The combination of 5G and IoT opens up an endless array of possibilities for innovating mobility and transportation. Both in freight transport and urban mobility, the combination of these two levers allows the optimization of the existing one and an overall rethinking of the two worlds in a more sustainable logic and with a lower environmental impact. We have written this many times: 5G represents a turning point.
It guarantees faster, more stable connectivity, which finds space in various application areas: from self-driving vehicles to smart grids, from medicine to intelligent buildings, up to uses in the industrial world, for the management of robots and machinery that integrate artificial intelligence applications. But an even more significant turning point is represented by the combination of 5G and IoT, which brings a radical change in the mobile ecosystem, thanks to the powerful combination of speed, bandwidth, low latency and – which today is no longer negligible – greater energy efficiency. IoT and 5G are creating a new ecosystem in which next-generation networks support billions of connected devices, with the right trade-offs between speed, latency, and cost.
The Impact Of 5G And IoT Combined On The Environment
However, the question that arises spontaneously – and which should, in any case, be taken into consideration every time the possibilities offered by new technologies or new technological combinations are explored – is what implications and impacts derive from the everyday use of 5G and IoT in terms of sustainability. Environmental. From the beginning, 5G has established itself as a low-power standard compared to 4G networks, as a technology that can use less energy to transmit more data while decreasing the required benefit per bit of Internet traffic.
As with all technologies, also, in this case, the path towards sustainability is a constant “work in progress”, which can benefit from innovations that start from decarbonization and pass through the use of biodegradable sensors, making the implementation of cooling systems more efficient, the recycling of toxic materials or, again, the shared use of resources. As far as the IoT is concerned, we can limit ourselves to emphasizing that it is a technology widely used in projects that have as their objective the monitoring and containment of consumption, the identification of waste, and the optimization of flows.
It, therefore, appears clear that by marrying 5G technology with the IoT, numerous opportunities are created to give life to actions aimed at ensuring greater sustainability in terms of environmental protection, greater energy efficiency, and reduction of greenhouse gasses. 5G and IoT combined to guarantee unprecedented access to data and transparency that allows a greater understanding of phenomena and events, essential for informed and more effective decision-making processes. Applied to transport networks, buildings, factories, street lamps, houses, IoT sensors connected to 5G allow you to monitor and analyze energy needs and consumption in real-time, consequently optimizing the use of energy itself, triggering that positive flywheel that leads to the reduction of greenhouse gasses and carbon emissions.
The Importance Of 5G
As we have already mentioned, the main advantage of 5G is represented by the low latency, i.e. the brief time interval between input and output, much lower than that of 4G, which reaches 5-10 milliseconds. Thanks to such a low latency, the so-called Lag, or the Latency Gap in streaming content, in video calls or, precisely, in sending and receiving data from connected objects, ends up zero. Furthermore, network slicing, called a “sliced use” of the network, allows for optimizing data traffic on the network itself, avoiding possible congestion of flows. Furthermore, 5G also guarantees greater density because it can manage a much higher number of devices per square kilometer (we are talking about a million simultaneous connections).
The combination of high density and low latency is destined to transform the usage scenarios conceived so far significantly. Thanks to 5G, it is possible to connect thousands of devices to the network with robust and reliable connections. At the same time, specific technologies for the IoT, such as LTE-M, reduce battery consumption. Not to mention the indirect advantages linked precisely to applying this technology in the various sectors. For example, in the field of mobility, 5G and IoT together can be applied to real-time V2V (Vehicle to Vehicle) and V2I (Vehicle to Infrastructure) communication, paving the way for new traffic and safety services.
5G And IoT For A New Mobility
Therefore, considering the scenario, let’s try to understand the benefits deriving from a combined use of 5G and IoT in a specific sector such as mobility and transport. This is a crucial issue in absolute terms, but even more so in our country. In the same PNR (National Recovery and Resilience Plan), there are explicit references to the need to reduce mobility’s environmental and social costs, using the most appropriate technological levers for this purpose, service of citizens and governance. Of the system as a whole.
A More Flexible And Sustainable Road Transport
According to numerous studies, road transport is considered responsible for 10-15% of all CO2 emissions in the earth’s atmosphere. Moreover, global freight transport is increasing every year, and it is estimated that it will grow by 60% by 2050. Therefore, it is not surprising that we are working to reduce its impact and fight climate change on a global level: first of all, the ‘Paris Agreement’ requires a 45% reduction in CO2 emissions in transport by 2050. Indeed, to remain in the field of freight transport, the choice of multimodal transport, not a new practice for the sector, represents one of the possible solutions.
However, the number of variables and the inherent complexity require a very structured approach. And this is where IoT devices and advanced analytics come into action. The goal is to find the right balance between sustainable development and profitability. For a company in the logistics sector can mean not just providing the transporter with precise information on the time he can – for example – unload his vehicle but setting the most efficient route based on traffic data in time. Honest, request an additional stop to retrieve other material and suggest the vehicle’s necessary maintenance to reduce its pollution impact.
Not only that. In many urban centers, the choice of inhibiting access to specific city areas to vehicles of certain types and sizes is now widespread. Also, in this case, the everyday use of technologies such as 5G, IoT, and analytics makes it possible to evaluate the best points on the route to create recharging and transit points and which type of vehicle to use for each area. The same technologies can ensure that cars always travel entirely at maximum capacity to avoid empty journeys. In summary, advanced algorithms and analytics can reduce energy consumption and reduce a company’s carbon footprint by enabling informed decisions based on detailed data.
When it comes to urban mobility, the correlation with the great theme of the smart city as a whole cannot be avoided. And when it comes to smart cities, the role of 5G and IoT combined is far from marginal in achieving the objectives of reducing CO 2 emissions. Also, in this case, it is not just a question of adopting different and less polluting means of transport but, above all, an overall rethinking of the approach to urban transportation.
A data-driven approach that therefore leverages the pervasive use of 5G networks and IoT sensors to direct users “in real-time” in identifying from time to time the most effective and efficient route and means to cover a certain distance or indicate to motorists the best ways to avoid traffic jams or accidents or to locate the nearest free parking spaces. In smart cities, 5G and IoT are at the heart of new digital ecosystems in which dedicated networks of devices and connected car sensors interconnect, generating fundamental data for informed decision-making processes. It is commonly called “Massive IoT”, precisely to indicate the high number of devices capable of communicating with each other.
The combination of 5G and IoT makes it possible to create intelligent and sustainable cities in practice, paving the way for a series of new applications linked, for example, to real-time monitoring of air quality and rethinking models. Traffic and city roads, the management of lighting systems, and the implementation of innovative parking solutions. The idea is that the smart city becomes an ecosystem in which it can improve various critical indicators of the quality of life significantly, for example, by reducing traffic and travel times, identifying emergencies in time and ensuring reduced response times, and reducing emissions.