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What are the potential benefits of 5G?

According to a recent report, 5G has the potential to add £17 billion to Scotland’s GDP by 2035, create 160,000 new jobs and increase productivity by £1,600 per worker. The same report, by Deloitte, also showed that with significant investment in 5G, it is predicted that over 3,100 new businesses will be created, resulting in £3.3 billion additional growth in exports.

The rollout of 5G promises a formidable range of current and future initiatives which would benefit all parts of society.

For business and not-for profit

The universal rollout of 5G will bring a myriad of applications to almost every kind of business and institutions, including those in the not-for-profit sector such as universities and charities. From smart cities with integrated transport links and smart cars, to tele-education in the Highlands and Islands, there are endless possibilities.

  • In factories, remote control of assembly lines and bespoke engineering processes will enhance the capabilities of just-in-time delivery and the monitoring of stock.
  • Our logistics industry operating through harbours, ports, airports and along smart motorways will be transformed by automated transport and autonomous vehicles for loading, haulage and delivery.
  • Agriculture and aquaculture will be boosted by 5G connectivity. New processes driven by data and connectivity will drive efficiency, contributing to the long-term sustainability of Scotland’s rural economy – from the remote monitoring of the health of salmon on fish farms, to autonomous tractors ploughing tracts of land, through to soil analysis using drones and livestock monitoring through ‘connected cows’.
  • For Scotland’s critical visitor and tourism industry, new apps will provide immersive and educational content showcasing Scotland’s landmarks, hotels and attractions for users to view in any location.

For the public sector, including local authorities

  • The delivery of improvements in multiple services for citizens will help create a more inclusive society. There will be increased efficiencies through the automation of manual tasks, the opportunity of increasing flexible working and new digital processes.
  • 5G could support a future vision of ‘mobility as a service’, where a user can plan, book and pay for travel which will optimise their route seamlessly across transport modes.
  • In smarter cities and towns, 5G will unlock new opportunities for local authorities and other public bodies to deploy smart public infrastructure, with sensors installed in street furniture such as signage, street lamps, waste bins, traffic lights and parking meters to collect and send data and allow for intelligent management of public services. This will increase public safety and lead to better crime detection; it will also lower costs as street-lights auto-dim and buildings are heated and cooled more efficiently.
  • 5G benefits will mean less traffic congestion, instant warning systems to predict potential collisions, with better public transport routing and real-time information all leading to lower levels of environmental pollution.

For NHS Scotland

5G has the potential to dramatically improve efficiency in our health and social care system.

  • It will improve patient engagement, deliver transformational preventative healthcare, and allow real-time monitoring and diagnosis of those with chronic conditions – helping them remain in their homes and communities, and visit hospital only when necessary.
  • Personalised interventions and wellbeing will be enhanced by the application of connected wearables devices gathering vital information including heart rate, temperature, respiratory rate and brain activity. This will offer patients the capability to manage conditions on their own.

For Scotland’s civic society and communities

Wherever people choose to live in Scotland, they will have the same access to digital integrated information. It will help more Scots participate in the decision-making which impacts on our lives.

The Scottish Government, in conjunction with the Scottish Futures Trust, has agreed to help support collaborative projects to increase the opportunity for 5G in the remote and rural parts of Scotland, often where the commercial operators see a less viable market for investment.

For essential utilities, such as heating, lighting and water supplies, smart energy grids will not only ensure everyone gets the energy they need, they will support Scotland’s zero-carbon objectives. Digital integrated information and processes will help ensure a fairer, more inclusive democracy.

For individuals

5G will have a significant impact on our lives in terms of work, education, healthcare and leisure time, and it will better support people with special and additional social needs. This will come not just from the ability to download or stream content at a faster speed – 5G will bring many more options, allowing people in Scotland to choose how they live, work and learn regardless of device and location.

To find out more about how the Scotland 5G Centre is accelerating the rollout and benefits of 5G, read about our 5G projects.

Article published June 2020