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5G initiative to boost industrial internet reach

Ma Si/Tan Yingzi
Updated: Aug 25,2018 8:31 AM     China Daily

China’s intensified efforts to commercialize the fifth-generation mobile communication technology will lay a sound foundation for the development of industrial internet in the country, experts said on Aug 24.

The comments came as China unveiled specific technical standards for non-standalone 5G network tests on the same day, part of its broader efforts to get precommercial 5G products ready by the end of this year.

Zhang Yong, president of network technology research institute at China Unicom, the country’s second largest mobile telecom carrier, said 5G, which will be at least 10 times faster than 4G and feature a huge capacity to connect thousands of items online, will fuel the application of industrial internet.

“Its unique network architecture will enable large-scale customized industrial production and real-time decision-making. Its strong bandwidth to support a widespread use of video recognition technologies will help boost quality control in factories,” Zhang said at a forum on the Smart China Expo in Chongqing.

China Unicom is currently conducting 5G tests in 16 cities in the hope of offering commercial services in 2020. Industrial internet is a frontier where countries around the world are scrambling to establish a beachhead. It refers to a network of combined, advanced machines with internet-connected sensors, which will collect and analyze data from consumers, suppliers and factories.

At the same forum on Aug 24, Wang Zhiqin, head of a 5G promotion group under the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, unveiled the specification of a non-standalone network system, as part of the country’s third phase of 5G tests.

“All telecom players are scrambling to gain a lead in the final sprint toward 5G. I hope the newly released technical specification will accelerate the maturity of 5G products and trigger more cross-industry collaboration,” Wang said.

According to her, 5G will be a highway on which more dynamic businesses thrive and the convergence of the IT and industrial world, such as industrial internet, will be of crucial importance to generate bigger value from the superfast technology.

Chinese companies are already moving in the direction. China Unicom, for instance, has set up a string of innovation centers by partnering with internet heavyweights Alibaba, Tencent, Baidu, JD and other players to explore 5G application scenarios. Such cooperation focuses on 10 sectors, including smart manufacturing, intelligent automobiles, healthcare, and public security.

China Unicom also partnered with Huawei to demonstrate remote-healthcare applications by using virtual reality and artificial intelligence technologies.