On the way to 5G: Orange is preparing mobile technology for the next decade!

To prepare the arrival of 5G, Orange is engaged in a joint building exercise with all ecosystems: research, universities, various sectors of the economy (especially transport, industry, health, entertainment). Orange is preparing for the arrival of 5G. Arnaud Vamparys, Director of Orange’s 5G program, explains what this technology will bring and details the three new experiments Orange is conducting with its technological partners.

Self-driving cars are one of the most symbolic applications of 5G. Within the next decade we can even imagine red lights disappearing altogether!

In concrete terms, what will the development of 5G technology offer in 2020?

Arnaud Vamparys: First, better mobile broadband, up to ten times faster than 4G. Next, high-performance fixed-line internet that will supplement locations where the fibre network is unavailable. And lastly, new industrial applications for different business sectors.

What changes will improved mobile broadband bring to businesses?

Arnaud Vamparys: 5G will offer higher performance in terms of speed and response time. For businesses, augmented reality solutions will become more widespread, which will make maintenance operations easier. What this means is that a technician will be able to see what repairs are needed using connected 3D glasses. 5G will also provide better coverage of corporate sites and digital campuses by offering a quality of service that is tailored to each application and business process, and that means no more cables!

And to consumers?

Arnaud Vamparys: You will have the unparalleled experience of multi-player online games or you can watch very-high definition TV on your phone, not to mention the ability to share videos in real time including at sporting events and concerts. We are also experimenting with using virtual reality, augmented reality and 360º video. The tourists visiting a city, for example, can show their family what they’re seeing in real time through connected glasses, and those same glasses can give them cultural insights or teach them about customs as they travel around. In short, 5G is really going to change our daily lives!

Why are you testing very-high speed fixed-line web access with 5G?

Arnaud Vamparys: Because for consumers, fixed-line 5G will be an added very-high performance solution in peri-urban areas where fibre networks can’t be connected directly to homes. For companies, fixed-line 5G will be an efficient solution like a fixed-access lifeline with performance that rivals fibre and will ensure solid availability at all times. In the second half of 2018 we will also be conducting a full-scale test in partnership with Samsung and Cisco with Orange customers in Romania to evaluate how mature fibre-equivalent 5G fixed-line technology is in Europe.

What will 5G mean for industries?

Arnaud Vamparys: 5G is going to spur the development of the internet of things, which will spark the rise of industrial automation and the automated surveillance of industrial sites. It will also usher in specialized real-time applications for the chemical and automotive industries. With Nokia, we created an innovation platform at Paris Saclay to test several cases in various industrial sectors. For example, in 2017 we completed a successful test of a fire detection and management drill at an industrial site. And we are continuing our research in 2018 on robot and remote-maintenance cases.

There’s a lot of talk about self-driving cars. Is that one of the most symbolic applications of 5G?

Arnaud Vamparys: Yes, on-board software downloads will be secured using 5G. The network will give the vehicle a bird’s-eye view of a highway or neighbourhood. Cars will have access to information about accidents and can opt for a faster route to avoid bottlenecks. They will also detect remaining battery power and can be guided to the closest recharging station. The first applications are expected to arrive starting 2022, and within the next decade, thanks to 5G, we can even imagine red lights disappearing altogether!

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