Five awesome things Malay Mail saw at Putrajaya’s 5G showcase

Yiswaree Palansamy
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad at the launch of the 5G Showcase in Putrajaya April 18, 2019. — Picture by Mukhriz Hazim

PUTRAJAYA, April 20 — To demonstrate how 5G can potentially change our lives, Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission is hosting the 5G Malaysia Showcase in Putrajaya this weekend.

The showcase is opened to the public starting today, but Malay Mail and other media were given the chance to take an early peek.

Here are five of the applications of 5G that impressed us:

Digi showcasing the use of drone and 5G for real-time emergency services. — Picture courtesy of Digi

1. Drones as emergency ‘messenger pigeons’

A common grouse with emergency services is the time it is taken to reach the police, ambulance or the Fire and Rescue Department, and for them to respond — which can in the worst-case scenario lead to the loss of life.

A speedy 5G network would enable such services to be on one’s finger-tips in real time, with telecommunications service provider Digi utilising drones for this system.

“We’re using flying drones to transit high quality images through the 5G network, and it will then be transferred into the data centres.

“Artificial intelligence (AI) will use this information collected from the drones, and then it will be communicated to multiple emergency services. That’s how 5G comes into play,” Digi’s network strategy head Cham Yin Gee told Malay Mail.

According to Cham, this service would leverage on existing technology such as drones with cameras which can already support high-definition 4k videos, that can be transmitted over a network to a data centre.

However, there is still a need for developers to build this data centre with AI already incorporated in the system.

“Why? Imagine you have a lot of drones out there feeding you so many information. How are us humans able to differentiate so much information coming in at the same time?

“So you need some intelligence behind the technology, so it can differentiate faster, and tell you the exact problems,” Cham added.

Speedy 5G network would enable the Command Centre Monitoring System, apart from deploying the nearest emergency response units, to also provide information on the medical conditions of the casualties to the designated hospitals in advance.

This will enable the medical centres to prepare and expedite necessary treatments.

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad at the Celcom booth during the launch of the 5G Showcase in Putrajaya April 18, 2019. — Picture by Mukhriz Hazim

2. An angel looking over you or just smart helmets

Construction workers and offshore oil rig workers are often exposed to the risks of working in a dangerous environment on both land and sea.

This daily exposure to hazards spurred Telekom Malaysia’s ™ research and development team led by Dr Sharlene Thiagarajah to develop an industrial safety helmet, added with 5G connectivity, can potentially save lives and improve workers’ safety.

“We incorporated communication, collaboration and safety. Because when we spoke to the oil and gas sector, they said that these were the three features that were required,” Sharlene said.

According to her, the helmet is embedded with sensors and a camera, which can detect the degree of the fall.

Subsequently, supervisors would be able to access their subordinates’ security situation in real-time via any device, and should accidents occur, will be alerted immediately.

The sensors can also detect if the workers are wearing their safely helmets, and will also help with remote trouble-shooting.

“So all these data, we can push back to companies, or companies can analyse it themselves, and I think it is the bigger agenda here of making a smarter workforce,” Sharlene added.

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad interact with Aisyah's hologram during the launching of Malaysia's 5G Showcase in Putrajaya April 18, 2019. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

3. Holo calls killed the video calls?

Remember how exciting it was to place a video call through Skype? In just over a decade, video calls are now all too common, from apps such as Apple’s popular Facetime to build into text messaging apps such as WhatsApp.

Now telecommunications service provider Celcom and Ericsson are looking to excite more customers with “hologram” calls, where using a combination of 5G and 3D imaging, the caller can see the receiver’s full-sized rendition — as if being in the same room.

Celcom chief executive Idham Nawawi told Malay Mail that the demo set is a professional setup with a studio downstairs with a camera, with the still image projected to the screen.

“But I’m sure now as the camera technology is getting smaller and smaller, we will probably be seeing homes which can capture hologram in a 3D manner,”.

Celcom is also working on an autonomous car programme, by converting a local MPV, a Proton Exora, fitting it with sensors and controlling it via remote sensing from the Celcom booth.

On Thursday, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo took a ride in the “driverless” car, signalling the possible future for the local automotive industry.

“Eventually this can become a consumer product. You can have a small, maybe travellers’ buggy to pick up children from school,” Idham added.

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad looks on as a representative at the U Mobile booth explains how the 5G technology can assist in the advancement of medical procedures. — Picture by Mukhriz Hazim

4. Surgery over the phone

The stable 5G network would be capable of letting surgeons to connect online during an operation to get other medical specialists “in the same room” by watching it enfold in real-time, and share their diagnosis on a patient.

U Mobile chief executive Wong Heang Tuck said the technology can also enable large imaging files to be quickly transmitted to doctors, improving access to quality healthcare.

“So even if the doctor is not physically with the patient, he or she can still aid in the diagnosis and treatment process,” he said.

This technology can also aid patients in remote areas, as they can also receive quality healthcare without having to travel a long distance.

5. Digital farmers, but in real world

Atilize Digital Sdn Berhad is hoping that 5G can help farmers manage their agricultural resources better, while increasing yield, with lesser dependency on workers.

The company is displaying an impressive array of plants and vegetables grown using digital monitoring, at the exhibition, with a pilot project already being done in a chilli farm in Banting, Selangor monitored using a futuristic sensor hub.

The sensors would notify farmers of soil conditions, moisture level and several other important elements about the condition of their crops.

The company claims that its sensors can also be applied to other farming types, including fish and shrimp farming a well as in orchards.

Aptly naming its concept as precision farming, Atilize’s digital product manager Furzanne Yeo said that the technology employed by the company, can also reduce agricultural wastage.

“They can reduce in terms of manpower as well, because on a daily basis, they save four hours. So you multiply four hours to one season, let’s just say six months, and you save time there,” said Yeo.

Yeo also claimed that this can increase yield as well, up by 20 per cent on an average per season.

According to Yeo, Atilize currently only has access to 3G connectivity for its system resulting in latency issues, and is looking forward to the 5G speed, coupled with artificial intelligence, for a seamless end-to-end solution.

Atilze Digital product marketing manager Firdaus Rahim with the company’s 5G smart agriculture technology during Malaysia’s 5G network launch in Putrajaya April 18, 2019. — Picture by Mukhriz Hazim

The term 5G refers to the next generation of wireless network that promises high data rates, reduced latency, and energy saving, among others.

A total of 12 industry players are showcasing their ideas, divided into eight different categories: Healthcare, Media and Entertainment, Education, Smart Cities, Agriculture, Automotive, Public Safety, and Manufacturing.

The showcase at the Perbadanan Putrajaya Complex is open from 10am to 6pm today and tomorrow.