By Juan Pedro Tomás
Singapore’s Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) said it is currently working with industry to expand the country’s 5G ecosystem by creating new business use cases and enabling local enterprises to commercialize the technology locally and abroad.
CEO at IMDA Lew Chuen Hong said: “Singapore will continue to push the boundaries of innovation through frontier technologies such as 5G. We are excited to work with our industry partners to unlock the real impact of 5G. We look forward to seeing new and exciting ways 5G will benefit our businesses and consumers”.
Under IMDA’s 5G Innovation Program, S$30 million (US$21.8 million) has been set aside to accelerate the adoption and commercialization of 5G solutions.
The projects, which IMDA billed as the region’s first in their respective categories, involve using 5G in augmented reality (AR), health technology and the maritime sector.
In one of the new use cases, IMDA partnered with the National University Health System (NUHS), Singapore Telecommunications and apoQlar to develop new 5G-enabled “Holomedicine” capabilities that leverage new remote rendering capabilities, and mixed-reality devices such as Microsoft’s HoloLens 2. The collaboration project will enable the holomedicine platform to operate via a high-speed network which is essential for the real-time transmission of large volumes of data from the HoloLens 2 devices. Capabilities such as real-time rendering of high-resolution 3D images and holographic projections, scan reconstructions, procedure and surgical navigation, and remote assistance will be possible in the operating theaters, according to IMDA. Outside the operating theaters, capabilities such as enhanced visualization of patient’s veins during blood taking procedures, advanced point-of-care ultrasound imaging capabilities and patient education and counseling will be made possible, the organization said.
The second project involves a collaboration between IMDA, Infinite Studios and D.ink, a mixed reality (XR) company, to develop what is claims to be the region’s first outdoor 5G-enabled cinematic quality AR experience that will fully utilize the bandwidth and computational capabilities of 5G and 5G-enabled mobile devices. The collaboration will bring together creative story-telling and immersive technology, producing a unique experience at the Marina Bay Area that merges the physical world with simulated reality using AR, IMDA said.
For the third 5G project, IMDA partnered with Keppel Offshore & Marine and its collaborators M1, Hiverlab and Suga to develop and commercialize 5G-enabled solutions for the maritime sector. This use case will allow for AR to be overlaid through smart glasses and will allow workers to have real-time support and augmented work instructions.
“COVID-19 has brought disruption to physical inspections, site and vessel surveys and audits, which is heavily dependent on what is possible today,” IMDA said. “This project will enable Keppel O&M to address these challenges.”
IMDA also gave an update on what it called “significant progress” in existing 5G projects, including port operator PSA’s trial of using 5G in day-to-day operations.
PSA’s automated guided vehicles, driverless electric vehicles that pick up and transport containers, have achieved a 50 per cent reduction in latency compared to current 4G network, IMDA said.
“This will enable PSA to scale automated guided vehicle operations at Tuas Mega Port beyond 2,000 vehicles,” IMDA added.