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The future is now: 5G taking off in Thailand



PHOTO: thairath

5G… we’ve all heard aboutit, but what is it, really? 5G literally means fifth-generation wireless technology. As the successor to 4G, the biggest changes include higher speeds, almost zero latency (the delay in transfer of data once an instruction has been given), and the ability to connect more devices at once. However, the benefits of 5G aren’t limited to its use as Qualcomm predicts a US$12.3 trillion economic boost worldwide, with 22 million new jobs thanks to both the infrastructure and technological developments required by 5G.

Currently 5G still mostly relies on 4G connections, so its full capabilities are limited to test environments for now. But that’s changing. When the standalone 5G network is up and running, the race to develop better, faster, more efficient Internet-of-Things devices and processes means exponential growth and potential.

But can 5G deliver in this brave new world, or is it perhaps has it been overhyped? The CEO of Show No Limit says 5G might be overpromising on its capabilities and won’t likely generate much public enthusiasm until 5G-enabled devices become more affordable.

“Every generation overpromises. 2G promised video on mobile phones, but it was not possible. Then 4G promised IoT networks, but it was also not possible.”

A 5G-enabled smartphone now costs around 30,000-50,000 baht. They have gained little traction with Thai consumers, especially during the financial crisis brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“People are always a little excited when moving from one ‘G’ to another, but we only have two suppliers and they have to buy the chips from the US.”

But the deputy chief technology officer of the carrier network at Huawei Technologies Thailand says the country is on a rapid pace for 5G adoption in terms of network roll-out and has already demonstrated a variety of uses. He believes 5G will reshape businesses, add value and bring about entirely new business models, saying that in Thailand multiple sectors will be transformed, from healthcare to transport to tourism.

The Covid-19 outbreak will drive adoption of 5G in the healthcare sector, which can be served in three areas: teleconsultation with doctors, remote diagnosis via analytics by artificial intelligence, and preventive care.

“5G connectivity can bring the hospital to your doorstep. Patients will no longer visit hospitals for their check-ups or minor ailments. Hospitals in the future will be the place only for patients in critical condition.”

Autonomous vehicles, already in use in parts of Thailand, can synchronise and “communicate” with other vehicles around them to ensure more road safety. Smart ports, especially those in the Eastern Economic Corridor, can use 5G-connected cranes with remote control vehicles and surveillance, as well as augmented reality for maintenance.

Augmented and artificial reality will mean better content for gamers and the entertainment industry as a whole, as well as drawing tourists to new locations, and revolutionising online shopping As more equipment is connected in a certain area via the IoT, “smart homes” and “smart cities” will move to the next level.

“As soon as 5G is broadly adopted, there will be a wide variety of new content, including those linked with augmented and virtual reality,”

A panel of local tech gurus at Bangkok Post’s “5G: The Game Changer” event yesterday agreed… 5G will bring about new innovations in cloud computing, IoT, and AI. They said that despite being in the relatively early stage of implementation, 5G use cases are already multiplying in Thailand and are beginning to transform businesses across sectors.

“5G is an enabling technology, apart from AI, IoT, blockchain, VR, big data and bots. Companies need to watch these as they will impact or disrupt their businesses unless they leverage the technology to create new services and innovations, while workers need to reskill to cope with the new technology before it disrupts their careers.”

SOURCES: Bangkok Post | Bangkok Post


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Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

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