5G Industrial Applications
Featuring high bandwidth, high reliability, low latency, and massive connections, 5G extends its applications to various industries and fields far beyond traditional telecom and mobile internet. Typical 5G application scenarios include self-driving, remote control, VR/AR, smart manufacturing, and smart grid. Those applications that are unavailable for use or provide poor experience because of limited network capacity will be developed rapidly and be deployed on a large scale in the 5G era.
Self-driving is regarded as one of the most typical 5G applications that raise high requirements for network bandwidth, reliability, and latency. Self-driving also needs high-precision maps to implement centimeter-level positioning. Because the maps contain a substantial amount of vector information such as road marks and traffic signs as well as land-cover information abstracted from laser-point clouds and videos, downloading real-time high-precision navigation maps requires a network with high bandwidth and low latency. Meanwhile, since the self-driving vehicle uploads sensor-collected data to the cloud in real time for map update and coordination among vehicles, certain requirements are placed on uplink bandwidth.
Self-driving uses V2X communication to implement coordination between multiple vehicles and cloud-based decision-making such as advance notice of traffic light signals and game of two self-driving vehicles at the intersection. V2V communication used for collision avoidance to ensure vehicle safety has high requirements for latency and reliability.
Remote control refers to remote operations to remote devices through a 5G network, including remote engineering machinery control, remote medical treatment, and connected drones.
Remote control applications need to transmit two types of signals. In the uplink, a remote controlled device uploads videos and device status data to the cloud. In the downlink, the cloud server delivers the control and operation instructions to the remote device. The latency of the control feedback and loopback needs to be reduced as much as possible so that remote operators can have field operation experience. In most cases, the latency must be less than 100 ms. There are also high requirements for transmission reliability of control signals.
VR applications include VR videos and VR games. To provide immersive panoramic video experience, VR videos require 60 PPD pixel density and 120 Hz screen refreshing rate. The transmission bandwidth of compressed videos requires nearly 2 Gbps, and even optimized display transmission solutions such as FOV transmission require a bandwidth of over 100 Mbps. This poses a big challenge to network bandwidth and capacity.
VR games tend to be cloud VR. Animation and render that involve a large amount of computation are made at the cloud, and the HMD at the client only displays video images produced at the cloud and implements game instructions. To prevent dizziness from VR games, the motion-to-photons (MTP) latency must be less than 20 ms. In the cloud VR scenario, the latency of network transmission must be less than 10 ms.
AR can be widely applied to industrial design, surgery, and equipment assembly and repair on the production line. AR glasses can superpose virtual objects on the real environment through modeling of the real 3D space, and can also allow people to easily view the anatomical figure of the objects. The transmission of AR videos requires high-bandwidth and low-latency features provided in 5G networks.
Smart manufacturing uses ubiquitous connection, full perception, real-time control, and smart data analysis to enable flexible and smart production processes, increase production efficiency, and make production closer to end users. 5G is used for smart manufacturing in the following scenarios:
● Real-time control: Future robots will be cloud-based with centralized control at the cloud. This raises high requirements for communication latency and reliability (a latency of 1 to 50 ms delay and a reliability of 99.999 %).
● Video application: The applications include wearable devices and industrial image processing. The bandwidth ranges from 100 Mbps to 1 Gbps, and the latency is less than 100 ms.
● Industrial IoT: The applications involve collecting and reporting data of industrial meters and sensors, which require massive access capabilities and extremely low power consumption for terminals.
● Scheduling of mobile devices: The applications include real-time scheduling of AGVs and mobile robots, which transmit control signals with a latency of 50 to 1000 ms.
Smart grid covers electric power generation, transmission and transformation, distribution, usage, and other links for power production and consumption. Each link has different requirements for communication. The protection and control functions of power transmission and transformation as well as smart power distribution require highly reliable and real-time communications, video surveillance of communication links raises high requirements for bandwidth, and remote metering and data collection at the user side require large-scale coverage and massive connections.
5G network slicing can satisfy special communication requirements for different smart grid applications through the same physical network that contains the power control slice for managing power distribution control data and commands, the power monitoring slice for collecting and uploading massive meter data, and the power communication slice for secure voice calls.
ZTE's 5G Industrial Application Practices
Thoughts on 5G Industrial Applications
5G applications in vertical industries are being experimented and explored. The current work involves analyzing 5G needs, discussing its application scenarios, and demonstrating 5G commercial prototypes. ZTE believes that 5G will be gradually applied and expanded to the vertical industries as its commercial deployment is accelerated.
In the initial stage of 5G commercialization, dominant applications will still cover high-speed mobile data services for individual end users as well as fixed and mobile broadband services for business users. Major services will be based on eMBB applications. As 5G commercialization steps up, bandwidth-consuming applications such as AR/VR and HD/UHD videos will develop explosively and become killer applications. In the development stage, 5G applications for vertical industries will gradually mature. 5G will be widely applied in the industries covering the manufacturing, transportation, electric power, medical care and education, and also speed up their digital transformation. In the mature stage of 5G commercialization, the need for massive IoT connections will gradually explode as 5G industrial applications prevail and the IoE trend emerges.
ZTE has invested heavily in 5G and kept its leading position in the industry. It has also actively explored 5G industrial applications and established extensive and in-depth cooperation with operators and industrial partners worldwide, preparing for the upcoming 5G era. ZTE has established partnerships with leading enterprises in various industries ranging from self-driving/internet of vehicles (IoV), AR/VR, smart manufacturing, to electric power and healthcare (Fig. 1). The company has built up a 5G ecosystem alliance for various industrial applications.
In terms of self-driving, ZTE and Baidu jointly applied for a major national technological project and conducted the industry’s first field test of 5G-based self-driving cars in Xiong’an New Area in March 2018. ZTE has also cooperated with Audi China in the IoV field. In the manufacturing industry, ZTE has worked with Xinsong, China’s leading robotic company, to explore 5G applications in the smart manufacturing field. In the electric power industry, ZTE has partnered with the State Grid Corporation of China to validate the applications of uRLLC and network slicing in the smart grid. In the healthcare industry, ZTE has worked with BGI to trial 5G-based remote ultrasonic diagnosis.
As 5G speeds up its commercialization, ZTE will further expand its cooperation with industrial partners worldwide to embrace a bright 5G era.
5G industrial applications, VR/AR, self-driving, remote control, V2X communication, smart manufacturing, smart grid