IT was a big week for 5G with Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad launching the 5G Demonstration Projects (5GDP) in Langkawi, Kedah.
In his speech, Dr Mahathir said Malaysia is on track to roll out 5G commercially in the third quarter of this year, as everything is “progressing well”.
“It is an important component for this nation as 5G has the power to promote an array of new services, improve our manufacturing efficiency, as well as spur innovation nationwide, ” he said.
He added that 72 5G use cases have been identified from a potential of 100, and to date there are currently 56 live sites across six states.
However, the prime minister wants businesses to ensure that the technology can effectively complement the workforce.
“Technology that displaces humans runs contrary to the aspiration of the country as outlined in the government’s Shared Prosperity Vision 2030, ” said Dr Mahathir.
Local telcos, including Maxis, Celcom, Digi and U Mobile, showcased various uses for 5G in Langkawi.
Maxis demonstrated how VR (virtual reality) will work in its eKelas programme, an after-school digital learning initiative focusing on English, Science and Mathematics for students from Year Six to Form Five.
At an Internet Centre in Kampung Padang Wahid, students in a Science class were equipped with VR headsets so they could learn biology from a teacher in Kuala Lumpur.
The students were able to virtually explore the different parts of the human body and animal cells using their hands.
The telco said this allows them learn in an experiential way which could help with understanding and retention of the topic. “Digital inclusion is important and Maxis wants to do its part in ensuring that the benefits of technology are realised by all, ” said Gokhan Ogut, Maxis CEO, in a statement.
Meanwhile, Celcom is exploring smart city solutions with its 5G Digital Boundary Control at Dermaga Tanjung Lembung, a Langkawi port.
The telco used multiple 360° 4K cameras with video analytics software powered by AI (artificial intelligence) to remotely monitor the area.
The cameras can watch over unattended cargo and vehicles to prevent theft, and use thermal imaging to detect fire.
Celcom CEO Idham Nawawi said its Boundary Control solution is especially useful to port authorities as they can seamlessly integrate it into their operation.
The telco is also working on a safety and security solution in collaboration with Langkawi’s Royal Malaysian Police and Municipal Council using nine 360° 4K video cameras at four locations along Jalan Pantai Cenang and two locations at Dataran Cenang.
The system uses facial recognition to identify potential suspects and “peer analysis” to detect potential accomplices.
It also can detect traffic violations automatically and capture the number plate of a vehicle.
Meanwhile, Digi announced a partnership with Sultanah Maliha Hospital and the Collaborative Research In Engineering, Science & Technology (Crest) centre in Langkawi to test a 5G-connected ambulance.
The telco said the ambulance can continuously stream patient data from when the paramedics arrive on the scene, right up to delivering the patient to the hospital, possibly saving lives.
Paramedics performed a live simulation, taking a patient’s data such as ECG readings and ultrasound scans and transmitting them via 5G while en route to the hospital.
“Gigabytes of medical data can now be transferred at super speed to multiple devices during emergencies, ” said Digi chief technology officer Kesavan Sivabalan.
“This is a key development in enabling remote healthcare monitoring and diagnosis. It also means that healthcare can be accessed by all, even those in hard-to-reach areas.”
At the same hospital, U Mobile announced that it is partnering with Medcom and DoctorOnCall to make remote consultation possible via 5G.
Prior to this, the telco also announced a 5G network-sharing collaboration with Telekom Malaysia.
According to the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission, 5GDP is expected to go on until March, after which potential 5G uses cases will be identified and rolled out commercially.
As a number of significant projects are being run in Langkawi, Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo shared his vision for a “digital island”.“This transformation into a sustainable, smart and secure island will benefit not only the local community, but also the local authorities in planning future development projects, ” he said.
He added that Langkawi was chosen as the location for the pioneer phase of 5GDP due to its “ideal demographic as a controlled environment”.