Western Pomerania to the Black Forest. 

You can find further information here

5G Lab Germany Forschungsfeld Lausitz

At 5G Lab Germany Forschungsfeld Lausitz (5G Lab Germany, Research Field Lusatia), Technische Universität Dresden (TUD) is researching 5G applications in construction and mobility. 

Construction sites call for more than just muscle power. With machines rolling and concrete flowing, a great deal of specialist knowledge is required and digital technology is being deployed more and more. TUD’s Forschungsfeld Lausitz is examining the digitalised construction site of the future. This is set to make entirely new construction processes possible, reduce building times and, in particular, improve work safety. For example, support will be provided by automated and coordinated drones. 

Another focal point of Forschungsfeld Lausitz is mobility. Technological innovations like 5G are permanently changing the way we move around. To many, fully autonomous vehicles and air taxis in rural areas sound like a far-off utopia. In fact, with the help of the corresponding technical infrastructure, these scenarios are becoming reality. Intelligent vehicles that communicate with the Internet and each other have a number of advantages. They’re safer and they improve the flow of traffic, thereby delivering a more positive environmental balance. 

You can find further information here

5G-Industry Campus Europe

At 5G-Industry Campus Europe, the Fraunhofer IPT and RWTH Aachen University are researching 5G applications for the manufacturing industry. 

Given Germany’s reputation for the construction of machinery and cars, 5G technologies offer the nation’s factories plenty of potential. Much shorter reaction times and much more rapid data transmission will enable German industry to develop new work processes that are faster and more efficient. Researchers at 5G-Industry Campus Europe are practically oriented in their work: production processes are monitored in real time, individual process steps and logistics are carried out autonomously and production work is networked across sites. 

The test area at 5G-Industry Campus Europe was the first site in Europe to have a 5G network giving comprehensive coverage. It is delivering important findings for the digital transformation of the economy to Industry 4.0. RWTH Aachen University’s Campus Melaten is a particularly fascinating site. It is situated in the border triangle between Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands – a region with numerous companies and research institutes in the field of mechanical engineering and that of production. 

You can find further information here

Kaiserslautern, 5G model region

At TU Kaiserslautern (TUK), the “Kaiserslautern, 5G model region – 5G for cities, towns, rural areas and work” project is conducting research into uses for 5G in agriculture, forestry and the wine industry. 

At the same time, TUK is investigating a whole range of application areas for 5G. Many have very practical relevance to the day-to-day lives of many people in this region, which is part urban, part rural in nature. For example, there are plans for a semi-autonomous bus that is to transport residents on a regular basis. 

Other key areas of emphasis are agriculture and winegrowing – both industry sectors notable for the prevalence of large numbers of small enterprises rather than major corporations. Farmers, foresters and wine growers will in the future be able to save fertiliser thanks to targeted data gathering and analysis. Drones will provide them with entirely new perspectives and identify pest infestations. 

One special feature is that the Kaiserslautern researchers also install so-called campus networks – closed private 5G networks not intended for normal smartphone users. In fact, these campus networks are becoming partly portable. Their mobile communications antennas work with satellite or directional radio rather than a fixed glass fibre connection. Thanks to this mobile solution, companies outside Kaiserslautern also have the opportunity to get their own 5G network, on their own premises, and try it out.  

You can find further information here

The 5G real laboratory 

The “5G real laboratory” in the Braunschweig-Wolfsburg mobility region is dedicated to mobility, health and intelligent construction. 

With several hundred thousand people dependent on car construction, movement is a major topic in the Braunschweig-Wolfsburg region. That’s why mobility is one of the areas addressed by the 5G real laboratory – but not just on the road. Experts are testing a 5G-based remote-controlled system for operating the railway. Drones will also be used to help analyse accidents. Also being tested are networked rescue vehicles capable of communicating with traffic lights on their route to create their own “green wave” as they travel to the scene of the incident. Cars should semi-automatically form an emergency lane as soon as the ambulance is approaching from behind. 

In the field of digital health applications, specialists are researching into the concept of mobile diagnostics. If, for example, magnetic resonance tomography can come to patients, this will significantly improve healthcare in rural areas. Smart construction – the digitalisation of the construction site – is another area being tested in the 5G real laboratory. 

You can find further information here

5G Industry Campus Europe

At 5G Industry Campus Europe run by HafenCity University Hamburg, the use of 5G in indoor navigation is being researched. 

In-car navigation systems and map services for mobile phones make our lives easier – in fact, they’ve long since become a part of our everyday lives. However, navigation within buildings with the help of an app is anything but a standard concept. And that’s why this research project is focusing on it. In the long term, it could be used to help millions of travellers navigate confusingly large airport buildings more easily or help employees find their way around logistics buildings and factory halls. 

5G functions as an orientation signal for indoor navigation. No additional hardware is needed – just a smartphone, which almost everyone will already have with them. Indoor navigation uses both of 5G’s central benefits: high transmission rates combined with a high level of accuracy and the opportunity to send comprehensive real-time data. The parties involved also want to work with technology partners with a view to improving the quality of radio signals in general. 

You can find further information here

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