Telstra has partnered with Australian start-up tagSpace to deliver the next generation of augmented reality (AR) experiences.
The partnership will leverage Telstra’s 5G connectivity and allow customers to view important information, directions and updates on the world around them through their smartphone and augmented reality.
tagSpace augmented reality transforms smartphones into windows through which they can view the world with near real-time information overlaid – information such as when their train is coming and how packed it is or where the nearest restaurant is and what the specials are.
5G’s ability to enable responsive visual experiences, fast downloading of content and support more users can help take AR experiences to the next level, Telstra says.
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Telstra added that beta testing has already begun at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne and The Sydney Opera House – two perfect use cases for how the app will flourish in high-density situations.
Telstra product specialist Ben Cunningham said as Australians emerge from COVID lockdowns and return to live events, he could see the AR service providing real value at stadiums and tourist hotspots.
“Telstra 5G allows us to add additional layers of live data so, if you are a sports fan in a stadium we can guide you to your seat, give you live team news updates and even tell you where the shortest line is to get your pie, right on your Telstra 5G-enabled smartphone.
“Together with tagSpace, we are leveraging the low latency, high-capacity connection that 5G can offer and creating a whole new visual experience for our customers.”
tagSpace founder Paul Martin added “tagSpace’s vision is to enable information, navigation and entertainment at every location in the world, using AR. Our patented technology makes it incredibly easy for businesses to make their own AR content.
“Consumers can then enjoy it as continuous AR experiences throughout city-scale environments.
“Our ability to display dozens of simultaneous, live-streaming videos and near real-time information, whilst blending the real world with the virtual, legitimately exploits the power that 5G can offer.
“tagSpace’s partnership with Telstra is helping us leverage that technology to provide new, helpful and exciting services and experiences for Australians.”
The testing of tagSpace coincides with the beginning of Telstra’s mmWave 5G rollout. mmWave brings 5G to life by providing the capacity to facilitate data rich applications in high traffic areas such as tourism hotspots, shopping centres or even sports stadiums, Telstra commented.
Telstra added that mmWave is a step change in the evolution of 5G, increasing the capacity by a factor of ten which enables tens of thousands of users to connect to the network in the same place at the same time without compromising connectivity.
mmWave signals only travel a short distance so Telstra’s first phase of rollout will focus on transport hubs, shopping centres, tourist hotspots such as the Sydney Opera House and sports stadiums such as the MCG.
Telstra said it has begun the rollout of mmWave 5G and currently has 65 sites live across 5 major cities and expects to almost triple that number before the end of the year.
This first appeared in the subscription newsletter CommsWire on 4 November 2021.
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Legal technology company Xakia Technologies has appointed Denise Doyle to the role of chief product officer.
“Denise joins Xakia Technologies at an exciting time as we continue to expand globally, and I’m delighted to welcome her to the team,” said Xakia Technologies founder CEO Jodie Baker.
“She has extensive LegalTech and legal matter management product knowledge and expertise, coupled with the visionary skills to lead the evolution of Xakia, making it accessible for everybody.”
Doyle has recently held consulting roles at Primo Foods and AMP, and previously worked for Telstra as its first legal enablement lead.
Earlier in her career, she spent eight years at Westpac, culminating in the role of head of finance transformation and global shared services.
Doyle’s industry certifications include Scrum Master and Lean Six Sigma Black Belt.
In her new role at Xakia she will split her time between Australia and North America.
“I was attracted to Xakia Technologies for its customer-centric thinking and innovative approach to providing legal teams with simple, yet functionality-rich, cloud-based software,” said Doyle.
“With its ability to cater to legal teams of one to 1000 with ease of scalability and affordability, I’m excited to help drive key product initiatives for the continued expansion of Xakia.”
Semiconductor company Qualcomm and NEC are collaborating to develop a 5G open and virtualised distributed unit powered by Qualcomm’s X100 5G RAN Accelerator card to drive transition towards modern networks.
The solution will be developed under the 5G Open RAN Ecosystem (OREC) initiative, led by NTT Docomo, with the objective to globally accelerate open RAN.
The partnership will see both companies redefine how mobile networks are designed, Qualcomm says. Network operators find it difficult to deploy cost-effective 5G network infrastructure while answering to the complexities and demands of next-generation networks.
Qualcomm Technologies and NEC are addressing these issues by developing an O-RAN compliant solution to simplify and lower the total cost of ownership of 5G deployments.
“The development of 5G open and virtualized DU solutions will help drive our OREC activities to make 5G RAN deployment more open and flexible with industry leaders,” NTT Docomo general manager radio access network development department Sadayuki Abeta says.
NEC general manager, 2nd wireless access solutions division Katsumi Tanoue says the integration of 5G RAN platforms within NEC O-RAN products will provide a tremendous advantage.
“The Qualcomm X100 5G RAN Accelerator Card aims to deliver lower power and best in class performance to meet the performance demands at the edge and capture new revenue opportunities,” Tanoue says.
“Joining forces with NEC is at the heart of advancing the cellular ecosystem and accelerating the innovation cycle to enable the fast track of deploying modern networks at scale,” concludes Qualcomm senior vice president and general manager 5G mobile broadband and infrastructure Durga Malladi.
This first appeared in the subscription newsletter CommsWire on 5 November 2021.
Telstra has boosted battery back-up power at 341 mobile tower sites in regional Australia, extending power reserves from three hours up to 12 hours for some of the country’s most remote towns. The upgrades were made with assistance from the Australian Government’s Strengthening Telecommunications Against Natural Disasters (STAND) program.
Telstra group executive for networks & IT Nikos Katinakis said the project, which included the addition of smart charging and monitoring capability, was delivered ahead of schedule.
“The Australian Government committed $11.4 million to the project, with the expectation it would be completed by the end of 2021,” Katinakis said. “We delivered the project in eight months, so we were well-prepared ahead of disaster season. “Our teams did a phenomenal job managing the logistical challenges of COVID restrictions and border closures – transporting more than 8,600 new battery cells weighing a total of 500,000 kilograms across the country was no small feat.”
Minister for Emergency Management and Regional Communications Senator Bridget McKenzie said, these upgrades were part of the Government’s plan to improve telecommunications resilience across regional and remote Australia.
“Our priority is to provide Australians with better access to reliable communication services, which is why we committed $11.4 million to boost the battery back-up power of these 341 mobile tower sites – all of which were funded under Rounds 1 and 2 of the Liberal and National Government’s Mobile Black Spot Program.
“Access to telecommunications is vital before, during and after an emergency, so having longer lasting backup power sources will be critical to ensuring the community and emergency services remain connected during a natural disaster,” McKenzie said.
Katinakis said the upgrades were part of a raft of measures Telstra takes to prepare for disaster season in Australia.
“In our long history we’ve had lots of first-hand experience dealing with natural disasters,” he said.
“Our teams work year-round to get ready, and we have State and hazard-specific plans in place to prepare for, respond to and recover from these events.
“Throughout the year we also use network data, customer feedback, and the experience of our field technicians to proactively strengthen our fixed and mobile networks. Our monitoring systems now capture around 100 terabytes of network data each day which helps us identify potential issues before they affect our regional customers.”
While these battery upgrades will provide vital power resiliency, Katinakis said it was not technically possible to provide power back-up for extended power outages, and mains power suppliers also played a critical role in ensuring local communities stay connected.
“Mains power outages cause the vast majority of interruptions to our services during emergencies. In fact, a report by the Australian Communications and Media Authority found that almost 90 per cent of network outages over the Black Summer bushfires were caused by a lack of mains power,” he said.
“When the mains supply of electricity fails, our battery back-up or generators kick-in. But batteries and generators are not a silver bullet, especially when trying to protect this equipment during fire and floods and in the face of lengthy mains power outages of the kind we often experience during disasters.
“We have more than 10,900 mobile network sites that require power and the power requirements at these sites are enormous. A typical regional mobile site uses the same amount of power as over 60 family sized refrigerators operating 24/7. This places logistical limits on the types of back-up power and how long it can reasonably maintain operation during a failure of mains power.”
Katinakis said Telstra would continue to do what it can to boost power resiliency at these sites. “Over and above the STAND program, we have replaced batteries at over 2,100 network sites nationally since July 2019, and this will continue into the next financial year,” he said. “Staying in touch is something most of us take for granted during the best of times, and we understand its importance during the worst of times.”
It is interesting to note that we now have a ‘disaster season’, and it is commendable that the Government is actively supporting infrastructure resilience. However, as demonstrated at COP26 in Glasgow, it’s a shame that little is being done to address the cause of this more prevalent ‘disaster season’. For example, the Liberal National NSW Government is to soon make a decision on the Kurri Kurri gas plant, possibly one of reasons that PM Morrison didn’t sign up to curbing methane emissions at COP26. So let us spend ever increasing amounts of money band-aiding infrastructure resilience rather than addressing underlying causes, it’s no wonder the world leaders, at COP26, shunned our PM.
This first appeared in the subscription newsletter CommsWire on 5 November 2021.
An innovative 5G robot connectivity trial in Denmark has enabled a teenage student to join his classmates in real time, inside and outside the classroom, during the school day despite having a medical condition which prevents him from physically attending school.
Ericsson says that Rasmus Dalsten (13), from Herlev in Denmark, experiences a full day in the presence of his peers via a tablet with a live video connection from a 5G smartphone mounted on a fully mobile robot in the school premises.
The extremely low latency, fast speed and high data-handling capabilities of 5G mean that Rasmus, who is unable to physically attend school because of a lung condition, not only doesn’t miss out on classroom or schoolyard activity, but has the freedom to move and look where he wants, Ericsson says.
Ericsson said that Rasmus had a previous robot that was controlled by teachers and classmates at school. If he wanted to change the view of what he was seeing, someone at school had to physically turn the robot in that direction.
With 5G, Rasmus has full control of the robot, called Fable, which is about the size of a small teddy bear. Wherever he wants to go, and whoever he wants to make contact with at school, he controls Fable to become his real-time eyes and ears, the company says.
He can react to classroom lessons as they happen by steering Fable himself. If someone behind Fable makes a comment as part of a discussion, Rasmus can manoeuvre Fable to see who is speaking, and even join in.
Rasmus says: “I’ve got a new robot that I can turn around myself and it’s no trouble for the adults or myself. It is very nice.”
Rasmus’s mother, Charlotte Dalsten, is impressed that Fable, which Rasmus has trialed for six months, allows him to make instant eye contact with his classmates.
“Rasmus logs onto the PC and the iPad, which is connected to the robot,” she says. “This way he gets to be with his school class all day, during lunch breaks and in class. It has been important for me to see that Rasmus is happy when he logs on, that the others interact with him and that he is able to look around and make eye contact with them.”
Rasmus’s teacher, Cille, says the 5G-powered robot enables Rasmus to take part in lessons on a par with other classmates who are physically in the room.
“It is not me who decides if he looks at the blackboard or if he looks at those in the classroom who are speaking,” she says. “He decides where to look and where to go. That’s what he would do if he was here physically. So that has clearly been the biggest benefit.”
Ericsson says that the 5G trial emerged from collaboration between Danish communications service provider, TDC Net, Danish robotics company Shape Robotics and Ericsson at the TDC/Ericsson 5G Innovation Hub in Denmark. Ericsson, TDC Net and Shape Robotics say the trial has proved the potential of 5G-enabled mobile robotic connectivity use across a host of use cases spanning domestic, workplace and industrial applications.
Shape Robotics CTO and co-Founder Moises Pacheco says, “Thanks to the collaboration with TDC NET and Ericsson, we have been able to show the potential in combining 5G technology with robots in an educational setting. Although Fable also works with 4G, in practice, it is a different robot when using 5G. With 5G, students experience lightning-fast sound and image, so they can participate on the same terms as other students.”
TDC NET vice president technology strategy and economics Toke Binzer says, “It is roughly a year since we initiated the launch of the first nationwide 5G network in Denmark. Since then, we have seen increased interest in using the technology to deliver value within many different sectors.Robots connected to the 5G-network can, unlike other robots, both send and receive large amounts of data without delays, while at the same time being able to be controlled remotely. And if we take a step back from the educational sector it becomes clear that the learnings from this project can be transferred to other areas such healthcare, social care and working remotely across industries.”
Ericsson head of Denmark Niclas Backlund says, “Denmark was one of the first countries in the world to roll out a nationwide 5G network. I am convinced that the Danish robot example, together with the other initiatives we have implemented with the 5G Innovation Hub, can inspire companies beyond our borders. 5G proves to be a fruitful innovation platform for new use cases. This remote school application really shows the power of digitalisation to address societal needs and is an excellent example of digital inclusion.”
This first appeared in the subscription newsletter CommsWire on 3 November 2021.
The accelerated roll-out of 5G connectivity across Europe and the UK will have an immediate and catalysing impact in reducing CO2e emissions, according to a new study commissioned by Ericsson.
As European nations ramp up efforts to address climate targets, a new Europe-wide analysis finds that implementing 5G technology across four high-emitting sectors – power, transport, manufacturing, and buildings – could create 55-170MtCO2e of emissions savings per year, the same saving that would be achieved by removing 35 million cars. That’s one in seven cars on Europe’s roads, Ericsson says.
The study reports that at least 40% of the EU’s carbon reduction solutions, up until 2030, will rely on fixed-line and mobile connectivity.
These solutions, such as the development of renewable energy generators, could reduce EU emissions by 550 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (550MtCO2e), which is nearly half of the emissions created by the entire EU energy supply sector in 2017, and 15% of the EU’s total annual emissions in 2017, the year chosen as a benchmark for the analysis.
Adding in the savings from applying 5G to the four high-emitting sectors would bring the total emissions reduction to nearly 20% of the EU’s total annual emissions in 2017. The equivalent of the total annual emissions of Spain and Italy combined, the report says.
Ericsson says that despite the potential at stake, new forecasting of 5G roll-out from the annual Ericsson Mobility Report paints a concerning picture for Europe.
At the end of 2020, 5G covered around 15% of the world’s population. In 2027, just three years before global emissions will need to have halved to stay on track to limit global warming to 1.5ºC, new forecasts predict that global roll-out will still only be at around 75%.
North America and North East Asia are estimated to enjoy more than 95% population coverage by 2027. In contrast, Europe is estimated to be significantly behind its economic competitors with more than 80% population coverage.
Ericsson says it has invested heavily in energy-efficiency-led R&D – and product and solution development – across all technology portfolios to offer customers the most sustainable alternatives for their network modernisation strategies.
The study is a catalyst to drive more 5G coverage in Europe. However, many of the applications and industry transformations can be supported by fixed networks and even 4G wireless.
Ericsson reported that its 5G Smart Factory manufacturing complex in Lewisville, Texas, USA, was built with end-to-end environmental sustainability best practice as a top priority. Ericsson’s own energy-efficiency 5G solutions are operational at the site. The factory was designed to utilise 24% less energy and 75% less indoor water usage, avoiding 97% operational carbon emission, than comparable buildings.
The 5G Smart Factory has been awarded twice in 2021 by the World Economic Forum (WEF) for its global leadership in next-generation Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) manufacturing and sustainability achievements, Ericsson said.
Ericsson president and CEO Börje Ekholm says: “The EU and UK have set ambitious targets to reduce carbon emissions that will require transformational shifts across society. This new analysis demonstrates that connectivity, and specifically 5G, is vital to achieving these decarbonisation targets. It is difficult to see how these targets will be met unless the roll-out of digital infrastructure across Europe accelerates to match that of other leading countries and regions in the developed world.
“At Ericsson we view sustainability as a vital responsibility, not an optional extra. This is why the role that limitless connectivity has to play in driving a sustainable future is a fundamental part of Ericsson’s company vision. We will continue to invest heavily, not just for our customers through energy-efficiency products and solutions, but in our own operations, just as we have done at our 5G Smart Factory in the US. It is a great example of the emission saving results that can be achieved through implementing 5G manufacturing.”
Ekholm adds: “At present, with 5G roll-out, Europe is strolling towards a more digital, low-carbon future, while other regions are sprinting in the same direction. Policymakers and regulators have a major role to play here by realising the competitive economic, social and sustainable potential of 5G and working speedily together to clear practical, regulatory and financial obstacles so that people, businesses, industries and societies right across Europe can enjoy the benefits.”
Let’s all hope that Australia and our federal leaders can be finally dragged into the 21st century and do more to proactively support CO2 reductions with aggressive plans to transition industry to a greener future. Australia has always led in the release of new communications technologies like 5G and the NBN, these assets now need to be leveraged to create a brighter greener future for our children and their children.
The report can be downloaded here.
This first appeared in the subscription newsletter CommsWire on 1 November 2021.
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