Enterprise Mobility & the Connected Worker Blog

Fact: 5G Will Save Lives

by Eric Klein | 12/6/2019


VDC recently had the opportunity to attend a 5G-oriented Verizon customer event; Nokia, (one of Verizon's 5G partners) also participated. 5G's role in augmenting public safety, transportation and smart cities were key themes, with both Verizon and Nokia showcasing solutions highlighting the possibilities the new communications standard was capable of delivering, and the significance of what reduced latency, high data rates, higher system capacity, and massive device connectivity would mean for public safety, smart cities and urban planning, and industrial IoT.

Customers attending ranged from Massachusetts-based fire departments, to local VC firms interested in better understanding 5G use cases. The venue (named Alley) is a co-working space that formerly stored aging telecommunications and network equipment located near Harvard’s campus.

Former NYPD and BPD Commissioner and LAPD Chief Bill Bratton, Nayeli Rodriguez (a technologist working for the City of Boston's Mayor's Office), Story Bellows of CityFi (an advisory/consulting firm focused on urban planning and public/private coalition building), and Andres Sevtsuk (an associate professor of Urban Science and Planning at MIT) were featured speakers at the event. Mr. Bratton discussed how the proliferation of sensors would augment public safety and our future; while the panel discussion featuring all of the aforementioned speakers focused on urban planning and 5G’s impact on smart cities.

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5G Demos
Both Verizon and Nokia SMEs attended and ran demos at the event, these were: Real Time Response System, Intersection Safety Analytics, Intelligent Lighting, Connected 5G City, High Speed Drones, and Network Slicing.

Based on the research and conversations I’ve recently had to support VDC’s upcoming healthcare report (From EMTs to Travelling Nurses, the Digitalization of Mission-Critical Healthcare Workflows) my thinking was focused in this context. While each of the demos had applicability to the healthcare market; I was most interested in the intersection safety solution that was showcased. Powered by Sensys Networks (Sensys recently merged with TagMaster and is Verizon’s key technology partner for this solution), the integrated IoT system utilizes machine vision technology to detect and analyze potential conflicts between pedestrians, vehicles, and cyclists. The solution is aimed at reducing (and ultimately eliminating) traffic-related deaths using real-time sensor data in conjunction with sophisticated machine vision technologies). Ambulances immediately came to mind, as there are massive opportunities to not only automate EMT workflows, but to provide enhanced situational awareness and enhance clinician decision-making by sharing patient information instantaneously, including data from patient records, diagnostic equipment and other inputs.

Emergency medical services (EMS) personnel rely on many different types of equipment to provide timely and effective treatment to patients requiring emergency care. This equipment ranges from basic transport vehicles, such as ambulances and helicopters; to medical devices, such as defibrillators and heart monitors; to communications equipment that allows for transmission of patient information between ambulance and hospital or among first responders in the case of a significant disaster event. In addition, patients rely on effective communications systems that enable them to summon help when needed and ensure that care is on the way.

The ability for first respondents to deliver and or receive predictive information in real-time prior to their arrival at the scene of an accident or arrival at an emergency room (including video and sensor data provided by patients, bystanders or devices such as drones) can be game and life changing. Armed with this information, EMTs will be better able to assess the safety of a scene and determine what resources might be needed early in the response – and doctors will have better information and be better prepared to treat patients. Lives will be saved.

Optimizing the usage of disparate technologies and leveraging improvements in connectivity will underpin any urgent care development involving public safety; particularly in the ambulance sector. Ambulances are key and critical operating environments ― it is essential that technology enables these vehicles to be a hub, with robust connectivity ― the technologies to enable this to become a reality is already here, with machine vision and the use of telematics supported by 5G technology front and center. Going forward, Verizon can be an active participant in helping ambulances gain vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2i) capabilities to ensure they have access to clearer roads in emergency situations while in transit to a hospital. This will help categorize medical emergencies and ensure that the correct resources are dispatched.

VDC is currently conducting interviews to support our healthcare research, From EMTs to Travelling Nurses, the Digitalization of Mission-Critical Healthcare Workflows. This report will focus on mobility’s role in future of healthcare services. If you have relevant experience and would like to provide your input, please contact Eric Klein at eklein@vdcresearch.com.