16 May 2022

Why are there so few 5G use cases?

Why do we keep seeing the same 5G use cases over and over again? The reality is that there are thousands of use cases either in production or being explored by companies throughout Europe and around the world. Business leaders should talk to the companies offering 5G solutions and challenge them to show them how the technology could help them. 


Why do we keep seeing the same 5G use cases over and over again? You could think that 5G is only relevant if you want to run thousands of autonomous robots or finally find a use for all those VR headsets you bought a few years ago. The reality is that there are thousands of use cases either in production or being explored by companies throughout Europe and around the world. 

With a private 5G network, the company has exclusive access to the network operating at that frequency—unlike say Wi-Fi, where everybody uses the same  frequencies, leading to the possibility of congestion or interference. Coupled with edge computing, you can imagine an application that uses artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to analyse video footage of a manufacturing line. Being able to sense a problem and take action quickly is critical. Having the server doing the work in the same building and communicating over 5G can enable near-real-time responsiveness—tens of milliseconds, or even less.  

These capabilities mean that far from there not being many use cases, there are so many that choosing just a few examples is hard. Let’s take just one area, improving the safety of workers: 

The speed of many automated guided vehicles (AGVs) is currently limited to reduce the likelihood of accidents. With the reliability and near-real-time responsiveness of private 5G it will be possible to raise the limit, increasing productivity.  

Video monitoring can also help improve safety, but it has been limited by the need for somebody to actively watch the footage. That can be quite a challenge on a large site with many potential hazards. But with private 5G, video can be transmitted to an on-site server in milliseconds, analysed automatically and anomalies reported in time to prevent accidents. This has hundreds of safety applications.  

It’s been tested on oil rigs—another area where getting reliable, cost-effective connectivity can be challenging—to confirm that people are wearing the correct protective equipment. If a worker, say, takes off one of their protective gauntlets, the machine they are working on can be stopped automatically, potentially preventing serious injury. 

In the medical world, the same technology is being used to guide workers through the complex process of putting on the gear needed to protect them from exposure. An AI/ML-driven assistant can provide near-real-time guidance and confirm that each step is completed correctly.  

The same technology could also be applied to a manufacturing environment where workers assemble complex equipment, where it could be integrated throughout production. If an operator were about to miss a step or make an incorrect connection, they could be warned and a fault prevented. As well as reducing waste, this could prevent worker injuries and faulty goods entering the supply chain. 

Having intelligence at the edge could also make autonomous vehicles lighter and cheaper. Instead of having to rely on onboard computing power, devices can transmit data to an edge computing server and commands be sent back in near-real-time. This can help make drones and ground robots smarter, better able to work together and capable of going longer between charges.  

Private 5G can also give workers access to expert help, wherever they are. With a wearable device, an engineer can have a near-real-time “see what I see” connection with an expert. Timely access to the right guidance could both prevent mistakes that either put the worker in danger, and errors that could lead to an incident further down the line. 

These are just a few examples of how private 5G and edge computing can help improve safety. And this is just one area where they can help solve real business problems. 

Business leaders should talk to the companies offering private 5G solutions and challenge them to show them how the technology could help them. If the supplier can’t suggest dozens of relevant use cases, and even showcase some of them, then you should look for a partner that can. 

To find out more read Verizon’s paper ‘Let’s talk about 5G’


Guest blog by Gary Baker, Global Product Marketing, Private 5G, MEC & IOT 

As a senior IT professional for over 20 years, Gary has been at the forefront of leveraging new and innovative technology to bring new products, solutions and services to market. His extensive experience in strategy development has enabled him to help businesses from all sectors across the globe with their transformation goals. 

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE, Nasdaq: VZ) was formed on June 30, 2000 and is one of the world’s leading providers of technology and communications services. Headquartered in New York City and with a presence around the world, Verizon generated revenues of $133.6 billion in 2021. The company offers data, video and voice services and solutions on its award-winning networks and platforms, delivering on customers’ demand for mobility, reliable network connectivity, security and control. 

To read more from the Future Private Networks campaign week check out our landing page here. 


Private Networks User Guides & podcast

Private networks: a new user guide by techUK

Our #techUKPrivateNetworks campaign week celebrated the publication of a new user guide techUK has produced, to help prospective private networks customers, across enterprise and the public sector, understand the key benefits of adopting advanced connectivity in their organisations. The guide helps users as they formulate a business case for investing in enhanced private networks, and the key success factors. We also shine a spotlight on several case studies. 

Private networks: a techUK user guide

Gain a clear understanding of the benefits of adopting private network technology for your business with this techUK user guide.

Download for free

Private network ecosystem: Management model - A new techUK guide

techUK's Advanced Communications Services Working Group created a new guide for organisations considering building out services using 5G networking technology entitled 'Private network ecosystem: Management model'

It introduces and describes the principles of neutral hosts, and then goes on to describe the architecture and ecosystem which supports the provision of shared services, particularly in the context of high capacity/low latency applications, which will drive 5G deployment. While this paper is focussed on 5G, many of the principles of neutral hosts, and the discussion of edge versus core provision will apply to other technologies such as Wi-Fi, including Wi-Fi 6.

Private network ecosystem: Management model

A technical guide by techUK for users of private networks, outlining how the ecosystem is managed. It outlines the architecture of edge native applications in the architecture of the ecosystem, the value chain and operating models, resilience, operations, and the role of Neutral Hosts. 

Download for free


The techUK podcast: Making the case for Private Networks

In this episode of the techUK podcast, we explore the topic of private networks for enterprise, specifically, how we can accelerate the deployment of private networks from beyond the testbed phase and drive adoption across industry and the public sector.  

The episode covers the key challenges for enterprise customers that the telecoms sector can address with advanced connectivity services, including 5G and Wi-Fi 6, and how we, the supplier base, can effectively deliver on the benefits of private networks. 

Sophie James, Head of Telecoms and Spectrum Policy at techUK, joins a conversation with Simon Parry, CTO at Nokia EnterpriseCatherine Gull, Consultant at Cellnex and Dez O’Connor, Senior Manager at Cisco. Sophie also catches up with Mike Kennett, Senior Consultant & Head of Regulatory Affairs at Freshwave