Nokia says 5G has the potential to transform communities

From education, conservation and surveillance, 5G has the capability to bring tremendous change.
Henrique Vale, head of Nokia software for MEA
Henrique Vale, head of Nokia software for MEA


The 5G networks that are at the edge of deployment demand artificial intelligence (AI). In fact, they fuel and empower it. Compared to the previous generations of networks, their potential is so much greater and are set to drive AI capabilities into every aspect of society. With AI-powered insights, tools and technology, communities will be able to change the goalposts of education, improve services and transform.

One of the biggest examples of this is South Africa. According to Henrique Vale, head of Nokia software for MEA, the country is facing a multitude of challenges when it comes to empowering individuals and communities. There is a need to provide quality education to all South Africans in all areas, and to capture learner attention through the development of immersive education. In many areas of the country, learner aids are not always available, and many children suffer from limited access to supplies and textbooks.

In this instance, 5G and AI can fundamentally shift how children learn. As networks become larger and more accessible, children can befit from training through the use of online tools and platforms. They can catch up when they are absent and consume education on demand without being left out as a result of a limited supply of textbooks. While this is the idealistic view of the future, it is not as far ahead as one may think.

Virtual reality (VR) education solutions are already entering the market. These provide a more effective and focused learning experience training both teachers and students in the process. However, education is not the only sector which can benefit from 5G and AI. Another ongoing issue is conservation, wherein poaching remains an ever-present threat affecting the likes of rhinos, elephants, lions and the pangolin. Its effect is the decimation of species and the incredible strain on resources and the government. Vale says “The challenge is to find a way of protecting nature reserve fences to prevent poaching while simultaneously allowing for early detection of anomalies to ensure fast response times. This could be further enhanced by detecting animals that are close to fences for a proactive approach and by eliminating the blind spots that are inherent with CCTV solutions.”

A solution like this is also not in the distant future. It is already in its demo stages at the Reitvlei Nature Reserve, where cameras upload data via LTE and their feeds are activated when activity is detected for appropriate action to be taken. This type of solution can further be extended into protecting communities where there are high incidences of crime. 

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