In this latest episode of Unlocking 5G in Wales, host Carwyn Jones talks to Rosemary Kay, Director of Liverpool 5G Health and Social Care, and Peter Shearman, Head of Innovation at Cisco, about the potential benefits of 5G in health and social care.
5G is the fifth generation of cellular network technology. It delivers higher speeds, wider bandwidth, lower latency, and more advanced capabilities than its predecessors. Mobile Network Operators began rolling out 5G networks in 2019, and it’s expected to become the primary cellular network in the coming years.
5G could prove incredibly useful in healthcare. 5G telecommunications promises not just high bandwidth, but also low latency (increased responsiveness) and an ability to encompass the Cloud and support a host of devices attached to the network. As a result, linking devices through the Internet of Things (IoT) will create more complex networks, while other systems that require huge amounts of data transfer, such as autonomous vehicles, robotic surgery and critical infrastructure monitoring, will experience gains inefficiency.
The health and social care industry has a complex regulatory environment and deeply embedded legacy systems which have traditionally slowed the adoption of new technologies. However, healthcare is the field that could experience the most change and will benefit from many aspects of 5G technology. According to Rosemary Kay, 5G “opens up a lot of possibilities for the use of private networks”.
She talks about Liverpool 5G in greater detail and their excitement for addressing health inequalities. Meanwhile, Peter Shearman speaks of how 5G will “bridge digital divides” and the importance of managing your own network. One of the biggest challenges in medicine is enabling patients to see their personal doctors in a timely manner, and the advent of telemedicine networks that can wirelessly support real-time high-quality video may provide a solution. Patients could talk to their doctors from home or workplaces, which should make scheduling appointments easier and allow increasing centralisation of general practitioners.
5G Wales Unlocked is a consortium project led by Welsh Government and combines the knowledge and resources of some of the world’s leading technology, security, academic and mobility organisations, including Cisco, BT, Cardiff University, UtterBerry, Jam Creative and AppyWay working in partnership with Monmouthshire County Council and Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council.