5G infrastructure: an investment in public safety

Scott Dunaway is the spokesman for the Texas 5G Alliance, advocating for the connectivity of the future. TX5G’s mission is to educate Texans on the exciting possibilities of 5G technology and the infrastructure that will be required to meet the demands of smart cities.

Mobile 5G connectivity: what does it mean for us both as designers of tomorrow’s technology? Lighting fast speed, immeasurably low latency and data transfer that the world has never seen. It will enable the technology of the future -- the next generation of high-speed wireless connectivity. 4G LTE is comparably slow after 5G’s 40 times faster speeds and four times greater capacity.

 
Anticipation of 5G is building in North Texas, bringing next-gen solutions. Autonomous vehicles are being tested in Frisco and Arlington, and Uber has selected Dallas as one of two locations where it will test Uber Air, its flying car technology. Arlington’s AT&T Stadium will be an early recipient of 5G technology, taking stadium experiences to the next level, and the new urban destination Frisco Station will be one of the first connected communities in the nation built from the ground up for 5G.
 
While much of the conversation around 5G technology has centered on new transportation solutions, smart city innovations and cutting-edge entertainment enhancements, one of the lesser-discussed but most important aspects of 5G technology is public safety, both at the local and national level.
 
Eighty percent of 911 calls originate from mobile devices. North Texas cities need a reliable and resilient communications infrastructure for first responders to effectively do their jobs. A strong wireless network enables the communications and information transfer needed to respond swiftly to calls or disseminate critical information through an emergency alert system like the City of Dallas’ DallasAlert.
 
Every second is critical when saving lives and protecting communities. 5G networks will transfer massive amounts of data at low latency and high quality, further empowering first responders.
 
5G will empower real-time information sharing, such as road conditions, access to building drawings and high-resolution images, as well as enhanced location-based services for 911 calls. Smart traffic control systems and connected car technologies will help emergency teams arrive more quickly, and fingerprint sensors and facial recognition will assist in solving crimes. 5G will also enable the real-time feedback loop required to further integrate drones in natural disasters or search-and-rescue scenarios, increasing visibility and the safe deployment of resources and responders.
 
On a national level, because of security implications, the White House asked U.S. allies to prevent Chinese telecommunications company Huawei from building and ultimately controlling 5G communications networks. A recent New York Times article said, “The administration contends that the world is engaged in a new arms race — one that involves technology, rather than conventional weaponry, but poses just as much danger to America’s national security. In an age when the most powerful weapons, short of nuclear arms, are cyber-controlled, whichever country dominates 5G will gain an economic, intelligence and military edge for much of this century.”
 
The City of Dallas and surrounding municipalities are working collaboratively to improve its wireless infrastructure through the deployment of small-cell technology, the leading solution to meet 5G demand. Companies paving the way in developing 5G technologies, as well as wireless carriers deploying the infrastructure necessary for 5G networks, continue to prioritize North Texas as a top region for 5G readiness. Wireless carriers Sprint, Verizon and AT&T have all named Dallas as one of the first markets where each carrier will launch 5G networks, and Texas-based Crown Castle is investing close to $45 million to deploy 200 plus small cell sites across Dallas alone in 2019.
 
Finding better ways to use mobile technology to improve the safety of residents during an emergency should remain a top priority. Ongoing investment in wireless infrastructure systems will play a critical role in helping to ensure public safety, both locally and nationally, by creating an environment that will keep North Texas prepared.