It will be a while before we have a national 5G network, but before long we will get a sneak preview when the 5G Hub opens its doors at the High Tech Campus in Eindhoven on January 30th 2020. It will enable learnings with 5G. How? Because the necessary 3.5 GHz test network frequency – distinguishing the network from its predecessors – will become available in and around the lab. But also innovating on 4G and IoT networks will become possible. Time for testing!
From theory to practice
"5G is on everybody's lips, but so far it's all about plans", says Jelmer Letterie, co-initiator of the 5G Hub on behalf of VodafoneZiggo. "In the Hub we will test those theories in practice. As soon as 5G will be rolled out on a national level, companies can then launch their innovative products tried and tested. In this way 5G will gain momentum."
Due to the special network frequency you can experiment with 5G in the Hub, but also with other technical gadgets. "We adopt a broader approach and also look e.g. at the Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence and sensor technology. And perhaps even combinations of those innovations. 5G makes plenty of new innovations possible. Apart from exploring the possibilities of 5G, however, we will also look into potential dangers."
A steppingstone for ideas
The Hub will have its own logo and style, its own corporate identity. According to Jelmer, though, it also needs a leitmotiv in the programming. "A dedicated research programme will make the Hub relevant", Jelmer explains. "In this way, it becomes interesting for companies to test innovations in the Hub. We want to make clear what kind of research will be tested here, what the goals are and what we expect from the participating companies. This programme will serve as a steppingstone for these companies' projects."
What ideas those companies will come up with, remains a question. But the Hub's schedule is already partly filled. Pop podium De Effenaar, soccer club PSV and Philips will be the first to start their projects as soon as the Hub opens its doors. De Effenaar will be experimenting with virtual reality and gaming, PSV looks at the possibilities of a smart stadium and Philips is working on connected ambulances. These are ambulances that use a superfast video connection to involve a heart specialist in the hospital. In an emergency situation, the specialist can already watch his patient on the way to the operating theatre.
A lot of brains
To realize all those plans, quite a number of parties are putting their heads together. Apart from the High Tech Campus, VodafoneZiggo, Brainport and Ericsson, also scientists, government institutions and numerous companies put in their pennyworth. "Together we will take those innovations to the next level", Jelmer explains. "As VodafoneZiggo we bring all parties together and enable them to do their job in the best possible way. That also means we arrange for technological support. Because having that network frequency is not sufficient in itself. We need to have experts at hand, too, that can use it, contribute ideas and assist when problems occur."
A lot of brains are therefore already involved in the Hub, but Jelmer is hoping for more. Particularly knowledge institutes are still lacking up till now, but also organisations from the rest of the Netherlands. "In that way we are not just making one region smarter. The Hub must become a hotbed of innovation. And we provide parties with the means they need to accomplish that."
Read more about VodafoneZiggo's activities in Eindhoven.