5G (dencg/Shutterstock.com)

Thinking ahead on 5G

To help government agencies get a better idea of how 5G can improve current services and spur innovation, companies showcased their technologies  at Verizon's 5G incubator space in downtown Washington, D.C., on Sept. 26.

Newburyport, Mass.-based Blueforce Advanced demoed its mobile edge compute software with an integrated wireless canine-mounted sensor packages that monitor a detection dog's heart and breathing rates to sense if it has found explosives. Another package for human security agents can combines data on gun sensors to detect if the weapon has been drawn and fired.

Aerial Applications, a small startup has a system that puts a 5G transmission capability between a drone’s controller and the cloud. The arrangement, said company officials, allows more data to be pulled from the controller, which can produce sharper imaging, as well as data overlay capabilities that let drone operators see images of gas and electrical lines in an area they’re viewing.

Verizon has five “5G Alley” technology incubator labs across the country, said Toby Redshaw, Verizon senior vice president of Enterprise Innovation and 5G Solutions. The Washington, D.C., lab brings in small, but innovative 5G applications.

The labs allow users in federal agencies to come in and see what is coming as 5G is deployed,  said Mike Maiorana,senior vice president of Verizon Public Sector. “We want to make sure customers understand 5G ultra-wideband is not an upgrade to their current phone to watch Netflix,” he said.

“We working with customers on developing 5G” capabilities, he said. The company has given 5G capable phones to federal agencies to help those agencies think about where they want to go with the emerging wireless technology. “This is going to be another layer of capabilities for both the mobile workforce, and the base, facility, campus and enterprise network,” he said.

The General Services Administration’s next-generation telecommunications contract’s “wide lens” of technology and service options will give federal agencies initial 5G wireless services, but Verizon officials said three or four years down the road, the services will get bound into other service models.

“This is the beginning stage," Maiorana said. "We are educating and inspiring the art of the possible."

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a senior staff writer at FCW, whose beat focuses on acquisition, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, tele.com magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at mrockwell@fcw.com or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


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