A 5G Inflection Point on the Horizon

By Jayne Stancavage, Executive Director of Communications Policy

One of the aspects of my job that excites me the most is knowing the 5G technology I’m working to implement has the capacity to improve the lives of people both in the US and around the world. Nothing illustrates this potential better than considering how 5G can transform the healthcare industry – particularly with respect to emergency response. Deployed in conjunction with technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI) and edge computing, 5G has the potential to help enable multiple benefits, such as real-time decision making and faster deployment of medical resources during an emergency.

This potential was on full display earlier this month in Washington D.C. at the CTIA Wireless Foundation’s Mobile Health and Wellness Expo, which took place both on Capitol Hill and at the FCC. We demonstrated Intel’s Skydome, an advanced AR/VR emergency response solution that leverages 5G and edge computing to help save lives in a major emergency.

At these events we discussed with policymakers and FCC staff the potential impacts that 5G might have for US constituencies as well as some of the policy challenges that 5G must overcome to reach its true potential. For example, spectrum availability continues to be critical in the U.S. and around the world. We’ve made strides in the US with respect to high-band auctions, but there is still work to be done, including an urgent need for mid-band spectrum.

We are still a few years away from something as advanced as Skydome being deployed at scale, but as 5G services continue to roll out around the world and new applications continue to be developed, we are clearly nearing an inflection point where the pace of innovation based on new network architectures will increase significantly.

As new services and applications are developed, it is critical that we incorporate the input of the people who will actually use these services. This is particularly applicable to 5G, AI, and IoT in healthcare, as physicians and patients have specific needs very different from simple mobile consumers. That’s why Intel is working with our healthcare customers to provide high bandwidth, low-latency, real-time connected health infrastructure that meets the clinical needs of both physicians and patients. Their feedback will help us ensure that 5G achieves its full potential.

From enabling the generation of insights from the data generated by wearables and medical devices to providing Ultra Reliable Low Latency Communications (URLLC) for future extreme use cases such as AR/VR remote treatment, Intel’s innovations at the radio access and core network level are making these future visions a reality.

Today Intel is building the technology infrastructure for a broad range of healthcare solutions. These include advanced analytics and AI systems that speed drug discovery, reduce clinical costs, and surface insights detected through remote patient monitoring. Firms like Icon, which does outsourced drug development and commercialization, are using Intel’s Pharma Analytics platform to develop wearable technologies that will communicate critical information for patients who require long-term monitoring. We are also working directly with clinical practitioners to ensure we fully understand their needs and incorporate them into our solutions.

By listening to one another, we are building a new future in healthcare together. A future of cutting edge technologies delivered in form factors that are familiar and useful instead of obtuse and challenging. In this way, technologies like AI, IoT and 5G can pave the way for a more productive and healthy global populace.