5 Ways 5G Will Protect the Planet & How You Can Help
There’s a huge amount to say about 5G, and not just about how it can benefit individuals with things like lightning-fast movie downloads. More importantly, it will bring huge benefits to life and society. In this post, I want to look at how five issues are progressing, which the Metro21 Smart Cities Institute at Carnegie Mellon University identified as key ways of finding sustainable solutions to society’s problems and city life. These are:
- Carbon emissions,
- Air and water quality
- The conservation of natural resources such as water and soil
- Energy efficiency
- A more participatory society
Reducing Carbon Emissions
One major cause of carbon emissions is vehicles in cities, especially when traffic is gridlocked. And that’s something we experience in Istanbul every day. With drivers losing 157 hours per year stuck in traffic, Istanbul emerged as the second most congested city in the world in 2019, according to a report by transportation analytics firm INRIX.
Many telecom operators, technology companies, local governments, and start-ups are developing and implementing smart solutions, Huawei included. We’ve implemented the TrafficGo smart traffic system in China’s Shenzhen, with the support of the country’s three major telecom operators and the local authority. Powered by AI, the system creates a Digital Twin that operates in real time to automate the management, routing, and forecasting of city traffic on a AI-powered digital twin in real time.
The critical areas for reducing carbon emissions by autonomously managing traffic is to control cameras, sensors, radar, and signaling in real-time – something that 5G’s low-latency enables. Doing so can change road and traffic conditions by rerouting and improving traffic flows. In Pittsburgh in the US, for example, this type of solution has reduced carbon emissions by up to 20% as vehicles spend less time in stop-and-go situations and less time in traffic.
Conserving Water Resources and Managing Consumption
When it comes to intelligent water management, we shouldn’t just think of monitoring the city water distribution network, managing dams, or converting rain water into drinking water.
Intelligent water management considers all parameters that affect the water usage and consumption of daily life, including the amount of water that plants need, the effects of the sun and weather conditions on water consumption, and tap water use in the home. Intelligent water management forms a complex system that manages all processes from end to end.
The most important role in water management and conservation is accurately measuring water consumption and determining measures for all contributing variables in real time, a goal that 5G’s speed and low latency will help achieve. Current projects show that comprehensive measures can reduce water consumption by over a third.
Read more about Huawei’s NB-IoT-based smart water management solution.
Preventing Food Waste
A painful fact of life is that while there is so much hunger in the world, one out of every three food items produced in the world goes to waste. Technology may be advanced and modern communication may be fast, but the fact is that 40% of all vegetables and fruit go into the trash. In Turkey, we waste 4.9 million loaves of bread every day!
The issue here is not just the waste of food – it also includes the water, electricity, fertilizer, and labor used to grow these products together with waste products. Not only is this type of waste morally indefensible, it’s also a catastrophe for sustainability.
As with water and carbon emissions, a holistic approach to preventing food waste is critical for effective results. Achieving this doesn’t just involve managing the consumption of produced food; it also involves starting planning during the very first production stage and managing the entire food lifecycle, covering all processes from production to consumption.
The convergence of 5G, artificial intelligence, and IoT will enable us to monitor and manage the amount of food produced and consumed in the world in real time and ensure that surplus food can be shipped to areas in need, helping to prevent waste, hunger, and poverty.
Optimizing Energy Consumption and Energy Efficiency
The concepts of smart homes and smart buildings are not limited to remotely or voice controlling devices in your home or building. One of the most important factors is the efficiency of energy consumption of houses, buildings, and other facilities.
It’s essential that we’re able to monitor what’s happening in buildings in real time, which in turn requires super low latency data collection. Thanks to the very high speed and low latency data transfer provided by 5G, it’s possible to automate and implement decisions quickly when required.
Another energy-saving application is the management of street lamps with sensors. In current applications, energy efficiency is achieved by timed sensors. But that’s not enough. Intelligent street lights can be equipped with devices that can sense light, for example, in foggy or rainy weather, bright evenings, and adjust the amount of lighting necessary.
Thus, city authorities can save on electricity bills, the quality of life and satisfaction of residents will increase, and the positive effect of savings can be achieved in the conservation of energy and natural resources.
Encouraging Individuals to Be More Participatory
In addition to 5G, IoT, AI, and the applications mentioned above, the most important component is of course human intelligence. Thanks to the technologies that will be implemented in the near future with 5G, ordinary individuals will not only benefit from a more livable world, but will also directly contribute to the realization of a more sustainable world.
They will be able to take an active role in the creation of cleaner, smarter, and more energy efficient living spaces by helping to collect data and provide feedback from applications on their smart phones, wearable smart devices, and sensors and devices spread over the city – and of course making an effort themselves.
Soon we will see and use 5G in every corner of every city, in every moment of our daily lives. Cities will become smart with 5G and smart cities will be the best playground for 5G. Artificial Intelligence and sensors will be the foundation of a more livable world. However, no matter what, we can only reach all of the conveniences that technology will provide with human intelligence and human sense.
Click the link to read more about Huawei’s 5G solutions.