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Journey to 5G: Singtel and Ericsson to launch Singapore's first 5G pilot network

Drone and autonomous vehicle trials planned on pilot network at one-north

Singapore, 23 July, 2018 – Singtel and Ericsson will launch by the fourth quarter of this year Singapore’s first 5G pilot network at one-north, the country’s science, business and IT hub.

Using Ericsson’s 3GPP standards compliant 5G technology with the trial spectrum allocated by Info-Communications Media Development Authority (IMDA), the pilot network can deliver 5G coverage with enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB) speed and low latency communications. With speeds that are 10 times faster average speeds than prevailing 4G rates, 5G will enable the transmission of terabytes of data in minutes and 4K video downloads in seconds. Industries such as transportation, healthcare and manufacturing can leverage 5G to accelerate digital transformation and deploy advanced automation technologies.

“5G has the potential to accelerate the digital transformation of industries, as well as empower consumers with innovative applications,” said Mr Mark Chong, Group Chief Technology Officer at Singtel. “We are pleased to take another bold step in our journey to 5G with our 5G pilot network at one-north and invite enterprises to start shaping their digital future with us.” 

Singtel and Ericsson are planning drone and autonomous vehicle trials on their 5G pilot network later this year at one-north and other designated areas. Enterprises can use the network to develop new 5G use cases and tap the business potential of 5G. 

“This is an encouraging step towards commercialisation with live 5G trial networks made possible with the regulatory sandbox IMDA has in place,” said Ms Aileen Chia, Deputy Chief Executive and Director-General (Telecoms & Post) at IMDA.  “IMDA will continue to work closely with mobile service providers such as Singtel in their journey to build communication capabilities of the future and complement Singapore’s efforts towards a vibrant digital economy.”

Singtel announced the launch of its 5G pilot network at the “Bringing 5G to Life” event held at Singtel Comcentre today, where Singtel and Ericsson demonstrated cutting-edge 3D augmented reality (AR) streaming over a 5G network operating in the 28GHz millimetre wave spectrum. The first-of-its-kind demonstration enabled participants to view and interact with lifelike virtual objects such as a photorealistic human anatomy and a 360-degree image of the world. The immersive experience was then streamed in real-time to a remote audience via 5G, illustrating the possibilities of using 3D AR technology for large scale remote learning in various industries such as medical and education.

“5G represents a key mobile technology evolution, opening up new possibilities and applications,” said Mr Martin Wiktorin, Country Manager for Ericsson Singapore, Brunei & the Philippines. “We believe that 5G will play a key role in the digital transformation of the Singapore economy. Demonstrating the possibilities in this showcase event will be a catalyst for engagements with Singapore enterprises.”

The event showcases the emerging technologies from partners – Garuda Robotics, Intel, Meta, Rohde & Schwarz and Sony. The companies demonstrated how enterprises and consumers can use technologies such as AR, mixed reality, connected drones, real time HD 3D mapping as well as cloud-based gaming and robotics.

The event is a key milestone achieved by Singtel and Ericsson’s 5G Centre of Excellence programme, which was established in 2017 to facilitate the development and deployment of 5G across Singapore. The programme features four main pillars: upgrading of employees’ skills, technology demonstrations, live field trials and collaborations with tertiary institutions.

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Singtel and Ericsson: Bringing 5G to Life

Demo Factsheet

Booth One - “Future of Communications”

·         3D Augmented Reality (AR) Collaboration

The highlight of the event is the demonstration of live 3D AR Collaboration over a 5G network. At this booth, participants view and interact with lifelike virtual objects such as photorealistic human anatomy and a 360-degree image of planet Earth. The immersive experience is streamed in real-time to a wider remote audience via 5G.

3D AR brings a whole new level of immersive experience and interactivity with virtual objects. By sharing the immersive experience with remote participants, connected by a high-speed and ultra-low latency 5G network, this technology has the potential to change the way enterprises collaborate and for AR-based learning to be delivered. Enterprises can use such technology for remote expert assistance, training simulations and immersive collaboration.

With advancements in AR technology, miniaturisation of AR devices and a 5G network providing ultra-high speeds and low latency, AR has the potential to become pervasive in enterprise use cases as well as consumer applications. Examples of industries that will benefit from AR include service industries providing remote assistance, healthcare, education and retail.

This demonstration was created in partnership with Meta.

·         Live 5G Radio system operating at 28GHz spectrum

Ericsson has set up the Ericsson 5G radio system operating at the millimetre wave band, using 28GHz trial spectrum. Live traffic from demonstrations on show at the event are transmitted over the 5G radio system. The Intel® 5G Mobile Trial Platform is used in the demonstration as the 5G User Equipment.

·         Test tools for 5G

Spectrum measurements of the 5G radio transmission at the event is captured using R&S®TSME drive test scanner and R&S®ROMES drive test software. 5G signals transmitting using 400MHz of bandwidth at the 28GHz millimetre wave band is shown to the audience. That is twenty times the bandwidth of 4G carriers today.

This demonstration was created in partnership with Intel and Rohde & Schwarz.

Booth Two - “Digitalisation of Transport”

·         Cloud Gaming

Cloud gaming is rapidly gaining traction. Leveraging on the computing power available in the cloud, gamers can enjoy high resolution games using a low cost device such as raspberry pi. 5G provides the low latency wireless connectivity to enable Cloud Gaming anywhere.

At this booth, participants play “The Crew 2” in full HD using a raspberry pi and a Bluetooth controller. The cloud environment provides the computing resources and demanding graphics processing for the game, with the video streamed to raspberry pi over the 5G network.

Using their smartphones, cloud gamers can play anytime, anywhere, such as while waiting for a bus, without the need for game consoles.

·         Connected Urban Transport

Cities represent an ecosystem of residents, traffic, road infrastructure, vehicles, bikes, fleet owners, public transport, logistics providers, just to name a few. This ecosystem is complex, in the sense that there is a lot of fragmentation, both in terms of technology (mix of legacy and modern systems) and market (many niche players that have no relation to each other).

The Connected Urban Transport solution is designed to overcome this fragmentation, by monitoring and optimising the available assets in cities. With a central dashboard overview of all connected assets that unites insights with actions, cities can solve their biggest traffic issues. 5G can provide the massive connectivity for all the urban transport assets. At the event, live information from buses and infrastructure (e.g. bus stops) in the city of Gothenburg were on display.

The Connected Urban Transport is one of the applications based on Ericsson’s IoT Accelerator platform and will help bring together all the technologies supporting transport in one city.

·         HD 3D Mapping

Creating a live and accurate digital representation of the environment is one of the key enablers of autonomous driving. The 5G network can help extend the digital horizon of autonomous cars. By using on board sensors that are linked to the 5G network, autonomous vehicles can overcome the limitations of cameras. For instance, real time data gleaned from surrounding vehicles, road infrastructure, smartphones and on board sensors will provide an up to date high-definition, dynamic 3D map that autonomous vehicles can use to safely navigate roads.

5G can provide the high speeds and low latency required to enable these massive data transfers efficiently. HD 3D mapping is one of the technologies that can make autonomous driving safer and more efficient, moving towards an autonomous vehicle future for Singapore.  

Booth Three – “Mixed Reality” and “Future of Collaboration and Education”

·         Remote Interactivity over any surface

With evolution of projector technology, any surface can be part of user interaction. 5G enables low-latency connectivity, allowing remote collaboration and interactivity anywhere and on any surface with advanced projectors. We demonstrate this capability by having a game of virtual ping-pong. Two persons in different locations can play a game, when there is low latency, as provided by 5G, across the wireless network. Remote interactivity can benefit both work and play. From educational apps, games, projection TV to collaborative workplaces, remote interactivity supported by 5G has the potential to improve learning outcomes; entertainment options and workplace productivity and efficiency. 

This demonstration was created in partnership with Sony.

·         Workplace collaboration

T is a Concept Prototype from Sony R&D that creates interactive space on a table or surfaces of real objects. Users can intuitively and naturally experiment manipulating images and information projected into the space. The projector uses a number of Sony advanced technologies such as object recognition, gesture recognition, advanced projection with deep focus range.

We demonstrate an example of how an architecture design comes alive with advanced projectors. The projector is able to recognise the object, detect motion and adjust the projection. This technology opens up a new level of interaction and collaboration and can be used in areas such as city planning, product design, retail and edutainment. Ultra-fast and low-latency connectivity provided by a 5G network can enable such advanced projectors to access databases in the cloud for object recognition and application downloads.

We also demonstrated the following innovative ideas:

  • Characters in “Alice in Wonderland” story book comes alive, creating an interactive educational experience.
  • “Comfortable dining” shows an interesting concept of enhancing a diner’s experience by integrating personal information and enhancing mood and experience. This has potential application for enhancing customer’s experience for the retail and service industry.
  • “Music Tangible” demonstrates the possibilities of creating your own orchestra music piece and collaborating with others.

This demonstration was created in partnership with Sony.

Booth Four - “Future of Connected Drones” and “Future of Manufacturing”

·         5G Connected Drones

Commercial drones today are mainly operated within Line of Sight, limiting their usage to within the range of the drone pilot. BVLOS (Beyond Visual Line of Sight) flights, whereby drones can be piloted remotely at longer distances or by a pre-defined flight path, represent a huge opportunity for the drone industry. BVLOS flights open up a whole new range of use cases such as large scale mapping, long-range inspection, security patrols and package deliveries.

BVLOS drones will require a reliable, low-latency wireless 5G connectivity for the drones to be monitored and controlled by a drone operations centre. At the booth, a nano-drone flies over a 3D city model. 

This demonstration was created in partnership with Garuda Robotics.

·         Cloud Robotics

5G is a potential enabler for the adoption of Industry 4.0 in the manufacturing industry. 5G technologies provide the network characteristics essential for manufacturing. Low latency, high reliability, huge bandwidth and connection density is what manufacturers need for ubiquitous connectivity. Moving from wired to wireless connection within a factory improves worker safety and better floor space utilisation. 5G mobile technology will allow for higher flexibility, lower cost, and shorter lead times for factory floor production reconfiguration, layout changes, and alterations.

At this booth, we conduct a demonstration of the ultra-low latency network required to operate a robotic arm using hand motion.