The Dutch city of Nijmegen is at the starting block to experiment with 5G at large events. As soon as there is a green light for concerts and festivals again, they will launch the first 5G pilot in a public space.
[UPDATE] On May 26, an online INNOVATE Meetup will take place from 7:30 to 9:00 p.m. with Novio Tech Campus, NXP and the municipality of Nijmegen. Several speakers, including Andrew Rijnbeek from GIGTECH and Domine Leenaerts from NXP, will talk about the possibilities of 5G on that evening. The Meetup will include the 5G pilot in Nijmegen, but also special innovations in the field of agriculture and sports. You can register via this link. [UPDATE]
A festival or an event like the annual Four Days Marches requires extensive information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure and a reliable internet connection over a short period of time. Visitors use 4G and there is a lot of message traffic. Especially for the organization, a significant amount of reliable bandwidth is needed. “You want the payment machines to work properly and you want to be able to monitor security and visitor flows with cameras,” says Paul Geurts, project manager at the municipality of Nijmegen. Until now, this has mostly been done via the existing cable, WiFi and 4G networks. But users are on this same 4G network.
5G technology offers endless possibilities, but in practice its applicability is still limited. Geurts comments: “If you can use 5G technology at large events, the reliability of the Internet will be much greater, better than Wifi and just as reliable as a cable connection. With 5G, camera images can be transmitted via a live stream, so you can watch them almost without delay. Especially if something is going on and visitors are reaching for their phones en masse in a panic, you want it to keep working properly.”
A temporary ICT facility
“In the long run, we are assuming a frequency of 3500 megahertz,” says Andrew Rijnbeek of GIGTECH, the collaboration partner of the municipality of Nijmegen in the 5G pilot. GIGTECH from Duiven originated as part of MOJO Concerts, but is now an independent company that focuses entirely on temporary ICT facilities at, among others, the major concerts in the Nijmegen Goffertpark, Pinkpop, Lowlands and the Four Day Festival. “We often work in parks, squares and in other public spaces so we would like to see the possibilities of 5G in practice,” says Rijnbeek. Vodafone-Ziggo and Ericsson are also participating in the pilot.
With 5G, you get a razor-sharp picture of visitor flows.
With 5G, sufficient capacity is guaranteed. A network slicing trial was recently conducted in the 5G hub in Eindhoven, which will also be used in Nijmegen. Rijnbeek describes it this way: “It’s as if a piece of the total bandwidth is being allocated to a particular service. This way, you can guarantee that the cameras work, for example, and that they provide a razor-sharp image of the stream of visitors. Without network slicing, you cannot isolate the various services from each other.”
Regarding the pilot, he says: “It’s a proof of concept. We know what is feasible in theory, but how does it work in practice? The usefulness of 5G can now really start to prove itself.”
According to Domine Leenaerts, a researcher at NXP and a professor at Eindhoven University of Technology, there is still much to be learned about the applications of 5G. “Separating frequencies, such as with network slicing, is only now possible for the first time.”
But the move to 5G also requires a lot from the infrastructure. “We can’t deploy the high frequencies yet,” says Leenaerts. “For consumers with a cell phone, 5G does not yet provide much. But for other applications where you want to use real-time communication, 5G can really mean a huge change. For example, at events and concerts, which means that more interaction can be created with the visitor from a distance. Communication between devices will change in a revolutionary way, especially now that we are also already working on the development of 6G.”
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