UTILITIES & 5G
Q&A with Martin Jackson Head of IT Strategy and Architecture Northumbria Water
Q Firstly, why do you think 5G is, or will be, crucial to the energy and utility industry in the next 12 months?
A 5G is set to be transformative for utilities in a number of areas and this is great news as we strive to deliver great services for our customers. The rollout of 3G/4G connectivity was transformative in consumer space, enabling the rise of smartphones, apps and expanding social media capabilities. I believe that the benefits of 5G will be most felt in industry however, by enabling more automated processes and smarter infrastructure (Industry 4.0). 5G’s low latency data capabilities will be a decisive factor for utility companies looking to create more intelligent operations; enabling connected assets, advanced analytics and increased automation. 2020 will see a lot of the telecom’s providers accelerate their delivery of the 5G network, with many of the larger towns and cities becoming 5G enabled by the end of the year. It is important that utilities organisations are aware of the unique properties of 5G connectivity and that we begin to visualise how 5G will bring entirely new possibilities to utility operations. The capability will arrive soon, and utilities should be ready to benefit from this.
Q In general, how do you see 5G as augmenting other innovations?
A 5G is a technology enabler and generally requires other technical components to be combined in the delivery of an innovative solution. 5G will act as a catalyst that execrates the development of solutions based on immersive mixed reality experiences, advanced AI and robotics, more comprehensive simulation/visualisations. I believe that 5G will provide a fabric of connectivity to enable many of these technologies to deliver on the potential for industries. Q Can you give us a case study, or example, of 5G being used
Q Can you give us a case study, or example, of 5G being used in this way?
A We are running trials of a series of 5G enabled solutions at our 5G enabled hub in the North East of the UK. These span a range of areas including augmented reality underground asset visualisations, remote expert assistance - enabling rich collaboration between a field agent and an office based expert, in vehicle asset data updates and connecting in-home based leakage and water quality sensors. We did not set out to create a 5G enabled solution with these pilot areas, the starting point was to look at areas of the business where technology could play a role enhance our teams and solve some specific challenges. These trails are developing real pilots that have clear value for our organisation. The idea that this is not throwaway and will create products that are ready to use