An important aspect of the harmonized, speedy, and low-latency 5G ecosystem that we can look forward to is its positive effect on remote control systems.
In the classic sense, of course, remote control involves a human controlling a machine from a distance, whether the person is controlling a TV, opening their car locks from 25 feet away, or something more sophisticated. Remote control in the context of 5G takes on a new emphasis; it isn’t about simply controlling a machine, but how quickly.
Up to this point, we haven’t had the capability to deliver the extremely rapid control sequence that fast 5G networks will enable reliably. Frankly, we haven’t had a pressing need for it, either. If it takes a second to change a TV channel, it’s no big deal, or if your car won’t unlock remotely, you can always use your key. Even industrial remote control processes have been engineered with the tolerance for slight delay.
But we’re now moving into a new era of remote control, in which machines will be controlling each other, and many of the processes will need instant response for the sake of efficiency and even safety.
An example is autonomous vehicles. If these vehicles are making decisions at highway speeds – easily 100 feet per second – a remote control signal between them must be instantaneous, or the results won’t be pretty.
Simple command-and-control sequences aren’t really so simple when many – even thousands – of appliances may be affected simultaneously. It’s one thing to command the streetlights to come on at 7 p.m. It’s another to devise a system in which the streetlights operate at lower brightness (to save energy) until there is motion detected on the street, and then be able to turn up those lights as a car approaches at 30 miles per hour. A system like that requires instantaneous response.
The question of reliability
The key components of remote control in a 5G world will be reliability and rapid response. If we are relying on a machine to perform a task programmatically, we expect that it will work without fail. In a true machine remote control scenario, all fallback systems, testing methodologies, and continual feedback loops become critical functions.
5G will let us realize this to a greater degree, especially when it comes to high-speed macro network capabilities. With 5G, you have low latency, with millisecond capabilities, as well as symmetric uplink and downlink speeds. So our remote control circuits will be equally wide in both directions, an important consideration with the amounts of data that may be moving between machines and devices.
For the enterprise, remote control capabilities in 5G not only deliver more streamlined internal processes and operations, but also offer a wider platform for innovation in customer-focused services.
Remote control, meet machine learning
Here’s an example. Let’s say your company provides security to homeowners, and you want to build on the classic system. You might connect your system with police databases or other sources that would help determine when a system needs to go to a higher level of alert. If a burglary occurred nearby, for instance, and the homeowner is away, the system could react proactively. It might turn on the television loudly, simulate movement through the lighting system, play a recording of a German Shepherd’s angry bark, and other things to discourage a burglary at that location.
This involves taking the next step in remote control by adding machine learning and analysis into the mix. And why not? We have the capabilities, and the harmonized networks of 5G will remove any communications obstacles.
We can only begin to imagine the types of applications that will emerge once 5G gives us the platform upon which to invent and innovate. It lowers the costs and other barriers to entry for innovations, and the skilled among us will invent applications and systems that truly leverage that.
As we have emphasized throughout this series on this topic, what 5G does is to take all the various network and radio technologies, harmonize them, and manage them via highly intelligent systems. The results will be increased capacity, ultra-high reliability, symmetrical uplink and downlink speeds, exceptional machine-to-machine communications, and yes, vastly superior remote control capabilities.
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