The 5G countdown has started. Deutsche Telekom puts its focus on the next-generation communications standard at the Mobile Word Congress (MWC) in Barcelona. In the area of augmented reality (AR), Deutsche Telekom is cooperating with ZEISS to continue driving smart glasses and AR technology forward..
“5G takes connectivity to a new level. In the future, at least 50 billion things will need access to the network, along with billions of people,” is what Tim Höttges told around 100 journalists at the Deutsche Telekom stand in Barcelona. “Many aspects of everyday life will obtain their tailored network: enormous bandwidth for entertainment, ultrafast response times for cars and robots, and durable narrowband connections for parking sensors or waste receptacles.”
Full speed ahead for 5G
Under the motto “5G FOR GOOD,” visitors will be shown how the new technology is making its way from the lab to the streets. Of great significance for industry is that the low network response times are not only achieved but that their reliability is also guaranteed. This guaranteed latency is one of the main characteristics setting 5G apart. Following the breaking of the one millisecond latency time barrier last year, Deutsche Telekom is now also capable of guaranteeing stable, low latency times in the 5G network, as is demonstrated in Barcelona with an industrial robot. Its response time is continually maintained at precisely eight milliseconds. The 5G latency time can be flexibly selected according to the respective needs and service levels. Further 5G attributes include precise positioning, moving processing power online, high bandwidth and the convergence of fixed network and mobile communications.
5G is like a decathlon
Together with its partner South Korean Telecom (SKT), Deutsche Telekom is demonstrating intercontinental global network slicing for the first time. In this process, a new roaming option models the slices of the home network in the host network. This will enable international industrial companies to maintain machines on different continents and use augmented reality applications to allow service staff to communicate. “5G is more than just speed. 5G is like a decathlon – you don’t win it in the sprint alone,” emphasizes Claudia Nemat, Deutsche Telekom Board Member for Technology and Innovation. “5G is going to change our society for good. It will make things possible that we cannot even begin to imagine today. We are ready to actively help shape these changes.”
Network expansion for Narrowband IoT in eight countries
When it comes to 5G, Telekom is paving the way for the Internet of Things through narrowband IoT technology. The network is being upgraded for sensors that can show users available parking spaces or transmit the fill levels of waste receptacles – all at low data transmission rates with an extremely long battery life of up to ten years. Deutsche Telekom will commence the expansion of this network technology for these narrowband applications in Germany and the Netherlands in the weeks ahead. In Greece, Poland, Hungary, Austria, Slovakia and Croatia, Deutsche Telekom intends to expand its existing narrowband IoT network coverage to include additional cities over the course of the year. Claudia Nemat: “Communication with and among sensors will play a major role this year on the road to 5G. The commercialization of the Internet of Things via narrowband communication starts now!” Equally important in the future will be the subject of security. To address this issue, Deutsche Telekom has launched an initiative in cooperation with SKT, which aims to make the world of tomorrow and beyond even more secure.
Partnership for smart glasses with ZEISS
Smart glasses and augmented reality (AR) are among the major trends of the future. The future 5G network is a crucial basis for the success of this technology. To lay the foundation in this field, Deutsche Telekom will cooperate with a ZEISS start-up with the aim of exploring and promoting the potential applications and the future of smart glasses. In a separate venture company, ZEISS developed the prototype of an optical system that makes portable and fashionable data glasses possible. Data glasses display data and information in the wearer’s field of vision. Information, apps, images and much more appear before one of the user’s eyes as if on a “flying computer screen.”
Tackling these issues together
Deutsche Telekom will supply the technology to connect the data glasses directly to the network and the cloud. It will also conduct research on potential ways to transfer the hardware, which is currently still installed in the wearables, to the cloud. This would allow smart glasses to look just like a regular pair of glasses. However, efforts in many areas – hardware, software, displays, applications, user interfaces and connectivity – are still necessary to make data glasses truly usable and marketable. The two partners intend tackling these issues together. “Today, smartphones are the devices for fast, mobile internet access. In the future, other devices, such as smart glasses, could challenge their dominance in this field ” explains Tim Höttges. “Optics from ZEISS and Telekom’s network form the foundation for smart glasses. Together, we want to gain experience and advance the possibilities of AR.”
“We’re already in the middle of 5G”
With a view to the start of 5G in 2020, Timotheus Höttges highlighted things already accomplished by Deutsche Telekom. “We have a whole range of applications that show: we’re already in the middle of 5G,” says Höttges.