5G arrives to Europe, without haste but without pause. Brands such as Sony, Energyzer, Motorola, Xiaomi, Huawei or ZTE want to give a new twist to the market for mobile devices with 5G technology, so a new era will begin this summer in the two mobile operating systems, where there will be plenty of those that fold, enabling new Screen formats with an interface that improves the user’s experience and opens a new universe of options with powerful 5G technology.
The period of implementation and development of 4G or LTE technology took a decade in Europe, but 5G promises a more accelerated connectivity network installation. Beyond cell phones, the 5G will democratize the Internet of Things, allowing millions of devices of different functionalities to be interconnected to the network of networks. The low latency of the 5G technology, promised at 1ms and equivalent to the fiber optic that we have at home, will be 100 times faster than the current one, allowing the time that elapses from the time a signal is sent until it reaches its destination to be radically minimized. The 5G technology was tested quite successfully at the 2018 Winter Olympics through Korea Telecom and Intel and we will undoubtedly use it in a common way over time.
In 2020, it’s expected that the installation of 5G routers in vehicles, as well as in machines and robots, will be a reality, promising to turn around the constant technological revolution in which we live, so it will give way, without a doubt, to the Fourth Industrial Revolution led by the digitalization of society and the economy. In Spain, the final bands of 5G have been recently declared by the Ministry of Energy, Tourism and Digital Agenda for their bidding, being 700 MHz used for long distances (speed of 100Mbps), 1.5GHz and 3, 6 GHz dedicated to the “Smart Cells” of preferential use in urban areas (speed of 1-3 Gbps) and the 26GHz of smaller scope but of great intensity, allowing it to be used in specific events and locations where a large population is concentrated in specific moments (speed up to 10Gps). The latter is generating a great controversy, given that having shorter range, a higher frequency, a shorter wavelength and above all, being close to the frequency 23.8 GHz, it can cause problems for the weather forecasts.
At that frequency of 23.8 GHz, the water vapor emits a slight radio signal, which is used by satellites to detect the movements of water in the atmosphere and thus know the humidity levels. A variable widely used for weather forecasting, since it helps predict the formation of clouds and rain. Although its short range doesn’t worry the professionals of meteorology, it’s certain that its predictions depend on the measurement of the waves: the rain is measured between 36 and 37 GHz, the temperature between 50.2 and 50.4 GHz and the clouds between 80 and 90 GHz.
Autonomous vehicles: reaching the mountain without effort
Ever since the origin of skiing, mobility has been a handicap for its development. The Index of the Digital Economy and Society (DESI) shows lights and shadows both in France and in Spain. Spain is positioned in the last European analysis in the 9th place out of 28 in connectivity, in contrast with its 11th, 10th and 4th positions in internet services, integration of technology and public services of a digital nature, respectively. Currently, the order in digitization within the EU is headed by Finland, Sweden, the Netherlands, Denmark, the United Kingdom, Luxembourg, Iceland, Estonia, Belgium, Malta, Spain, Germany and Austria, leaving France out of the top spots.
For the first time, the 5G connectivity area has been included in the analysis, covering 30% of the national territory and with Spain occupying the ninth position in the ranking. However, the reality of mountain tourist areas is that they continue to suffer from “digital disconnection” in a generalized manner, with speeds that are similar to ADSL prevailing, betting on large cities and leaving small urban centers aside.
Image: EU Ranking 2019
The possible harmful effects of the new electromagnetic waves and the electropolution that it will generate are still under investigation, but the economic interests of the telecommunications industry don’t want to wait. Despite the recommendations of the 1815 Resolution of the Council of Europe, there are few training campaigns where the population is alerted of the possible consequences and risks associated with this new era.
Safer trips to the snow
The tests with the autonomous vehicles don’t cease to evolve and artificial intelligence is presented as a pillar in the strategies of the automotive sector. Thanks to 5G, the latency will be very low and vehicle decisions will be made autonomously, reducing exponentially the risk of collision in a trip to the snow and increasing comfort greatly. We aren’t talking about the future, we’re talking about the present: the production of vehicles with levels 3 and 4 of autonomy are increasing and, shortly, level 5 cars, which are completely autonomous, will start being commercialized.
The “cloud” will make decisions in milliseconds, facilitating the displacement of the travelers thanks to the fact that the reaction of the vehicle will not only be autonomous, but practically immediate. However, we must take into account the special conditions of the mountains and, until the systems are safer, we must go from Robot Babysiting to Manual mode. The new technologies will facilitate the encouragement of new mobility concepts such as carsharing or carpooling, as well as an increase in safety which can reduce the number of road accidents that we suffer in Europe by by 90%.
Smart ski resorts
The digital age and the disruption of technology in mountain tourism are dividing tourism in two major groups: a passive one, which is later adapted to technological advances, and an active one, which progressively includes digital transformation in its daily workflows and in its Travel-Tech development projects. Bigdata, artificial intelligence, chatbots, social media, regular media, influencers, blockchains, virtual reality, drones… The development of intelligent tourist destinations is imposed as an obligation in the future, as customers seek personalization and efficiency when it comes to meeting the needs of each skier individually.
Among many other uses, the artificial intelligence (AI) will permit to adapt perfectly to the particular characteristics of the ski resorts, avoiding tourist saturation, informing in real time of the agglomeration of users in different points of the resort and using more accurately the dynamic pricing of ski areas, both in the ski pass, and in the marketing of services and products in the resort. Those resorts that invest in Bigdata will be more competitive, thanks to the stratification of the client types, adjusting their offer to the demand at the precise moment, reducing costs and improving the user experience.
The mountain tourism sector, which is very transversal, has a colossal opportunity to offer the best digital experience in the natural and rural environment thanks to the arrival of I + D + I and the 5G. Applying AI in the snow industry is an essential element in order to increase the competitiveness of the sector. The ski resorts of the future will allow, thanks to the 5G, to provide information in real time with little latency, which can be grouped into three large blocks:
It’s estimated that the installation of smart beacons will be fully implemented in 2025 and it will allow snow enthusiasts to navigate at 10 Gigabits per second, as if they were connected by cable to the optical fiber of their homes. Data upload and download speeds can provide useful parameters to the skier from different areas of the resort, whether basic information, such as wind, temperature or humidity, or more advanced information, such as: the quality of the snow, the risk of avalanche, the presence of greenhouse gases or bacteria, the concentration of skiers by areas, the average speed of skiers per slope, the risk of skin exposure to the sun in real time, light pollution, conventional audio guides in multiple languages, useful information for the disabled with acoustic sensors, efficient management of intra-resort and inter-resort transports depending on the volume of users, reservations of parking spaces before arriving at the resort, facial identification systems to allow or restrict access to certain zones, knowing in real time the occupation of the lifts, development of the information services or ‘push’ services in real time by the main economic actors in a ski resort (ski and snowboard teachers, rental of equipment, shops, catering and hostelry…).
Although many of these services already exist, 4G technology can’t quite cope, since, in the best of cases, it covers specific areas of the resort and its power is not enough during high season, limiting the spectrum of utilities and applications that it has. The 5G will arrive to solve the current problem.
The interconnectivity of the Internet of Things will allow, for example, to warn a skier of the risk of impact if he continues on a trajectory and at a certain speed, or to recommend that he takes a rest because his heart rate exceeds the maximum recommended. The technology augurs infinity of new applications of the 5G to improve the management and development of mountain environments, as well as the user experience on their winter holidays, thus helping the population, social and economic growth of rural high-altitude areas.