From self-driving cars to smart heat pumps, Minister of Economic Affairs Micky Adriaansens has seen first-hand what the world could look like with 5G technology at the 5G Hub. And she was enthusiastic: "Smart connectivity is making the way we live, work and produce better and more sustainable. It's very important that these initiatives continue to be possible and are expanded."

The 5G Hub at the High Tech Campus in Eindhoven is buzzing with activity this afternoon. Businesspeople and collaboration partners are busily walking back and forth and tweaking their presentations. They have at least one thing in common: everything runs on 5G technology. This includes a weeding robot, a tool that gives ships real-time insight into their energy and fuel consumption, and a camera system that can independently film a hockey game by accurately detecting everything on the field. It is the power of 5G in practice.

Superfast switching
The 5G Hub is an incubator for new 5G technology. "5G is characterised by the high speed at which data is sent, ultra-short response times and a reliable connection," explained Sander van der Zande, Technology Strategy Manager at VodafoneZiggo, in his welcome speech. "It has enabled us to develop the applications you see here this afternoon - applications for which a fast and reliable network is essential. A remote-controlled car to check whether an area is safe, for example, which requires a super-fast, stable connection between the car and the remote driver. One that transmits images instantly, so you don't bump into anything. 5G makes that possible. Those qualities are also essential for applications related to augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and the Internet of Things."

The state of digital Netherlands
To make all this possible, a strong digital infrastructure is indispensable. And there could be a bit more attention paid to this in the Netherlands, according to the minister. She recently sent a report entitled The State of Digital Infrastructure to the House of Representatives. The report maps out why such a digital infrastructure is important and what is being done to ensure it works optimally now and in the future. Too little, the report says. The minister therefore advocates for investments that foster initiatives and product development, for sufficient capacity on the energy grid, and for physical spaces where companies can develop and offer digital services. Such as the 5G Hub.

Self-thinking heat pump
Within the 5G Hub, partners VodafoneZiggo, Ericsson, Brainport Development and High Tech Campus are working with businesses on innovative applications. They are looking forward to showing the minister what is possible with 5G technology this afternoon. For example, WeHeat is working on sustainable and smarter heat pumps in the hub, with the technology doing the thinking. Tijs van Elzen, commercial director, WeHeat: "With 5G, we can read a pump remotely as well as remotely fix problems. For this, you need to send a lot of data back and forth at once and you need a reliable connection. 5G is ideal for that."

In addition, WeHeat makes heating simple. "We are developing a system where the heat pump itself learns how to heat a house most efficiently based on the desired temperature. The pump regulates itself based on user behaviour and desires. This is even more sustainable and it saves a lot of work for the user and installer."

Maintaining leading position
After a tour of the initiatives, the final word is for the minister. She is impressed by all she has seen: "This is the place where you can show what is possible with 5G; this is where the technology really comes to life. Our Dutch digital infrastructure places us among the absolute best in the world. This leading position contributes greatly to our economy. We need to keep it that way. As businesses, government and consumers, we can’t do without it. The initiatives I have seen this afternoon are wonderful examples of what is possible now, and what will be possible in the future."

Jeroen Hoencamp, CEO of VodafoneZiggo: "Technology is one thing, but here you experience what it means when partners come together and innovate together. That's when the Netherlands really makes a difference. We have to maintain our focus and continue investing; otherwise, we’ll soon fall behind. This requires investment and the space to develop the network in the Netherlands."

5g hub eindhoven CEO en minister