Key Takeaways for Ireland from Equinix’s 5G Virtual Roundtable
Panellists agreed there are a number of challenges to be addressed and steps to take before 5G can deliver on its promise for Ireland
Businesses with processes, services or applications requiring high speed and low latency are likely to be the first to make use of the technology
Industries such as manufacturing, agriculture and mining can benefit hugely by deploying 5G at scale
Examples of use cases explored include a 5G-powered quarry with remotely operated vehicles, and Dublin’s Smart Docklands project, used to trial 5G proof-of-concepts ranging from autonomous vehicles, to smart tourism leveraging virtual reality
DUBLIN, Ireland – 16th December 2020 – At a virtual roundtable hosted by Equinix, Inc. (Nasdaq: EQIX), the world’s digital infrastructure company, a panel of industry thought leaders met to discuss the development of 5G in Ireland. The online discussion provided insight into the digital infrastructure and coordinated approach required in Ireland to ensure 5G can successfully power transformative use cases across the country.
Director of Interconnection at Equinix, Brenden Rawle, was joined by some of Ireland’s foremost 5G thought leaders in Karim Benabdallah, head of end-to-end strategy and development at Three, Jamie Cudden, smart city programme manager for Dublin City Council, and Stephen Soraghan, managing director, Edge Automation.
The panel discussed how 5G is rapidly taking its place at the heart of the digital economy, giving businesses across many industries a competitive edge through greater speed, lower latency and more connected devices. All panellists agreed there are a number of challenges to be addressed and steps to take before 5G can deliver on its promise.
Some industries set to benefit before others
The discussion explored what industries in Ireland are already—or are soon to be—the major beneficiaries of 5G. Businesses with processes, services or applications that require low latency and high speed are among the first making use of the technology. Edge Automation is already working with Irish manufacturing companies to show how 5G-powered production lines can provide huge savings over time through enhanced efficiency based on faster machine connection speeds with minimum input lag.
Some of Ireland’s most important industries such as agriculture, mining and quarrying, can also benefit hugely by deploying 5G at scale. For example, establishing a 5G network in a quarry can power remotely operated vehicles to enhance safety, reduce costs and boost productivity; while farmers can use the technology to monitor field conditions and more accurately determine when crops need water, pesticides or fertiliser. These highly practical applications will help drive widespread adoption.
Ireland as a testbed for global adoption
Karim Benabdallah from Three, highlighted Ireland’s openness and global mindset as a key strength that will be a driving factor in the speed of 5G development nationwide. Using Ireland as a reference site to solve problems through 5G unlocks huge opportunities for innovators to then scale successful applications at a global level.
Dublin City Council is closely involved in the Smart Docklands project, creating a highly connected site to trial 5G proofs of concepts, ranging from autonomous vehicles, to smart tourism leveraging virtual reality. Through continued cross-industry and academic engagement, this project is an example of how Ireland can play a leading role in pioneering 5G applications, with digital partners like Equinix offering a means for organisations to seamlessly export their ideas from a local to global level.
Collaboration and joined-up thinking essential
It costs nothing to talk—this was the shared sentiment that emerged when discussing next steps for Ireland’s 5G rollout. Early phases of development will require collaboration between first adopters, network operators, data centre and interconnection partners, and government and public bodies. As well as helping to coordinate investment and strategic planning, this collaborative approach must extend to the end-users. Putting the customer at the heart of the 5G discussion is essential to understanding the most pressing areas requiring initial focus.
Phasing investment to meet demand
The need for collaboration becomes clear when it comes to investing and implementing the technology itself. Deploying 5G technology is expensive. Large numbers of small cells and relays are required to effectively run a 5G-powered smart area, requiring significant investment. Aside from private sector investments, identifying the areas which can benefit most from 5G and targeting a phased rollout will be key to more widespread 5G rollout. Low-band 5G with less capacity, but still delivering extremely low latency, may serve as the initial starting point for the rollout to rural areas, with targeted 5G testbeds within dense city areas showcasing more advanced possibilities.
The webinar concluded by outlining the initial steps organisations can take to commence their 5G journeys. Panellists advised of the iterative nature of the process and recommended that businesses first engage with their telecom provider and digital partners to discuss possibilities.
The full online discussion is available to download through Equinix’s website here.
Equinix (Nasdaq: EQIX) is the world’s digital infrastructure company, enabling digital leaders to harness a trusted platform to bring together and interconnect the foundational infrastructure that powers their success. Equinix enables today’s businesses to access all the right places, partners and possibilities they need to accelerate advantage. With Equinix, they can scale with agility, speed the launch of digital services, deliver world-class experiences and multiply their value.
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