How 5G-powered technology can contribute to a greener, equitable world
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How 5G-powered technology can contribute to a greener, equitable world

How 5G-powered technology can contribute to a greener, equitable world

Technology powered by 5G and wider connectivity can potentially reduce annual emissions from transport by 6.6–9.3 million tons carbon dioxide equivalent

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5g CP Gurnani_MD Tech Mahindra

Everything that we read in science fiction as we grew up is now a reality; thanks to technology. The massive improvements in the world of technology have undoubtedly made life more convenient and enjoyable. But the questions are – has this growth been inclusive? Has it considered our planet’s health? It’s concerning to say that the answer to both is ‘No’.

The pandemic has in fact exposed the fractures in society and the environment. It is time that we take action to mend this. We can do this with the right and responsible use of technology and 5G is a critical enabler in this regard. It can power up technology to solve challenges such as weak technology infrastructure, unequal access to education, cyber risks, polluted cities, and improper waste management, among others.

It’s fascinating that by the end of 2025, 5G will account for just over a fifth of total mobile connections, and more than two in five people worldwide will live within reach of a 5G network.

Read: 5G voice users to reach 2.5 billion globally by 2026

Let us take a look at the role of 5G in creating a more equitable and greener world.

Using tech for inclusive welfare and growth
With 5G at its core, advanced technology solutions such as metaverse, artificial intelligence (AI), internet of things (IoT), cloud computing, distributed ledger technology, digital trade, autonomous mobility, etc. can create disruptive changes in the world. For instance, 5G-powered technology has the potential to create a hunger-free world. Drone and IoT-based crop surveillance, remote action, and monitoring, along with AI-led recommendations can play a great role in this and 5G is the key to making such solutions scalable.

This technology can create a cent-percent literate world. With the onset of the pandemic, virtual classes have gained more significance, however, to ensure access to all, robust connectivity that reaches the last mile is essential. This is one of the key challenges that can be overcome by 5G which has the potential to open up new avenues of skilling and engagement. For instance, the possibilities of metaverse,  a representation of an immersive 3D virtual world, and its synergies with 5G are far and wide. It can gamify learning process and drive innovation in the education sector at the grassroots level. 5G has the power to make such solutions scalable and ensure their last-mile accessibility.

Technology powered by 5G has the potential to enable a secure world. In the new ‘digital era’, the value of information has increased along with the possibilities of data breaches. 5G networks are built with enhanced security features and additionally it can improve security by enabling data storage and processing with edge computing. Moreover, 5G can enable uninterrupted connectivity between devices, machines, and people, which can reduce the impact of security breaches.

Riding the greentech wave with 5G
Every action that impacts the environment also impacts humanity. Knowingly or unknowingly, each one of us is accountable for the state of this planet today and how we shape it for tomorrow. Today, we are in the midst of a technology revolution, and we must leverage that in the right way to build back  a greener world. For instance, with 5G at its core, IoT and AI, can help plan, monitor and optimise delivery routes or the overall supply chain by reducing labour costs, fossil fuel, and raw material usage for many industries.

Blockchain can help organisations in ethical sourcing and also in educating their suppliers on the ESG compliance strategies. Also, 5G-connected public transport enhanced with AI and automation capabilities can help to maintain vehicle health in real-time. With the ability to predict mechanical failures before they happen, public transport companies can reduce break-down rates and ensure passengers get to their destinations on time. One such project offered operators savings of between Dhs7.5 and 12m per vehicle in maintenance costs, and delivered faster, more efficient, and ultimately more reliable modes of transport for city dwellers.

According to recent research estimates, 5G-enabled use cases can reduce carbon emissions in the energy industry by almost one per cent between 2020-2030. Additionally, 5G and wider connectivity can potentially reduce annual emissions from transport by 6.6–9.3 MtCO2e (million tons carbon dioxide equivalent).

5G: The fundamental fabric for sewing the hyperconnected smart world
As a technology, 5G has the potential to improve public infrastructure and create intelligent, hyperconnected communities. One of the key service areas of 5G – massive machine-type communication (mMTC) –has huge implications for creating hyperconnected smart communities. Cities, ports, warehouses, and more will embed sensors across the infrastructure, including pavements, buildings, traffic signals, water and sewage pipelines, and mass transit. With a combination of 5G wireless and wireline connectivity, public works departments can track the exact location of assets across the city. Technology powered by 5G has the ability to create a healthier world with its hyperconnected nature. From 4G’s current 20 milliseconds, 5G’s latency will be as low as one millisecond. It will also connect a larger number of devices than 4G can handle, expanding IoT from wearables to real-time remote surgeries.

When it comes to 5G, the word ‘disruptive’ is clearly an understatement! It will not only be an enabler of transformation across a myriad of industries, but will also pave the way for the next big wave of 6G. It will create opportunities for innovators, businesses, and regulators, and society at large, to join hands and build the future right now.

The writer is the managing director and CEO of Tech Mahindra.

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