Understand how 5G can impact industry, agribusiness and health

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The fifth generation of mobile internet may take up to eight years to be available to all Brazilians, but the 5G auction held this Thursday (4) in Brasília represents the kickoff for various sectors of the economy to draw up long-term strategies based on in greater connectivity.

In addition to 5G, the auction defines obligations for operators that purchase frequencies, including the massification of 4G coverage in the country.

Data from the GSMA consultancy indicate that 18% of the Brazilian mobile base will be 5G in 2025. With superior speed and low latency (time to transfer a data packet from one point to another), the technology is associated with increased productivity.

The speed of 5G reaches, on average, 1Gbps, being ten times faster than 4G. In some lab tests, it was a hundred times higher. An example: to download a movie in HD on 5G, you have to wait six seconds. The same file takes about six hours on 4G.

In Brazil, one of the sectors that awaits benefits from 5G is agribusiness — in part because the field is discovered through the internet, with connection in only 23% of the agricultural space. The arrival of 4G should already stimulate crop productivity, according to analysts, allowing activities such as precise irrigation, through sensors, and tracking of animals.

As 5G is about connecting objects, not people, several estimates point to exponential growth in the IoT (Internet of Things) industry as the technology spreads. According to Insider Intelligence, 12 million agricultural sensors are expected to be operational by 2023.

With chips embedded in plantations, farm management will be able to identify the sanitary situation of the crops (from changes in the surface of the plants to the need for water) and monitor the growth and development of the plants. On large farms, drones with artificial intelligence systems are able to apply pesticides after a quick X-ray on plants.

“The increase in productivity is obvious, we just don’t know when it will come. The biggest transformation will be in farm management, which will have decisions based on collected data, on facts, and no longer on intuition”, says Ricardo Inamasu, from Embrapa.

As in agro, the industry is also awaiting new forms of management, especially remote. 5G tends to stimulate the capture of data from machines and, due to the low latency, these records are quickly computed, which speeds up decision-making.

In several manufacturing industries, manufacturers envision new levels of optimization of assembly lines, with the adoption of augmented and virtual reality, technologies capable of simulating environments and displaying overlays on reality.

In companies in countries that have already adopted the technology, it is possible to stop the production of a car, for example, using a tablet or cell phone. It would be possible to stop a factory with 4G. The difference is that 5G allows for more reliability due to speed, making data communication almost immediate.

“What is most palpable today in other countries are inventory control and maintenance by augmented reality and drones, robotic agriculture and car factories, which already operate without the need for human intervention”, says Marcos Ferrari, president -executive of Conexis, which brings together the major operators.

Although the productive sector is benefited on a large scale, the final consumer receives an increase in speed for online activities, such as study and entertainment.

In health, the greatest promise comes from the telemedicine sector, which already carries out tests for remote surgeries operated with mechanical arms. An initiative by USP’s Hospital de Clínicas with several partners, such as Siemens, Itaú and Deloitte, tests a remote care system in underserved areas of medical infrastructure. From a private 5G network, images can be analyzed by doctors from large centers in almost real time, who will assist doulas or paramedics in remote areas.

“We usually look at 5G applications in richer countries, which already have infrastructure, but in Brazil we can look at other aspects, such as the use of technology to expand access to healthcare”, says Marcia Ogawa, lead partner of the Technology Industry, Media and Telecom from Deloitte.

For her, the main difference between 4G and 5G is that the offer related to the first technology was focused on the consumer, while the second should drive the emergence of new solutions and equipment to companies inserted in the chain.

A projection by Nokia, which participates in the construction of 5G networks, indicates that the technology will move US$ 1.2 billion (R$ 6.7 billion) of social and economic production in Brazil in 2035. According to the company, the most impacted areas will be manufacturing, services, agriculture and retail.

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